Fans Called Him “Turkey,” I Called Him Dad

A Daughter Remembers Baseball Hall of Famer Norman Thomas Stearnes


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About the Book

Baseball Hall of Famer Norman Thomas “Turkey” Stearnes (1901–1979) batted more than .400 three times, led the Negro Leagues in home runs seven times and holds the all-time Negro Leagues record for career home runs. Despite his legendary achievements on the field, Stearnes worked off-seasons in Detroit’s auto plants, including one owned by Walter Briggs, who also owned the Detroit Tigers—a team Stearnes couldn’t play for because he was black. Written by his eldest daughter, this first biography of “Turkey” Stearnes intimately recounts his life and career and gives overdue recognition to one of the greatest all-around players in the history of baseball.

About the Author(s)

Rosilyn Stearnes-Brown is a native Detroiter whose passions are baseball, music and educating people about her dad and the Negro Leagues. During her employment at Detroit Public Schools, as an educational tool for the students, she wrote a musical entitled “For the Love of the Game,” featuring her dad, “Turkey” Stearnes; his close friend Satchel Paige; and her uncle “Double Duty” Radcliffe.

Bibliographic Details

Rosilyn Stearnes-Brown
Foreword by Gary Gillette
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 177
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8891-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4697-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi
Foreword by Gary Gillette  1
Preface  5
Prologue  9
I—A Legend Is Born  11
II—A Celebratory Beginning After Baseball  19
III—Family Favorites  29
IV—It Takes a Village to Raise a Child  33
V—Taking Things in Stride  49
VI—Old School Is the Best School  55
VII—Education  66
VIII—Commonalities: Marriage and Divorce  69
IX—Twice Retired: Dad and Me  82
X—Negro Leagues Reunion 1979 in Ashland, Kentucky  85
XI—A Great Soul Goes to Rest  94
XII—Daring to Make the Dream Come True  108
XIII—The Legacy Bears Fruit  129
Epilogue  149
Appendix A: Accomplishments and Awards  153
Appendix B: Current Statistics Compiled by Gary Ashwill  155
Index  167