Wayne Terwilliger Dies at 95; Baseball Was His (Long) Life
He was a Rangers coach for five seasons in a second stint with the team in the 1980s, then a coach for the Twins’ manager Tom Kelly when he received the championship ring in 1987 and 1991, winning the World Series.
Tervilleer was mostly known to baseball fans, but he made a cameo appearance in popular culture.
Garrison Keylor described a radio broadcaster for the Minneapolis Millers in his novel, “Lake Wobgon Summer 1956” (2001), stating that the minor league team narrowly missed a home run, then telling the audience, “Now Wayne Terwilliger comes to the plate. “
“The crowd,” he said, “goes back to sleep.”
In her memoir “An American Childhood” (1987), Annie Dillard described how her mother became comfortable with the name Terwilliger when a radio broadcaster for a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Giants called “Terwilliger Bunts One.” In the ensuing years, his mother transformed that phrase into a personal joke.
“Testing a microphone, he repeated ‘Terwilliger bunts one,” Ms. Dillard wrote. “Testing a pen or a typewriter, he wrote.”
Terwilliger, a self-destructive type, rewrote the Keillor and Dillard vignettes in his 2006 memoir. Its title: “Terwilliger Bunts One.”
Willard van Terwilliger was born on 27 June 1925, In Clare, Michigan. A son of Ivan and Doris Terwiliger. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Charlotte, Michigan, where his father was a one-time owner. He served in World War II with the Marines on Siphon, Tinian and Ivo Jima, then played baseball for now at Western Michigan University and signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1948.
He made his Cubs debut in August 1949, then hit .242 in 1950 with 10 home runs and 13 stolen bases.
In June 1951 Terwilliger was traded to the Dodgers as part of a multiplayer deal. His short victory came a month later, when he got a game-winning pinch hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Ebetsets Field. He nurtured a long photo in which Jackie Robinson greeted him on the field.