A product of Fresno High School, Fresno City College, and University of California at Berkley, fireballer Jim Maloney signed a contract with the Cincinnati Reds in 1959 for a reported $108,000.
Assigned to Topeka in the Three-I (Illinois-Indiana-Iowa) League, his first professional manager was Johnny Vander Meer. Maloney was 6-7 with the Hawks, with a 4.50 ERA. He started 14 games but appeared in 25 for the season.
The next year in Nashville, his manager was Jim Turner. Turner was born in nearby Antioch, a Nashville suburb, and his return was a welcome surprise to local fans. After playing in the major leagues for 9 years Turner had become a manager in Beaumont (Texas League) in 1946 and Portland (Pacific Coast League) for two seasons in 1947 and 1948.
When Casey Stengel was named manager of the Yankees in 1949, he took Turner with him to New York. From that season until Turner left to become manager and general manager of the Nashville club, the Yankees won seven World Series titles.
“One of the best things that ever happened to me was Jim Turner”, Maloney said. “He noticed that I was “tipping” my pitches, and he worked with me to get out of that habit.
“Vander Meer never had.”
Turner’s tutelage must have worked. Although minor league attendance was declining in Nashville, Maloney was the hero of the 1960 season. Tomorrow, more about his season in Nashville.