Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Norman "Turkey" Stearnes

Kansas State University hosts the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's e-Museum at:


It's a resource site for teachers, and has profiles of Negro League Teams and personal profiles of many Negro League individuals.

The Detroit Stars were organized in 1919.  The Stars became a charter member of the Negro National League on 1920, and remained until the league disbanded after the 1931 season.  The Stars reemerged twice as new leagues formed in 1933 and 1937.

Norman "Turkey" Stearnes hailed from Nashville, TN, and played for the Stars from 1923-1931, 1933 & 1937.  He was a power-hitting left handed bat, who also hit for good average.  He was a speedy outfielder and base-stealing threat.

Stearnes also played for the Kansas City Monarchs, the Chicago American Giants, and several other Negro League teams.

Turkey Stearns finished his career with 7 home run titles, and a .359 batting average.  Stearnes passed away on September 4, 1979 at the age of 78.  He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

(Source, James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, 1994.)

Very sad to me that many like Turkey Stearnes never lived to see their achievements properly lauded.  Although integration came shamefully late to the Detroit Tigers franchise, I'm happy to see that they now host Negro Leagues weekend annually, and make a concerted effort to reach out to African-American baseball fans.

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