The Obit For Jim Turner

November 30th, 1998
Longtime Yankees pitching coach Jim Turner dead at 95
From Associated Press

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jim Turner, a longtime New York Yankees pitching coach who spent a record 51 consecutive years in pro ball and played or coached in 13 World Series, has died.

   Turner died Sunday, Nov. 30 at a nursing home after a long illness. He was 95.

  ``If I live to be 100, I would never be able to repay baseball for what it has done for me,'' Turner said on his 84th birthday.

  ``I'm mighty fortunate to have put in 51 complete seasons. But I do not think of it as a record or feat. It just happened.''

  Turner's 51 years in uniform are now being approached by Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer, who just completed his 50th season.

  Turner was 19 when he broke into the minor leagues in 1922, playing for Paris, Tenn., for $150 a month. After 12 years in the minors, he made it to the major leagues as a pitcher with the Boston Bees.

  Turner won 20 games and led the National League with a 2.38 ERA.

  He was traded to Cincinnati in 1939 and appeared in the 1940 World Series. He also was in the 1942 World Series for the Yankees.

  Turner, nicknamed ``The Milkman'' because of his off-season job delivering milk, was the Yankees' pitching coach from 1949-59 under manager Casey Stengel.

  After one year managing in the minors, he became Cincinnati's pitching coach in 1961 and held the job until 1965, then returned to the Yankees as pitching coach under Ralph Houk from 1966-73, when he retired.

  ``Jim always talks sense — it sounds right and is right,'' Houk once said.

  Turner played with and coached many future Hall of Famers. He said Joe DiMaggio was ``the greatest major league player since Ty Cobb.''

  ``Joe could do more things just a little better than others,'' he said. ``He was a superb athlete. So graceful, both at bat and in the field. It would be hard to match him for genuine dignity. He probably was the greatest team player in the history of the game.''

  Ten years ago, summing up his career, Turner said, ``I just loved the game. I wouldn't trade my career with the president of the United States.''

  Turner's survivors include two daughters and two sisters.

  Funeral services are Tuesday in Nashville.