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Turk Wendell
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Turk Wendell
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Memories of
Turk Wendell
Turk Wendell
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 117 of 1043 players
Steven John Wendell
Born: May 19, 1967 at Pittsfield, Mass.
Throws: Right Bats: Both
Height: 6.02 Weight: 190

Turk Wendell was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on May 19, 2005, March 18, 2006, May 19, 2008, April 14, 2009, July 31, 2011, March 21, 2012, May 10, 2012, July 25, 2012, and January 28, 2013.


First Mets game: August 9, 1997
Last Mets game: July 26, 2001

Share your memories of Turk Wendell


This guy is nuts! But in a good way; he is still the man! He pitches a great game and knows what to do under pressure. He's calm ONLY when he needs to be; which is cool with me. Very superstitious, yet very good. He seems to be a nice guy too, which is not often in baseball these days. Good job Turk, keep it up.

Jerry the True Believer
Had the chance to meet Turk twice. A very nice guy, who does a lot of good work that the Mets don't publicize. For instance, he regularly read children's stories at local libraries, and he must "take one for the team" because he seems to get stuck doing meet and greets with salespeople quite a bit. That's where I met him!

Turk is my favorite Mets player. He is a funny guy. About two years ago, I wrote a letter to him and he sent me three of his baseball cards signed in gold writing, also I went to a Mets game and as Turk was walking to the bullpen with other pitchers, I yelled Hi Turk, and he waved and winked at me, I was so excited. Turk is a very nice person.

I just wish he still ate licorice between innings or waved at the center fielder before starting the inning. The only part of his act still remaining is the rosin bag and jumping over the lines. Too bad the Cubs made him start. He was a phenom with the Braves until they sent him to the Cubs for Damon Berryhill.

January 20, 2001
Every good baseball team needs someone who can be nicely described as a 'character', someone wildly eccentric enought ot keep everyone loose. Roger McDowell did this for the 86 team, Turk does this for the Mets now. Admittedly, he's not as insane as he was with the cubs a few years back, but htings like the bears tooth neclkace help.

Lori aka WenZo
April 11, 2001
TURK is da man I have met him numerous times and he is awesome his routine is great, not only does it motvate the crowd it motivates the players as well

as for a people person- he is the best way to reach out to the community and bring baseball back to the fans

Turk- I am your #1 fan, just remember my friend(yankee fan) and I with the pictures.

keep up the awesome work

Coach HoJo 20
April 29, 2001
"When (Rick) Ankiel is out there and he throws balls everywhere why don't they throw him out of the game?" - P Turk Wendell


Turk Wendell is quickly becoming one of my favorite Mets players. The guy doesn't take crap from anybody. He tells it the way it is, when others are afraid to. He told it the way it is in the Guerrero situation and he just told it the way it is in the "ejection" situation yesterday.

May 5, 2001
Turk Wendell is one of my favorite Mets. He is totally crazy, but not bad crazy. I went to a Mets game today, and he came right over to the stands to sign autographs. Also he really wants to play for free, and it seems now that baseball players always want more money, not less. Turk is so cool!

July 12, 2001
I was at Shea on June 22 this year against Atlanta. Turk comes in during the 8th of a 3-1 game after Dennis Cook gave up hits to the first two batters. Two hits and 3 walks later, the game was 8-1. Wendell was loudly booed leaving the mound. He then threw his glove about 30 rows in to the stands. The crowd starting chanting "Throw it back. Throw it back."

It was pathetic.

Mr. Sparkle
July 27, 2001
Are the Phillies paying Steve Phillips? Why in the world would they trade Turk AND Cook for Bruce Chen??????!!!!!!! Bruce Chen SUCKS!!!!! He has done NOTHING in his career. Turk has always been great out of the bullpen. Forget his rosin bag throwing he was great 9 times out of 10. He gave up some dingers to lose a few games but overall he was pretty solid. Who replaces him? Does getting Chen mean Rusch is gone? Bad Move!!!!

Sorry to see you go Turk. You were the man!

July 28, 2001

BTW The reason we got Chen is to trade Reed, who I will also miss!!!!

July 28, 2001
Round 1 of "The Trade" goes to the Mets and Robin Ventura. Flat slider = home run. 4-3 Mets.

Sorry to see you go, Turk. But I've seen a few too many of your sliders not slide this season. For some reason I think Phillies fans may regret this trade almost as much as the Adam Eaton for Andy Ashby trade.

July 30, 2001
I'm sorry to see Turk go, he will always be a New York Met to me.

November 10, 2001
I'll miss Turk -- the necklace (consisting of claws of animals that Turk personally acquired from the animals themselves), the rosin bag slams, etc., nevermind that he was a solid reliever on the 1999 and 2000 Mets.

