Only a small percentage of Major League baseball players have what is considered a “Hall of Fame” career. There have been only been 243 ballplayers inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Former Major League pitcher Bob Turley, who died this past March 30, was not a part of that small percentage. However, Turley did experience a “mountain top” season with “Hall of Fame” type results. It was a magical ride down the road of triumph not every ballplayer will travel.
Turley started his career with the St. Louis Browns who moved to become the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. He was the winning pitcher for the Orioles first game in Baltimore. In 1955, Turley was traded to the New York Yankees and became an integral part of their pennant winning pitching staff. He won 17 games in 1955 and 13 games in 1957. His was called “Bullet Bob” because of the speed of his fast ball.
But in 1958 Turley had the season of his career. He was 21 – 7 with a 2.97 ERA and 168 strikeouts. Six of his wins were shutouts and he completed 19 games. The recipient of the 1958 Cy Young Award, Turley was considered the best pitcher in the Major Leagues that year.
The Yankees trailed the Milwaukee Braves 3 games to 1 in the 1958 World Series. However; Turley blanked the Braves 7 – 0 in Game Five and got the 10th inning save in the Yankees’ Game Six victory. Then in Game Seven, Turley relieved the Yankees’ starting pitcher in the fourth inning and shutout the Braves the remainder of the game as the Yankees won to clinch the Series. Turley was named the World Series’ Most Valuable Player.
Turley never had another season like 1958. In his remaining years with the Yankees; he won nine games in 1959, eight in 1960, and three each in 1961 and 1962. He retired in 1963 after playing briefly for the Los Angeles Angels and the Boston Red Sox.
Who is your favorite ballplayer not in the Hall of Fame that had a magical season like Bob Turley?