Bob Turley, hard-throwing pitcher who played for Orioles and Yankees, dies at 82

Bob Turley, a hard-throwing right-hander who won the Orioles’ first home game and later played for the New York Yankees, died March 30 of liver cancer, according to his son, Terry Turley. He was 82.

He was reported to have died in hospice care in Atlanta.

Mr. Turley pitched one season for the Orioles in 1954, the team’s first in Baltimore, and he started the first big-league game at Memorial Stadium. He was traded to the New York Yankees, where he won the Cy Young Award in 1958.

The April 15, 1954, opener at Memorial Stadium was a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox played in front of 46,354 fans. A News-Post editorial called it “the most thrilling day in Baltimore history since the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.” Mr. Turley pitched all nine innings, striking out nine.

“He was an outstanding pitcher,” said teammate Billy Hunter, who was traded to New York in the same deal as Mr. Turley. “Nobody measured how hard anybody threw then, but he threw pretty hard.”

Bob Turley pitches in Washington, DC on August 4, 1963. Turley, a pitcher who played for the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees, died March 30 at 82. (Bob Burchette/The Washington Post)

Mr. Turley, who became known as “Bullet Bob,” was sent to the Yankees as part of a package that also included Don Larsen and brought slugging catcher Gus Triandos to Baltimore. The deal involved 17 players and remains the biggest trade in the sport’s history. Triandos died Thursday.

The rest of the 1954 season did not go so well for the Orioles, and Mr. Turley told the Baltimore Sun in 2004 that he got the good end of the deal.

“I’d have crawled to New York,” he said. “What did I learn from that ’54 season? That I never wanted to be on a loser for the rest of my life.”

Despite playing for the Yankees, Mr. Turley continued to live in Lutherville and sent his children to local schools. He told the Sun in 2010 that he had fond memories of his season with Orioles.

“The fans were friendly in every sense of the word,” he said. “When my first son was born that season, people gave us a crib and free diapers. They treated us royally.”

Mr. Turley left the Yankees in 1962, playing a season apiece with the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox. In 12 seasons, he went 101-85 with a 3.64 ERA.

After retiring from baseball, Mr. Turley worked with the financial firm Primerica and lived in Alpharetta, Ga.

Survivors include his wife, Janet, of Alpharetta; three children, Terry Turley of Suwanee, Ga., Don Turley of Woodstock, Ga., and Roweena Turley of Orlando; and numerous grandchildren.

— Baltimore Sun