On Feb. 6, 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of Justin Turner to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to Spring Training. He infamously was non-tendered by the New York Mets and became a free agent two months prior.
Turner made the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster as a utility player and eventually went on to earn a role as their everyday third baseman. That was cemented when L.A. traded Juan Uribe to the Atlanta Braves in May 2015.
Turner appeared in a career-high 151 games the following year and was named to the 2017 All-Star Game. He finished in the top 10 for National League MVP voting both seasons and has been a standout performer in the playoffs throughout his time with the Dodgers.
During the 2015 National League Division Series, Turner’s six doubles tied an MLB record for most in a single postseason series, and his 10 hits were the most ever by a Dodger player in a Division Series and the most by a Dodger in any postseason series since Steve Garvey’s 10 hits in the 1981 World Series.
In 2016, Turner went 1-for-4 in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series to set a Dodgers franchise record by reaching safely in 15 consecutive postseason games. Carl Furillo reached in 14 straight postseason games for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1953-56.
That offseason Turner signed a four-year contract in free agency to remain with the Dodgers.
Then in 2017, Turner had five RBI against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the NLDS, tying with Davey Lopes (1978 World Series) and Pedro Guerrero (1981 World Series) for the franchise postseason record of most in a single game.
Turner further cemented himself in Dodgers postseason lore that year with a walk-off home run in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series, which came on the anniversary of Kirk Gibson hitting a game-winning homer in the 1988 World Series.
Gibson, Turner and Max Muncy (2018 World Series) own the Dodgers’ only walk-off homers in the playoffs.
Also in 2017, Turner matched Duke Snider’s Dodgers all-time RBI record in the postseason with 26. Snider reached the mark in Game 6 of the 1959 World Series, which was his 36th and final playoff game.
Turner matched the production in his 27th postseason game with the Dodgers, and now has 35 career RBI in the playoffs.
“You can’t teach what he’s doing,” Clayton Kershaw said in 2017. “No mechanics or anything can teach the mindset and the competitiveness, the clutchness, whatever that is. It seems like every single night he’s in the right position to come up with a big hit.”
For as much as Turner has meant to the Dodgers on the field, he’s been equally, if not more, important off it. He and his wife Kourtney regularly give back to those in need by organizing various charitable events through their Justin Turner Foundation.
L.A. City Council has deemed Jan. 22 as Justin Turner Day throughout the city, and in March 2019, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles added Justin, Kourtney and the Justin Turner Foundation to their prestigious Spotlight Wall in recognition of the couple’s regular visits and philanthropic efforts.