Matthew Schwimmer
December 13, 2002
I meet Turk at spring training. He was giving autographs and I was the only one with the right pen to sign autographs. He wanted to trade the pen for a ball. I asked for his mitt because he always throws it in the stands. He did not trade me his mitt. However, he was really nice guy. I am eight years old.

a mets fan
December 29, 2002
I never was too too crazy about Turk. But he could pitch good, and in some ways the way he throws reminds me of John Rocker, also a little bit like Dennis Cook.

January 3, 2003
Gave the best souvenirs. I attended a game where Turk just didn't get the job done. While walking back to the dugout, he threw his glove into the stands at Shea, almost reaching the loge seats.

Lance Kuecker
May 19, 2003
I met him last night at an Astros game in Houston. The Phillies pitchers were in left field snagging balls from pregame batting practice. All the little kids were hollering, "Mr. Wendell! Mr. Wendell!" so I stepped to the edge of the Pavilion and said, "Hey Turk!" and he immediately looked up at me and threw a ball straight to me.

Then as we were finding our seats before the game I noticed him signing autographs, and had him sign the ball he threw to me. He was very cool. My buddy asked him what his real name was, and he replied with a smirk, "You mean that can't be my real name?" He signed autographs and posed for pictures longer than any other players. We were impressed.

May 28, 2003
I have nothing against Turk personally but I have to say I really enjoyed watching the Mets get a few hits off of him and making the Phillies' fans sweat a little like I used to. I somehow felt a little vindicated and I said to my husband "Good, let him get batted around by the Mets a little like he used to when he pitched for us." It's mean I know but I couldn't help myself. The only thing I'd enjoy more is watching the Mets beat up on Armando Benitez when he hopefully gets traded somewhere else.

Mr. Sparkle
July 16, 2003
Turk was a total screwball. I always liked him but never realized how wacky he really was until I read about some of his minor league antics. Actually when he was pitching in college other players used to spit tobacco on Turk's shoes as a practical joke. Turk, didn't like tobacco so to get back at them he would chew black licorice and spit that juice back at them. Only problem was that it turned his teeth black so he started to brush his teeth between every inning.

When he was first called up to the Cubs, the catcher would tell the umpire not to throw the ball to Turk to start an inning but to roll it out to him instead. If it was thrown to him he would let the ball hit him in the chest and would fall down. He just liked to pick the ball up to start an inning.

In the minors before throwing the first pitch he would always wave to the centerfielder. If he wasn't looking he would wave to right and then to left if the rightfielder wasn't looking. His centerfielder was Jim Duquette and Jim made sure to always wave back.

Wendell liked to paint by number to pass the time. Also, he wouldn't eat on days he pitched in the minors, he would just drink orange juice instead.

I guess if your parents name you Turk you do some weird things. Love that dude.

July 27, 2003
Turk was a good pitcher but weird. Had those teeth around his neck all the time and always leaped over the line when the inning was over. Plus, he wore the number 99. I don't know of anyone else who wore that number. Anyway, he was good in the bullpen.

Phil Thiegou
September 30, 2003
GRRRRRR BITTERMAN!!! Love it when he slammed the rosin bag before the start of the inning. Too bad he's not with us anymore.

March 9, 2005
Turk should have finished up as a Met! He was and is a fan favorite! Sad to hear about his arm trouble; I hope he can come back. Other people have written about his class and the good things he does in the community! I think it talks volumes about a guy! My favorite story about Turk is the barbecue he threw at his home for Masato Yoshi. This was after Yoshi had been traded away to the Rockies! Just a classy thing to do! Good luck Turk!

Jonathan Stern
May 21, 2005
Anyone know how Steven John Wendell got to be called "Turk"? I hope it didn't have anything to do with his nursing.

Turk truly was a latter-day Tug McGraw. An outrageously colorful reliever with a funny first name that began with "T" who made it no secret that he was thrilled to be in the bigs. Because he had an obsession with the number 9, he not only wore uniform no. 99, but he also signed a contract for $1,999,999 per year. He once planned to play an entire season for nothing, but the trade and injuries changed a lot for him. When he and Cook were traded for Chen, I knew something was wrong with the Mets in 2001, especially since they had been so lackluster up until then. As any 1986 fan will tell, once the character guys go, it's all downhill.

I vaguely remember Turk praising Bobby Valentine as a manager...

I was sorry to see Turk struggle so mightily in Philadelphia (where the Mets traded Tug, ironically enough), not because I wanted the Phillies to win, but because I hated to see Turk booed by the merciless Philly not-so-phaithful. I was at Turk's game as a Phillie, at Shea, when he gave up a walk-off home run to Robin Ventura. My stomach hurt a little even as I was cheering. I wish he had been able to finish his career at Shea, regardless of how he performed from 2001 on. One of my all-time favorite Mets.

