Turner, James H. - Lefty

JAMES H. ‘LEFTY’ TURNER                      

Died: August 13, 2000                            

Lefty pursued success in baseball early in life while he was playing for the Palatka Blue Caps and later for other semi-pro teams, including the Jacksonville Red Caps, West Palm Beach Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants, and the Atlantic City All-Stars.

Lefty was determined to realize his dreams when he met up with Palatka-born Hall of Famer John Henry "Pop" Lloyd in Atlantic City, New Jersey and joined the Enoch L. Johnson All-Stars.

The doors of opportunity opened in 1942 when Jesse Owens, former Olympic Track Star and Oscar Charleston, baseball Hall of Famer, knocked on Turner's back door, indicating they heard of Turner's skill and needed a first baseman on their team, the Pittsburgh Crawfords.

Some of the greatest black players Lefty played under, against, or with were Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, James "Cool Papa" Bell, Buck Leonard, Minnie Minoso, Monte Irvin, Larry Doby, Roy Campanella, Showboat Thomas, and Hilton Smith. In his baseball travels, Lefty played at prestigious ball parks such as Yankee Stadium in New York, Comiskey Park in Chicago, and Fenway Park in Boston only when the major league home teams were on the road.  In 1947, Lefty was retiring while Jackie Robinson was breaking in with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Source: www.palatkadailynews.com