Cool Turner

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Elbert Carter Turner

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Biographical Information[edit]

Cool Turner, known as "Pops" in his later years, was a Negro League infielder and umpire.

Elbert Turner was multi-sport athlete for the West Virginia Collegiate Institute (later West Virginia State University) Yellow Jackets in the early- to mid-1920s, and was the Yellow Jackets starting quarterback at that time. He signed with the New York Lincoln Giants in 1921, playing under the name of "J. H. Wagner" (sometimes identified as "Bert Wagner") to protect his amateur status. He moved that same season to the Brooklyn Royal Giants, where he was the starting shortstop through 1926. Once his collegiate playing career was over, he used his real name, and acquired the nickname "Cool".

He moved to the Homestead Grays after four seasons with Brooklyn and hit .159 as their starting third baseman in 1929. Turner batted .248 starting at the hot corner for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1930. He split 1931 between the Cleveland Cubs and New York Black Yankees (.178 as the starting 2B). In 1932, he ended his playing career as the shortstop for Cole's American Giants, hitting .310, second on the club and fifth in the Negro Southern League. He also tied Steel Arm Davis for 4th in the NSL with 7 doubles.

Turner coached high school football in the off-season, and after his retirement from pro baseball became head baseball coach of the North Carolina State College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University) Eagles in Durham, North Carolina, and umpired for seven years in the second Negro National League. By that time, his nickname had become "Pops".


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