Manager Dowd expects Turner to show a decided improvement in his batting this year. "'Tuck' has always hit around the .400 mark," says Dowd, "and there is no reason why he should not do it again. He had an off year in '96, but this can be attributed to sickness, which he had during his entire stay in St. Louis."
-Sporting Life, March 27, 1897
Tuck Turner had a pretty interesting career. It seems like he kicked around on amateur clubs around New York and New Jersey until 1893, when he signed with the Philadelphias. So at age twenty-six, he's finally in the big leagues but, as an outfielder for Philadelphia, he's playing behind Ed Delahanty, Sam Thompson, and Billy Hamilton. So he was never going to start for that club. But, when he did play, he played well and, as Tommy Dowd said, he hit around .400 for two years while getting about six hundred at bats.
David Nemec, in Major League Baseball Profiles, covers what happened next:
[Prior to the 1896 season] Hamilton was traded to Boston...Turner chose that winter to stage a holdout...Upon joining the team, Turner hit .219 in his first 13 games back in harness, triggering the Phils first to farm him out to St. Paul as punishment and then to swap both him and Sullivan to St. Louis for Dick Cooley. St. Paul manager Charlie Comiskey initially refused to surrender Turner, claiming the Phils had promised to leave him in the Western League for the entire season, and in truth, Turner would have preferred remaining in the minors to going to the dreary Browns...Demoralized, Turner hit just .243 for the year but rebounded in 1897 to bat .291 in 109 games and survive a potentially serious beaning on August 13 when he had to be carried off on a stretcher after being nailed by Cleveland's Zeke Wilson
Turner opened 1898 as the Browns' RF incumbent but faded to .199 and was sold to Kansas City of the Western League...
His story is a puzzle that may never be solved. Was he a potential star who got trapped on the wrong team early in his career and lost his spirit when he was traded to a tailender? Or was he swept up in the tsunami attack the Phils possessed in his first three seasons to heights that he never would have scaled with a weaker-hitting team? In any event, at the close of the nineteenth-century Turner owned the highest BA (.320) of any universally recognized switch hitter with a minimum of 1,000 career ABs.