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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bob Turley, former Orioles pitcher, dies

RIP, Bullet Bob Turley...

Bob Turley, who pitched the Orioles’ first home game, died of liver cancer early Saturday morning, according to his son Terry Turley. He was 82.

Turley pitched one single season for the Orioles in 1954, their first in Baltimore, before joining the New York Yankees where he went on to win the Cy Young Award in 1958.

That April 15, 1954 game was a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox. A News-Post editorial called it “the most thrilling day in Baltimore history since the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.”

But Turley, who was known as “Bullet Bob”, was traded to the Yankees as part of a package that brought catcher Gus Triandos to Baltimore. Triandos also died this week.

Repoz Posted: March 30, 2013 at 03:04 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: obit

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 30, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4399778)
Better known as a Yankee. Won the 1958 Cy Young when there was only one award for all MLB. Got knocked out of the Game 2 of the 1958 World Series in the 1st after 4 runs in 1/3 of an inning, but came back with a complete game shutout in Game 5, a save in Game 6, and 6.2 innings of of 2-hit relief in Game 7, to win the WS MVP. Before 1996, 1958 was arguably the biggest Yankee WS comeback. IIRC, Turley was a frequent Old Timers Day participant and well-liked by his teammates. Mantle credited Turley with being especially good at spotting pitchers tipping their pitches. RIP, Bob.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4399784)
Before 1996, 1958 was arguably the biggest Yankee WS comeback.

They also game back from 2-0 in 1978.

RIP
   3. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: March 30, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4399786)
RIP.

I wrote a column for THT years ago - Forgotten Upset: 1958 World Series in which Turley plays a big role in not only the Yankee victory, but in why that was such an unlikely Yankee victory. He blew his arm out with two months to go in the season and essentially never recovered - except for those last three games of the 1958 World Series.
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 30, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4399798)
RIP Bullet Bob, a class act all the way.

That 1958 Series was ideal for watching in the East, since all seven games except game 5 were either on the weekend or had 3:00 starting times, which was when school let out. Turley's performance in those last three games, especially considering his arm problem, was nothing less than extraordinary. For those last three games he was a throwback to the 1952 Allie Reynolds: A complete game start in game 5, a clutch save in game 6, and a long relief win in game 7. And best of all from a revenge standpoint, those game 5 and 7 wins were at the expense of the Yankee nemesis Lew Burdette.

Turley was also the centerpiece of what at the time was seen as the most important Yankee non-farm acquisition since Babe Ruth, a multiplayer swap in the 1954-55 offseason. SPORT's feature article was titled "Did the Yankees win the pennant in the Winter?", complete with an Ozzie Sweet portrait. There were almost as many non-Yankee complaints about that trade than there were about the Yankees' graball free agent acquisitions of the Steinbrenner era, and for much the same reason.

One of the bigger media themes was the "dream" pitcher's duel which was going to take place but never did, matching Turley against the Indians' rookie sensation Herb Score, another future HOFer and strikeout king. Score went on to fulfill his promise until he got hit by a line drive that stopped his career in its tracks, but after a decent start Turley faded quickly, tortured by his chronic wildness. He reached his low point in July, when Earl Torgeson of the Tigers took advantage of his double pump windup and stole home in a slide-off win in the bottom of the 10th. He was terrible in the World Series that year, getting freaked out by Jackie Robinson's constant charges down the third base line, and without his later adaptation of the no-windup motion, he was headed in a rapid tailspin. But the day after Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 Series, he also used that no-windup delivery and lost a 1-0 game on a misplayed ball in the bottom of the 10th, and for the two following years he was a hell of a pitcher. Too bad that he threw his arm out like he did, because otherwise he could have had a hell of a career.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 30, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4399802)
BTW that was a great article, Chris. Here's a factoid you left out that may best show just how bad the AL was in 1958.

You wrote:

On August 8, they stood with a record of 71-36. They had scored more runs than any team in either league. They actually had 100+ runs more than five of the other AL teams. With that they had allowed the fewest runs of any team in MLB. It was all downhill from there.


