On October 27, 1959 New York Yankees pitching coach Jim Turner was named field manager and general manager of the Nashville Vols for the 1960 season. The announcement caught the Nashville media and Vols fans by surprise, as Turner had nurtured a successful Yankees pitching staff between 1949 until 1959.
The board of directors of Vols, Inc., the public ownership corporation formed to run the Nashville club, pulled off the hiring of Turner behind the scenes. With the announcement of Turner’s hiring it was reported that his salary would be $17,500.
Born in the Antioch community of Nashville, Jim Turner was raised on the family-owned dairy farm, earning him the nickname “Milkman Jim”. His demeanor both on and off the field also earned him another nickname: “Gentleman Jim”.
The 1960 season would not be a successful one, and even though Turner was popular in the community fans did not support the team in great numbers at the turnstiles. After his lone season he resigned and accepted the pitching coach position with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds won the National League pennant in 1961 with a pitching staff which included Bob Purkey, Jim O’Toole, Jim Maloney, Claude Osteen, Joey Jay, Jay Hook, and Jim Brosnan. Maloney had been one of Turner’s players in Nashville and has given credit to Turner for his success on the mound.
Born on August 6, 1903, Jim Turner passed away on November 29, 1998. Up until his death could often be seen at Nashville Sounds games at Greer Stadium where he was a season ticket holder.