HR King For A Day
Ex-Turk To Be Honored Today
By Matt Jones
Daily News Record
There’s some irony to this: The first pitch of the Harrisonburg Turks’ game against Strasburg tonight at Veterans Memorial Park will be thrown by someone who once turned five pitches into five home runs in a single game for the Turks.
Jerry Dove accomplished the feat in a 1962 playoff game at Shenandoah, the final one coming after Jim Kite, a former minor league pitcher for the New York Yankees, jokingly threw a rosin bag to Dove.
Five decades later, he remembers the prank well.
“I was surprised, totally surprised,” said Dove, 72, who now lives in Churchville, “Everybody was just lighting up. I don’t know for sure, but I kind of believe that even Shenandoah fans were rooting for me to hit that last home run.”
Dove said he hit a home run in his first three trips to the plate before shattering his bat during his fourth at-bat. His next two at-bats were home runs.
Tonight, he’ll be honored by the Turks, a Valley League team comprised of college players honing their skills and trying to attract the attention of pro baseball scouts.
Dove, who graduated from Turner Ashby High School in 1959, was signed by the Cleveland Indians out of high school as a catcher.
“I didn’t last too long,” Dove said. “I was given a chance and I didn’t make it and it was my fault.”
After playing for the Turks in the Valley Baseball League, he became a game warden, a job he would hold for 33 years.
On that night 52 years ago, Dove wasn’t expecting a big game at the plate, he said, having worked during the day at the Imperial Fairmont Ice Cream factory. The right-handed hitting Dove, though, had a game to remember.
“When I hit that (fifth home run), it seemed like the fans…it was just a good feeling,” Dove said.