June 3, 2005
Jonathan, as I recall, Turk received his nickname at age 3 or so. Not much changed over the years. He was hurling himself out of the window of his house in western Massachusetts into a snowbank, and his grandfather said, "that was something only a Turk would do."

The story I remember was when Turk was hunting for mountain lions out in Colorado and got trapped with his buddy out in a snowstorm. He loved it, saying afterward, "I'm a master camper."

First Met to pitch in 80 games in a season. I thought he was way more up than down. Fearless in tight spots...often got the better of Mark McGwire when McGwire was at his peak.

September 27, 2005
The man with the rubber arm. It seemed like every time the Mets needed a big out in September 1998, when the Mets were in the WC chase, Turk was the man.

He is the reason Franco was named captain.

Sandy Huff
November 29, 2005
Turk was a gentleman in Chicago when he was playing for the Cubs. During a game they were playing at Wrigley Field, the summer of 1996, he watched our daughter, Kristin, and after the game, he sent his 'aunt' from Rockford, IL to come and get her. We had such a nice time after the game, as he was signing autographs, and at the same time talking and trying to get to know Kristin. He gave her his phone number, and the following week, he called her from Atlanta, where they were playing. He left a message on our answering machine, which we still have! Turk was such a gentleman; he always recognized our family years after when we attended the Cub convention at the Chicago Hilton. Needless to say, nothing developed between him and our daughter, but we have such tales to tell, and Turk, you are such a gentleman! The Huff family from Monmouth, IL still loves you! We will always love you for what you contributed to the Cubs and to our family! THANKS!

Love you always, and best of luck to you and yours, Sandy Huff Monmouth, IL.

June 28, 2006
I remember being at a game in early 1999, He didn't start off so well then I remember people getting really excited when he started slamming the rosin bag down. We'd never had anybody that I could remember doing that before. His pitching improved and the crowd spontaneously chanted "TURK! TURK! TURK!" I started laughing and my wife turned to me and said "The people love him". He seemed to take off after that and became the most heavily used relief pitcher that I've ever seen.

February 29, 2008
Anybody else remember a game where Turk successfully used the little league fake to first throw to third pickoff move TWICE IN AN INNING. That move NEVER works. Anyone else remember that, or am I insane?

March 27, 2008
Jon, You are not insane, I remember it too. That play never works and I bet he pulled it off at least five times with the Mets!

April 20, 2009
After Pelf pulled that fake to third pickoff move last week, I thought I'd come to Turk's page to see if anyone knew the (date of the) game mentioned above -- when he did it twice in one inning.


April 24, 2009
I believe the game in which Turk pulled off his fake- to-third pickoff twice in one inning was May 16, 2000, in the 11th inning at Shea. First I searched for a reference on when he picked off two in an inning, and then I looked on Retrosheet. The circumstances definitely fit. Unfortunately, Turk had previously given up a pinch homer to Bubba Carpenter, and the Mets couldn't score in the bottom of the inning. So he lost.

August 18, 2011
Turk was the man during his time here. That trade in 97 may not have looked good initially, as the Mets had given up a great leadoff hitting center fielder in Johnson and a dependable innings eater in Mark Clark, but Turk turned out to be the key guy in that deal. While Mel Rojas became an absolute bust and was gone after 98, Turk became arguably the best middle reliever the Mets have ever had.

He had his crazy superstitions but they were all amusing to the fans. He would jump over the foul line the same way the infamous Ollie later did. He'd throw his glove in the stands if he pitched a bad inning or two. He always had an interesting necklace of teeth from various animals, and his hunting hobby would definitely explain that. He used the rosin bag more than any pitcher I've ever seen.

But Turk was a gamer. He got outs, became one of the more vocal guys in the clubhouse and while Franco and Benitez got all the late inning credit, the tandem of Turk and Dennis Cook played a crucial role in the Mets success in 99 and 2000.

I hope the Mets can have another dominant middle reliever just like him sometime soon. We certainly could've used him during the 2008 collapse. He would've easily saved the joke of a bullpen that was around. All in all, Turk exceeded all original expectations and will always be one of the Mets' best relievers ever.

Dan the Man
October 19, 2011
My everlasting memory of Turk came either during the 1st or 2nd game of the 2000 season when the Mets opened up in Japan. Before I went to school that morning I listened to Gary Cohen and Bob Murphy on WFAN. They were talking about how quiet the fans were because they had no real rooting interest in the game.

All of a sudden Turk throws a pitch outside and he screams out a certain four letter f-word that came in loud and clear over the airwaves because the stadium was so quiet!

It was just a hilarious moment and even Gary Cohen laughed as he tried to explain how you could hear Turk's colorful language because of how quiet it was!

Seriously though Turk was quite the character and is missed even more by me now just because of how PC/corporately influenced baseball has become.

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