Norman “Turkey” Stearnes

May 8, 1901 – September 4, 1979

“If they don’t put Turkey Stearnes in the Hall of Fame, they shouldn’t put anybody in!”James “Cool Papa” Bell

Norman Stearnes was a Hall of Fame baseball player who played the entirety of his 19-year career in the Negro Leagues. Nicknamed “Turkey” from the unconventional way he ran, he was a 5x All-Star and 2x league batting champion. He was predominantly a utility outfielder – playing mostly in left field – but was praised for his versatility and speed at other positions as well.

Turkey Stearnes made his professional debut with the Nashville Giants in the years leading up to the Great Depression and played for a total of 8 teams. His longest tenure was with the Detroit Stars, where he played for 10 seasons. He retired in 1940 as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs. Stearnes holds the record for the most career home runs in Negro Leagues history with 186 and he led the league in triples and stolen bases multiple years. Despite his on-field success and like many Negro Leagues players, Turkey had to work jobs in the off-season to make ends meet. He was posthumously elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. His grave marker mimics his induction plaque in Cooperstown.


Lincoln Memorial Park – Clinton, MI

Specific Location

Section 1600, Row 4, Grave 20 – Enter the memorial park and turn right. Head all the way to the back of the park then turn right at the T intersection. On your left will be small signs for sections 1800, 1700, etc. Between the 1700 and 1600 signs are a large cedar tree and a round shrub. Turkey is buried beyond this shrub a row or two to the east.


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