Former Turks Plan City Visit Today

Written by David Driver  
Daily News-Record  

They played baseball for the Harrisonburg Turks in the 1960’s.  

And now four men plan to come to the city today to have a look around decades after helping the club win a Valley League pennant in 1967, Wallie Jones of South Carolina told the News-Record on Wednesday.  

“It has probably been six or seven years since I have been there,” said Jones, adding that he has great memories of the city and that the four men were treated very well.  

Jones of Sumter, Skip Hull of Charlotte, Ted Barnett of Durham, North Carolina, and Jim Clay of Winchester plan to be in Harrisonburg and meet with current skipper Bob Wease, who played in both the Valley Baseball League and the Rockingham County Baseball League.  

Jones, a former second baseman, played baseball at the University of South Carolina and was teammates there with Turner Ashby graduate Larry Erbaugh, now the pitching coach for the Turks. \Hull, a catcher at the University of North Carolina, was a Valley League MVP during his time with the Turks. The Tar Heels made the College World Series in 1966.  

Barnett was a third baseman and Clay was a first baseman who went to West Virginia University — both played in the minors for the Pirates, according to Jones.  

The four members of the Turks from 1966-1967 originally planned to watch the Turks play tonight at home at Veterans Memorial Park against Covington, Jones said. But the game was cancelled after Covington called off the rest of its season on Tuesday due to COVID 19 issues with the club.  

The quartet plan to eat at L & S Diner on North Liberty Street – a favorite place for them in the 1960s. Since the Turks aren’t playing today the men may head to Staunton to see the Braves play tonight against visiting Charlottesville.  \They remember playing pool in Harrisonburg Main Street in the 1960’s and waiting for the weekly issue of The Sporting News, which back then printed Valley League, statistical leaders. One year Jones was mentioned, “A highlight of my young life,” he noted.  

Jones said the four men have great memories of playing for the Turks. He said the men planned to spend Wednesday night with Hull in Charlotte then make the drive to Harrisonburg today.  

You embraced us, made us feel special, and allowed us to make some lifelong friends that endure to this day, Jones wrote to the News-Record earlier this week. “The people of your town were good, hard-working people who took time to make some young college boys feel like heroes.”  

Jones recalls the small passageway from the dugout in the clubhouse at old Memorial Stadium, and players would race for the few shower stalls available after hone games.  

None of the four made the majors, but they had success in other areas. “I went to dental school, I practiced dentistry for 40 years,” said Jones, who is now retired and runs free baseball clinics for youth in South Carolina.