Check out the AL standings on the morning of Sunday, August 3rd. With more than two thirds of the season completed, every team except the Yankees was under .500. I can't remember seeing anything like it before or since.

NYY 67 34 .663 --
CLE 51 52 .495 17.0
BOS 49 51 .490 17.5
BAL 47 50 .485 18.0
CHW 49 52 .485 18.0
DET 48 52 .480 18.5
KCA 46 52 .469 19.5
WSH 44 58 .431 23.5
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4399805)
Check out the AL standings on the morning of Sunday, August 3rd. With more than two thirds of the season completed, every team except the Yankees was under .500. I can't remember seeing anything like it before or since.

NYY 67 34 .663 --
CLE 51 52 .495 17.0
BOS 49 51 .490 17.5
BAL 47 50 .485 18.0
CHW 49 52 .485 18.0
DET 48 52 .480 18.5
KCA 46 52 .469 19.5
WSH 44 58 .431 23.5


That's some crazy parity. 7 teams within 7 games.

Looks like the AL had 7 average teams and one really gone one.
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 30, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4399810)
No, the AL had one very good team through July, one or two average teams, and five teams that were Major League in name only. The Yankees simply sucked all of the air out of the competition, and you can see what happened in the World Series to the only two teams in that decade who broke through that otherwise suffocating domination.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 30, 2013 at 05:52 PM (#4399832)
They also game back from 2-0 in 1978.

True, but those games were closer, which is large part of what made the 1996 comeback such a "surprise" to many. But down 3-1 in 1958 with two games in Milwaukee and Burdette or Spahn starting all 3 for the Braves was a very rough road.
   9. Publius Publicola Posted: March 30, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4399835)
Ah, Bob Turley was the first major leaguer I ever met and got an autograph from and shook hands with. I was about 8-9 years old and he seemed so big! And he was so nice to me too, very warm and polite and gracious. It was in a supermarket and he was promoting fruit pies for Hostess. You had to get one to get an autograph so my dad bought me a cherry pie. It was the best cherry pie I ever had.

RIP, Bob. I'll never forget you.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4399837)
No, the AL had one very good team through July, one or two average teams, and five teams that were Major League in name only. The Yankees simply sucked all of the air out of the competition, and you can see what happened in the World Series to the only two teams in that decade who broke through that otherwise suffocating domination.

I'm sorry, there was no difference between Chi, Bos, Cle and Det. Their actual and pythag records were all within 5 games.

Washington was the only truly bad team.

As to the World Series, the White Sox lost 4-2, and you know better, Andy, than to think you're getting any meaningful information out of a 7 game series.

Otherwise you're left saying the Yankees 6-2 WS record indisputably proves they were better than the best NL teams for the 1950's.
   11. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 30, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4399882)
They also game back from 2-0 in 1978.


True, but those games were closer, which is large part of what made the 1996 comeback such a "surprise" to many. But down 3-1 in 1958 with two games in Milwaukee and Burdette or Spahn starting all 3 for the Braves was a very rough road.

Of the 3 comebacks under discussion, 1958's was the most improbable and mildly shocking; 1978's was the most convincing and the most in line with what people might have expected; and 1996's was the most impressive, given the extraordinary quality of the Braves' pitching. If those three Series had been best-of-31, only the 1978 Yankees would have likely come out ahead, though the Torre team would have made it close.

--------------------------------------------------

I'm sorry, there was no difference between Chi, Bos, Cle and Det. Their actual and pythag records were all within 5 games.

The problem with that is that there wasn't any interleague play to deflate those Pythag numbers, although the Spring training results can give you a pretty damn good idea of the relative league strength back then.

Washington was the only truly bad team.

No, Washington was the only truly AAAA team. Again you're not accounting for the difference in league strength.

As to the World Series, the White Sox lost 4-2, and you know better, Andy, than to think you're getting any meaningful information out of a 7 game series.

