Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#80 Turk Farrell

#80 Turk Farrell
Ah, here's a sight for sore eyes: a player in an un-airbrushed Houston Colt .45s hat on a 1965 Topps card.

Fun facts about Turk Farrell:

-Turk was born in Boston and signed with the Phillies in 1953 after completing high school.

-After losing in his major league debut in September 1956, he spent the entire 1957 season with the Phils and served as the bullpen ace. He led the club with 10 saves and a 2.38 ERA, and went 10-2 in relief.

-Farrell made his first All-Star team in 1958 and placed third in the National League with 11 saves.

-He had a forgettable 1961, putting up a career-worst 5.20 ERA and changing teams twice. Philly traded him to the Dodgers that May, and after an ineffective season he was unprotected and chosen by Houston in the expansion draft.

-The Colts used Turk in the rotation, giving him 29 starts among his 43 appearances in their inaugural season. He was an All-Star and one of the best pitchers in the N.L., ranking second with a 1.097 WHIP and seventh with a 3.02 ERA. He struck out 203 batters, the fourth-most in the senior circuit. Unfortunately he also placed second with 20 losses against just 10 wins.

-He had better luck in 1963, scraping together a 14-13 record while matching the previous year's 3.02 ERA and completing a personal-best 12 games.

-Farrell added two more All-Star seasons to his resume in 1964 and 1965, and had a cumulative ERA of 3.20 in his first four seasons in Houston.

-The Phillies reacquired him in May of 1967 and returned him to the bullpen. He gave them 92 innings with a 2.05 ERA and collected 9 wins and 12 saves.

-After being released by the Phillies at the end of the 1969 season, Turk caught on with the Braves but was cut without ever throwing a pitch for them in the regular season. In parts of 14 big league seasons, he was 106-111 with a 3.45 ERA and 83 saves.

-He reportedly emigrated to Great Britain and worked on an offshore oil rig in the North Sea after he was finished in baseball. He was killed in an automobile accident in Yarmouth, England in June 1977 and was 43 at the time of his death.

#80 Turk Farrell (back)


  1. Farrell was an immediate upgrade over all the riff-raff the Phillies had in their bullpen during 1966 (except for rookie Darold Knowles, who they inexplicably traded to the Nats for Don Lock after the '66 season!)

  2. Jim - Darold's rookie card (which he shares with a few others) is coming up some time in the future on this blog. He certainly got around - O's, Phils, Sens, A's, Cubs, Rangers, Expos, Cards...8teams in 16 years!

  3. Notice how Farrell's strikeout went down drastically between 1962 and 1964 (from 203 to 117 and his S/O per 9 innings from 7.6 to 5.3--obviously not on the card) even though he was pitching pretty well. But his ERA+ also declined steadily. In 1966, he had a bad year and by '67 he was in the bullpen. He had a couple of good years out of the bullpen, but it seems that his reduced strikeouts presaged his decline in overall performance. I wonder if he hurt his arm and, like many pitchers in those days, pitched through it.

  4. Marc - That seems like a possibility. After all, he jumped from 98 innings in 1961 to 241 the next year. He hadn't pitched much more than 100 innings in a season since 1956.