Terrence Lamont Turner
(Cotton Top; Tuck)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 149 lb.
- Debut August 25, 1901
- Final Game September 29, 1919
- Born February 28, 1881 in Sandy Lake, PA USA
- Died July 18, 1960 in Cleveland, OH USA
" . . . sliding feet-first wasn't for me. I caught my spikes too often and hurt my ankles." - Terry Turner, quoted in the Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia as to why he pioneered the head-first slide in the majors
Nicknamed "Cotton Top" because of his blonde hair, infielder Terry Turner played seventeen seasons in the big leagues, all but his first and last with the Cleveland Indians (also called the "Naps" during part of that time) during the dead ball era. The Third Edition of the Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia credits him with playing more games for the Indians than any other player, barely beating out Nap Lajoie.
Turner originally came up with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1901, hitting .429 as the second youngest player in the league, but Tommy Leach was firmly ensconced at third base and Honus Wagner was beginning to play a lot of shortstop. He was then sent down to the minors.
According to one source , Turner was considered the American Association's premier third baseman as a member of the Columbus Senators in 1902. Furthermore, there exists a curious - and unsubstantiated - tale of him hitting two home runs in one game at Columbus's Neil Park. In those days, hitting just one home run was an atypical feat; two in one game was rare. These two home runs were beyond the realm of rare: both balls hit off the bat of Turner apparently went through the centerfield clubhouse door.
Turner came back to the majors in 1904 with Cleveland, immediately becoming the team's regular shortstop. He was in the top ten in the league in RBI and total bases in both 1905 and 1906. Defensively, he led American League shortstops in games played, assists, double plays, and fielding in 1905 and paced them in fielding and double players the following season.
By 1911, Turner was primarily a third baseman, and he played in the Indians infield alongside shortstop Ray Chapman for many years. In 1912 and 1914, he led AL third basemen in fielding, and he paced them in double plays in 1913. He also led the league in sacrifice hits in 1914.
Although never a league leader in stolen bases, Turner had over 250 lifetime steals. He is often credited as developing the headfirst slide because he claimed that sliding feet-first hurt his ankles.