Otherwise you're left saying the Yankees 6-2 WS record indisputably proves they were better than the best NL teams for the 1950's.


Overall the Yankees were probably the best team in baseball during that decade, but if they'd been in the National League they would likely have won 3 or 4 pennants rather than 8, and none after 1956. All I can say about the 59 White Sox is that they were extremely lucky to find themselves in the American League, as they would've been lucky to finish 4th in the National. They had pitching and speed and absolutely nothing else. For crissakes, even in the feeble AL of 1959, they had a team OPS+ of ####### 91.

   12. Publius Publicola Posted: March 30, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4399891)
They had pitching and speed and absolutely nothing else


They had defense too. That DP combo was pretty damned impressive. Teams like that often win.
   13. Mark Armour Posted: March 30, 2013 at 07:51 PM (#4399897)
The AL in the 1950s and most of the 1960s was pretty bad. Some of the years the Yankees won the World Series they likely would not have finished in the top few teams in the NL--they just had a good week in October. None of these Yankee teams were as good as the early-mid-1950s Dodgers or the late 1950s Braves.

   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 08:00 PM (#4399899)
None of these Yankee teams were as good as the early-mid-1950s Dodgers or the late 1950s Braves.

I don't care what you think about league strength, that's an absurd thing to sat about a team that won 5 straight world series. How many times did they beat the Dodgers? Five?

And even on personnel, Mantle, Berra, Rizzuto, Bauer, Woodling, McDougal, Skowron, Ford, Raschi, Reynolds and Lopat is better than the Dodgers had.
   15. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 30, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4399906)
The Yankees' pitching, outside of Ford, was fairly pedestrian in the fifties, but their lineups were loaded. In the late fifties alone, they had an offensive core of Berra, Skowron, McDougald, Mantle, and Bauer. That's two Hall of Famers along with three very, very good players. Plus, they had Slaughter, who was an outstanding bench player, in reserve.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4399910)
The Yankees' pitching, outside of Ford, was fairly pedestrian in the fifties

I think Reynolds, Raschi and Lopat were a fair bit better than pedestrian.
   17. Mark Armour Posted: March 30, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4399916)
Honestly, I just think those Yankee teams are somewhat overrated. They were a good team, obviously. The 1936-43 Yankees were incredible. The Yankees of 1952-59 were a very good team. They were better than the Dodgers until 1952 or so, but the Dodgers were better after that. The Yankees beat them in 3 of 4 World Series in this period. It happens.

The Yankees had three inner circle Hall of Fame players that allowed them to dominate an historically weak league. They deserve all the credit in the world for that, and history has credited them.
   18. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: March 30, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4399929)
It was in a supermarket and he was promoting fruit pies for Hostess. You had to get one to get an autograph so my dad bought me a cherry pie. It was the best cherry pie I ever had.
Hey, he managed to outlive Hostess.
   19. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 30, 2013 at 09:57 PM (#4399941)
None of these Yankee teams were as good as the early-mid-1950s Dodgers or the late 1950s Braves.

Those Yankees won 4 of 5 World Series against the Dodgers (1949, 1952, 1953 & 1956, while losing in 1955), and split two with the Braves in 1957-58. Pretty good for gritty, gutsy, scrappy underdogs.
   20. Jay Z Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4399960)
Honestly, I just think those Yankee teams are somewhat overrated. They were a good team, obviously. The 1936-43 Yankees were incredible. The Yankees of 1952-59 were a very good team. They were better than the Dodgers until 1952 or so, but the Dodgers were better after that. The Yankees beat them in 3 of 4 World Series in this period. It happens.

The Yankees had three inner circle Hall of Fame players that allowed them to dominate an historically weak league. They deserve all the credit in the world for that, and history has credited them.


