In the summer of 1958, the year that Bob Turley won Game 7 of
the World Series for the New York Yankees, he went to Wall
Street to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
The money guys wanted a piece of him--an autograph, a handshake,
a glimpse. On the 40th anniversary of that event he was on the
floor again, but no one remembered him as a Yankee. Instead of
pitching lore, the financiers wanted to know about securities,
mutual funds and life insurance. "One of my greatest joys was to
have people come up and talk not about baseball but about my
company," Turley says.
Before retiring in January, Turley served for 20 years as senior
national sales director of Primerica Financial Services, an
investment marketing company based in Duluth, Ga. He and his
sales force of more than 15,000 people sold $9 billion a year in
face amount of life insurance. Turley got his start in the
business in 1957, and 20 years later he and seven others founded
A. L. Williams & Associates. They sold short-term life
insurance--instead of the more costly whole life coverage--and
advised clients to invest the resulting savings in mutual funds.
The partners were highly successful, and in '89 Williams &
Associates was bought by Primerica, which has since become a part
of Citigroup. "You had to do something after baseball, and I
didn't want to dig ditches," says Turley, who will turn 71 on
Sept. 19. "I wanted to use my brain."
Turley grew up in East St. Louis, Ill., and started his 12-year
big league career with the St. Louis Browns in 1951. Three years
later the team became the Baltimore Orioles. Turley won 14 games
in '54 and was then traded to the Yankees. Bullet Bob won 82
games in eight years in New York, his best performance coming in
'58 when his 21-7 record and 2.97 ERA earned him the Cy Young
Award. The next year his salary was $35,000, the most he ever
made in a season. While that number pales in comparison with
today's minimum salary, Turley isn't jealous. "It helped me in
the business world," he says of his baseball career. "Playing
with the Yankees gave me the credibility to make the money Roger
Clemens makes, and in business, credibility is your name."
Turley, who splits his time between homes in Marco Island, Fla.,
and Blue Ridge, Ga., is married and has four children, two
stepchildren and 17 grandchildren. Looking back at a life that
has included five major league teams, 101 pitching wins and
millions in earnings, he says, "I'm the luckiest man ever. I got
to play a child's game for a man's wages and then be a part of
one of the most financially powerful companies in the world."
August 26, 2001
"You had to do something after baseball, and I didn't want to dig
ditches. I wanted to use my brain."