|Born: August 6, 1903|
Antioch, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died: November 29, 1998 (aged 95)|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|April 30, 1937, for the Boston Bees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 13, 1945, for the New York Yankees|
|Earned run average||3.22|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Riley Turner (August 6, 1903 – November 29, 1998) was a pitcher and coach in Major League Baseball. As a member of the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees, he was a member of nine World Series Championship teams between 1940 and 1959, two as a player and seven as a coach. Most notably, he was pitching coach for the Yankees under Casey Stengel from 1949 to 1959, during which time they won seven titles. Apart from his baseball career, Turner was a lifelong resident of Nashville, Tennessee.
From 1937 through 1945, he played for the Boston Bees (1937–39), Cincinnati Reds (1940–42) and New York Yankees (1942–45). Turner's Major League career got off to a late start, as he did not reach the big leagues until he was 33 years old, after 14 seasons of minor league ball. He led the National League in earned run average and won 20 games in 1937 as a rookie with Boston. He surrendered a league-high 21 home runs in 1938. Because he worked for his family's dairy farm in the offseason in Antioch, Tennessee, he was known as "Milkman Jim" to his fans.
For his career, Turner compiled a 69–60 record in 231 games, with a 3.22 earned run average and 329 strikeouts. He was a member of two World Series championship teams, the 1940 Reds and the 1943 Yankees, as well as the 1942 Yankees team that won the American League pennant. In two postseason appearances, Turner was 0–1 with a 6.43 ERA and 4 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched.
Turner was a better than average hitting pitcher, posting a .218 batting average (87-for-399) with 32 runs, one home run and 22 RBI.
After his pitching career ended, Turner served the Yankees (1949–59; 1966–73) and Reds (1961–65) as their pitching coach, working for ten pennant-winning clubs over that 24-year span. He also managed the Beaumont Exporters (1946), Portland Beavers (1947–48) and Nashville Volunteers (1960).
Turner was criticized by Jim Bouton in his book, Ball Four. Bouton claimed Turner (his pitching coach with the Yankees from 1966 to 1968) was a front-runner, who only wanted to be associated with successful pitchers.