The 1949-53 Yankees were the deepest team of all time. Including the farm system they were three and four deep at positions with major league quality. Look at who they traded away - Triandos, Sherm Lollar, Bob Porterfield, Jackie Jensen. Except for the monkey business with the Kansas City A's, the trades the Yankees made weren't particularly good. But when I look at teams that come close but lose, it usually comes down to so and so being hurt, or so and so having a bad year. With the Yankees that was never an issue, since the depth was always there and Stengel had little loyalty to his players. The only key piece really was Berra, and he was as consistently great as they come.

As time went on the depth lessened a bit. Mantle was better in the late 50s than in the early 50s, and the depth was still very good, it just wasn't quite as much. The occasional Throneberry started to show up. The 1960-64 group reverted to convention even more, with a core group of players that didn't change that much and more average depth for a pennant winning team. I think Stengel's personality and approach were never a better fit than for a team where you could just trade guys in and out. On a team where you need to work with what you have, which is most every team, I'd rather have someone else. Most teams don't have good second options regularly available.

As far as the World Series being random, I don't buy it, at least not at the time. Maybe now, but not then. Maybe more of a skill disparity between players back then. I look at those World Series, and I'm not surprised that the 1952 and 1955 Dodgers gave the Yankees the most trouble, since they had the most pitching depth. The people running the computers want the 1953 team, because of the offensive stats, but that team didn't have the pitching.
   21. Jose Canusee Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:29 PM (#4399968)
I don't know when he lived in Alpharetta, but he lived in our Atlanta neighborhood in the 1967-70 timeframe. That area is now called Brookhaven. I don't remember ever meeting him but think his house had one of they typical mailboxes of the time with the metal nameplate above it and my father telling me who he was, and that he had done well financially after his baseball career was over.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2013 at 11:35 PM (#4399995)
As far as the World Series being random, I don't buy it, at least not at the time.

I would say any one WS result is probably pretty random. I mean why did the Dodgers win in '55? They weren't as good as the Yankees, but they were good enough to win one or two of the six they played, and that year it broke right for them.

But when you go 8-2 in the WS in 12 years, that's talent.
   23. Downtown Bookie Posted: March 30, 2013 at 11:37 PM (#4399997)
May he rest in peace, and may his family be comforted.

Having said that:

Yes, I understand that this article is taken from The Baltimore Sun; but seeing Bob Turley referred to as "Former Orioles Pitcher" strikes me as akin to seeing an article on Don Larson titled "Former White Sox Pitcher"; or seeing a headline referring to "Former New York Mets Thirdbaseman ..." and then finding out that they're talking about Don Zimmer.

DB
   24. Jay Z Posted: March 31, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4400026)
I would say any one WS result is probably pretty random. I mean why did the Dodgers win in '55? They weren't as good as the Yankees, but they were good enough to win one or two of the six they played, and that year it broke right for them.

But when you go 8-2 in the WS in 12 years, that's talent.


From 1927 to 1953, the Yankees won 15 of 16 World Series, going 61-20 in the games played. When non-Yankee American League teams played in the World Series over the same time period, they won 5 of 11 World Series and 35-34 in games played.

How much better would the Yankees have had to be better than the National League champion for that record to be "true." They were outperforming their own regular season performance, against average American League competition, by a healthy margin. Why weren't the other American League teams nearly as dominant, if there was a huge talent disparity between the two leagues?

I think that whatever statistical simulation software you ran the games through, replaying those series "randomly" through the software would result in almost no instances of the Yankees winning 15 of 16 World Series with something approaching a 61-20 record. And it doesn't seem right to talk about "sample size" for an 81 game record.
   25. Jay Z Posted: March 31, 2013 at 01:09 AM (#4400027)
That 1958 Series was ideal for watching in the East, since all seven games except game 5 were either on the weekend or had 3:00 starting times, which was when school let out. Turley's performance in those last three games, especially considering his arm problem, was nothing less than extraordinary. For those last three games he was a throwback to the 1952 Allie Reynolds: A complete game start in game 5, a clutch save in game 6, and a long relief win in game 7. And best of all from a revenge standpoint, those game 5 and 7 wins were at the expense of the Yankee nemesis Lew Burdette.


