Today I’m introducing a twice weekly feature to the blog. For this “Find the Canadian Connection” feature, I will close my eyes and reach into a random box of baseball cards in my basement and pull out a single card. I will then try to establish a Canadian connection for the player featured on the card.
The first card I pulled is a 1980 Topps Jerry Turner (#133).
Selected in the 10th round of the 1972 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres, Turner played parts of 10 big league seasons with the San Diego Padres (1974 to 1981, 1983), Chicago White Sox (1981) and Detroit Tigers (1982).
In 733 major league games, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound outfielder, who hails from Los Angeles, batted .257 with 45 home runs and 45 stolen bases. He was at his best with the Padres between 1976 and 1979. In 1978, he batted a career-best .280 and belted eight home runs in 106 games.
Following his big league career, he served as a coach with the independent California League’s Fullerton Flyers (2006) and Orange County Flyers (2007).
Let me tell you, it took some serious digging to unearth a few Canadian connections for Turner, but here’s what I found:
– He made his major league debut on September 2, 1974 for the Padres against the Atlanta Braves in a game at Atlanta Stadium. In that contest, Canadian Paul Runge (St. Catharines, Ont.) was umpiring second base. Turner started in left field and batted third ahead of Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Dave Winfield. Turner went 0-for-4 against Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro and the Braves won 8-2.
-Turner’s only home run on Canadian soil came at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on May 19, 1977 when he socked a two-run home run off Expos right-hander Don Stanhouse in the top of the third inning to help lead the Padres to a 5-2 win. Bill Atkinson (Chatham, Ont.) pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the Expos that game. That was one of 11 hits that Turner would have at Olympic Stadium during his career. He also went 2-for-15 at Jarry Park.
– For his career, Turner was 0-for-3 against Atkinson, but he was 2-for-2 (with a triple) against another Canadian – Chicago Cubs hurler Ken Crosby, who was born in New Denver, B.C.