Lester: Norman 'Turkey' Stearnes, the silent slugger

From SABR member Larry Lester at The National Pastime Museum on June 17, 2013:

Like a whisper in a hurricane or a snowball in a blizzard, Norman “Turkey” Stearnes was long unnoticed and unheralded. Until recently, the talents of this slender southpaw slugger remained unappreciated and underrated. He was baseball’s best kept secret during a career that lasted from 1920 to 1940.

A five-time All-Star selection to the East-West classic in Chicago, the modest Stearnes was a home run hitter with getaway speed. Head bobbing, neck stretched and knees loping, Stearnes ran the bases like a hunted turkey. Like any Thanksgiving strider, he had a quick first step and could easily shift directions at full speed.

“And he was a fast man, a great fielder.” Ted “Double Duty" Radcliffe added. “In fact, the only man I saw could move faster in the outfield was Cool Papa Bell. When we barnstormed, Cool Papa moved Turkey out of center field. I believe he was the only man who was fast enough to do that.”

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This page was last updated June 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm MST.

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