Fred Haney helped by stupidly starting Spahn on short rest in Game 6. Why oh why do you start someone on short rest when you are up in a series? It was a failure to think things through. I suppose he wanted to lose with his best, but to win the Yankees were going to have to beat Burdette in Game 5 anyway, so if they get to Game 7 how scary is facing Burdette again? They should have gone with Willey or Pizarro in Game 5, or Rush in game 6.
   26. Mark Armour Posted: March 31, 2013 at 01:14 AM (#4400028)
But these were not all the same team. The 1952-1960 teams (which also were not all the same team) went 4-3 in the World Series and every matchup went either six or seven games. Saying that the Yankees were a lesser team in most of the those World Series is defensible in my view. They were a better team in 1960, likely.
   27. Jick Posted: March 31, 2013 at 05:15 AM (#4400056)
I don't know when he lived in Alpharetta, but he lived in our Atlanta neighborhood in the 1967-70 timeframe. That area is now called Brookhaven. I don't remember ever meeting him but think his house had one of they typical mailboxes of the time with the metal nameplate above it and my father telling me who he was, and that he had done well financially after his baseball career was over.


I was going to post something very similar, but based on information from ten or twenty years later.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4400081)
But these were not all the same team. The 1952-1960 teams (which also were not all the same team) went 4-3 in the World Series and every matchup went either six or seven games. Saying that the Yankees were a lesser team in most of the those World Series is defensible in my view. They were a better team in 1960, likely.

Beginning with Stengel's first year, the Yankees were definitely the superior team in the World Series of 1949-50-51-56-61, perhaps slightly superior in 1960, roughly even in 1952-53-64, slightly inferior in 1957, and inferior in 1955-58-62-63. The Yankees' rotation, defense and bench strength in the early Stengel years put them at an advantage over the best NL teams until the Dodgers started to put it all together in 1952-53. After that the NL's overall superiority began to take its toll in almost every case, with the notable exceptions of 1956 and 1961. The problem for the NL was that its talent was spread much more evenly around the league, and that prevented the NL from showcasing its overall strength to maximum advantage in the World Series. You can get a more accurate gauge of NL's superiority in the results of the All-Star games and Spring Training, where between 1954 and 1962 it won 617 of 1148 interleague games.
   29. Jay Z Posted: March 31, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4400158)
But these were not all the same team. The 1952-1960 teams (which also were not all the same team) went 4-3 in the World Series and every matchup went either six or seven games. Saying that the Yankees were a lesser team in most of the those World Series is defensible in my view. They were a better team in 1960, likely.


I think the Yankees clearly won more games in the World Series 1927-53 than they should have, given the likely talent level of their opponents. 61-20, including 28-3 from 1927-39. 28-3 is what the Yankees should do against the last place team. Does anyone think the 1932 Cubs or 1939 Reds were no better than the last place American League team? I don't think so.

The statistically inclined replay these games through computer simulations, and can't comprehend that there might have been psychological factors involved in the World Series that caused unexpected results. Because it doesn't happen on the computer.

   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4400187)
The statistically inclined replay these games through computer simulations, and can't comprehend that there might have been psychological factors involved in the World Series that caused unexpected results. Because it doesn't happen on the computer.

The most famous example being when the 1927 Yanks came to Forbes Field for pre-Series batting practice while the Pirates watched from the stands. Ruth and Gehrig & co. supposedly crashed so many balls into the right field stands that the Pirates wound up feeling that the Yankees were from some far away and superior planet. Fred Lieb wrote in his history of the Pirates that the "That right field at Forbes Field was considered pretty far away in National League competition, but Ruth, Gehrig, and lesser Yankee lights salapped balls into the stand and to the roof as though it were a soft-ball park." Their manager Donie Bush breathed defiance and dismissed any thoughts of intimidation, but four games later the Pirates were sent home for the Winter after a Series in which they were outscored by more than 2 to 1.

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