Leader On The Sheets, Leader In The Clubhouse.
Justin Turner grew up a Dodger fan. He’s a Long Beach boy, went to college just down the road at Cal State Fullerton. Everything about Justin Turner’s Dodger career just reads like a story book.
I originally wasn’t going to use any numbers in this piece, but you can’t really appreciate JT without appreciating his numbers.
Those are his 2019 spring training numbers. He certainly has a hot spring training almost every year. We’ve been rightfully talking about how hot Kiké has been all spring. We’ve been talking about AJ Pollock finally turning it on. We’ve been talking about Stetson Allie and his hot fastball and hair. We’ve almost barely acknowledged JT has an OBP over .500 this spring and a 1.431 OPS. Obviously spring, and a small sample size, but that’s not the point.
The point is that we almost take this for granted. “JT gonna JT” is almost unfair to the guy, because if it was anybody else we’d be making a much bigger deal. For TWO straight seasons JT has posted a batting average above 300, and an OBP above 400. That isn’t Trout like–but it’s pretty close, and pretty impressive for a player with far less the star power. Every time the Dodgers need a clutch hit, it seems like JT is somewhere in the mix. Last year his defensive numbers went down a bit, but I really have to believe they’ll be better in 2019, even if he’s getting older.
Justin Turner Is A Community Man
Earlier this winter, LA City council announced “Justin Turner Day.” This happened because aside from from his postseason heroism, Justin Turner has always been a beacon of his community.
JT’s foundation supports homeless veterans, sick children and their families as they endure difficult hardships. Similarly, there was the time he reached out to an adorable young boy who was upset last year that JT was injured.
— Andrew Riddle (@agr_dodgers22) March 20, 2018
Justin Turner himself reached out to the family of this adorable boy and made good on his promise. The day of his season debut at Dodger Stadium, the family were given tickets and little Declan got to meet his hero.
Being an MLB player is a full time job and then some, and it’s often forgotten that putting in extra time for fans and causes during the season takes extra effort. Justin Turner seems to always make the extra effort. This story is by no means an outlier. You can do a quick search, and find countless stories of Justin Turner going out of his way to be kind or spend a minute with a fan.
October 15, 2017
One of the nights I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I was watching the end of game 2 of the NLCS. My wife (who ordinarily would have been asleep here on central time) stayed up to watch the end of the game with me. My daughter was asleep upstairs. It was a 1-0 count, and there were 2 runners on base. John Lackey threw a 92 mph sinker that landed middle away.
All those details are from memory.
My initial thought was that it would be a fly-out to end the inning. Dodger fans have grown used to humbled pessimism instead of cautious optimism. When I saw just how fast the Cubs center fielder was running to the wall. I knew just before it landed that it was gone. As I jumped off the couch, I couldn’t help but think of the fact that 29 years ago, my father was showing the same type of elation to Kirk Gibson’s walk off–probably also trying not to wake up his 3 and a half year old son.
There’s a serendipity in that generational line of events that I’ll never be able to put into words the way I want to. Take a look at the image here, it’s been my twitter background since that week and isn’t likely to change. My favorite Dodger article of clothing is my blue spring training Justin Turner jersey.
The greatest moment in Dodger history since Kirk’s walk off, and I could write an entire article about it. And yet there’s so much more to appreciate about Justin Turner than just this legendary moment.
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Dodgers Nation Loves Justin Turner
We asked on our various social media channels why Dodgers Nation loves Justin Turner. As a result, some of the replies were fantastic.
My favorite thing is how available he makes himself, to the community, the fans, and his teammates. Really special player.
— Jim Furlong (@EWOKinLA) March 25, 2019
His love of the game you can always see he is always having fun
— Charles Hamel #Dodgers #Lakers #Rams #Kings #USC (@TheCharles71276) March 25, 2019
How down to earth and humble he is
— ??DodgersBro? (@DodgersBro) March 25, 2019
I met @redturn2 briefly last year when I took my daughter to meet him at a signing appearance at Costco. When you see him interact with the kids it becomes obvious that he's truly a class act as a human being. He deserves every positive thing said about him. #RingIn19 #GoBlue
— Alan Ballinger (@AlanBallinger) March 25, 2019
His swing. It’s nothing short of magnificent.
— A.J. (@ElessarDarkStar) March 25, 2019
What he does for Vets at every game! Met him at Veterans Day batting practice, a class act!
— Steve in Riverside (@sands111111) March 25, 2019
At spring training last year, @redturn2 intended to walk past the fans to the training fields. He passed my son then did a double take. He seen that my son was in a wheelchair he walked back to him and signed his ball, took some pic and talked to him briefly. ?@redturn2
— angelpj69 (@angelpj1969) March 25, 2019
There were an nice mix of reasons that people love JT, his kindness to people from all walks of life seems to stick out the most. Above all, how good of a hitter he is can even take a 2nd note when it compares to what a good man Justin Turner is.