|Player:||Wilbert “PacMan” Turner|
|Years with Team:||38|
|How Connected with Team:||Recruited by Kevin Barrett at the Federal Building lobby in Spring 1985.|
Wilbert was born in 1953 and was raised in Marion, AL. Wilbert has always been a very good athlete having wrestled in high school and college. Wilbert came north in 1975 and settled in Cleveland, Ohio to begin a career with the Department of the Treasury. He and his late wife Thelia who passed away in 2012 raised two daughters (Crystal and Yolanda).
In the spring of 1985 Kevin Barrett had heard about a young man who was interested in Beep Baseball. He also worked in the Federal Building in Downtown Cleveland. Kevin was given a description to look out for a well-dressed sculpted athletic gentleman who would come down to the lobby to check his PO Box. Kevin introduced himself to Wilbert and he was most certainly interested in beepball and came to the next practice. This began a great athletic career in the sport but more importantly a development of a lifetime friendship.
It was immediately obvious to Marty Skutnik, Mike Berwald and Bill Kemmett that the Scrappers had quite a talented new teammate. That July, the Scrappers saw their first example of Wilbert’s ability and potential. During a game versus the Binghamton Broom Beepers in Ithaca, NY Wilbert made a spectacular defensive play in deep left field, dashing to his right at full speed and reaching down to grab the ball for an amazing putout! Both teams and any spectators as well as the officials cheered. Wilbert also showed that he was a very powerful hitter and along with the rest of the young Scrappers he kept improving each day.
Not only has Wilbert done his part as a player and captain he also has served in numerous leadership roles for the team including as team president since 2008. Wilbert also served on the NBBA Board of Directors. An avid bowler, Wilbert has many awards as a member and officer of the American Blind Bowlers Association (ABBA) including on the international level.
Always positive and confident, Wilbert Turner is always ready to help a new player or volunteer. He spends a great deal of time mentoring young individuals who are blind and visually impaired to realize and believe that they can succeed in life.
Stats and Honors
2023 Season Stats
- NBBA World Series 1994 at Ft. Lauderdale, FL Defensive All-Star 19 Putouts
- NBBA World Series 1995 at Denver, CO Defensive All-Star Co-MVP 5.38 Putouts tied with Larry Darnell Williams of Chicago Comets 25 Putouts
- NBBA Jim Quinn Award 2010
- 1987 Eastern Regional at Binghamton, NY
- 1988 Eastern Regional at Binghamton, NY
- 1990 Eastern Regional at Binghamton, NY
- 1999 Defense Ohio Invitational Columbus, OH
- 2003 Offense Viper Classic Columbus, OH
- 2005 Offense Bolingbrook, IL
World Series Stats
- Wilbert Turner and Adam Gilmore on WKYC
- Visually Impaired Cleveland Scrappers Take on Babes of 1916
- Another Look featuring: Wilbert Turner – National Beep Baseball Association
- Wilbert on the Eyes Free Sports Podcast
- Blind Man Spreads Hope and Positivity – Spectrum Local News
- Blind Bowlers Break Barriers and Throw Plenty of Strikes
Jim Quinn Nomination Letter 2010
May 16, 2008 by Kevin Barrett
To the Jim Quinn Committee,
This individual joined our team in 1985 and immediately had a positive impact on the organization. Possessing a powerful bat, good foot speed and solid range on defense he showed a lot of potential. In his first tournament experience this player showed a glimpse of what a great player he would become when this left fielder made a sensational running one handed putout against the Broome Beepers of Binghamton, NY in July of 1985 during an extra inning affair. This teammate has always provided a good example through his good work habits at every practice and also at every game. This player is always working hard to improve and set an example. For example, during batting practice with dead beeper baseballs, he will take the field and work on his defense. This teammate has been an NBBA World Series Co-MVP for defense as well as, having made other NBBA World Series Defensive teams. He also has many tournament all-star awards from the various weekend events our team has competed in over the years. His hard work shows how dedication pays off. This teammate is highly regarded as a role model both on and off of the field. This is especially true for those who are blind and visually impaired. His many accomplishments in life as an individual who has been blind all of his life are an inspiration and a lesson to us all to never say never. This teammate’s confidence is contagious because he never backs away from a challenge or task. His example of belief in oneself and the desire to work at a task is what makes this individual a leader. As our team secretary he has distinguished himself in numerous ways. For example, in conjunction with two other team leaders this gentleman co-founded our team’s community service program with an emphasis on youth. Our team conducts a variety of disability awareness programs with schools, other youth programs as well as, with adult groups. He has followed through on a very challenging fundraising idea which has raised a great deal of money for our team. Without his courage and conviction in setting up this fundraiser despite a great deal of reservations and doubts by others, this team may not have survived. Since 1997 this fundraising challenge has made it possible for our team to make every NBBA World Series since 1997 plus at least two more out of town events each year. This individual’s single handed determination as chairperson of this fundraiser has given our players the chance to play at least 20 true games of Beep Baseball every year since then. Our friend’s professionalism as secretary has aided our team in preparing the necessary paperwork with the government to become a full-fledged 501 © (3) non-profit organization. This also led to our team being accepted in the Local Federal United Way each year since 1996. This individual had a hand in helping write all of our necessary team documents including our Articles of Incorporation, By Laws and code of conduct. He was also instrumental in helping form our team’s board of directors which is an important aspect needed by non-profits. As secretary our friend has written many fundraising letters and has been a key spokesperson for the team in the community. Our teammate is a true advocate for those who are blind and visually impaired and he is dedicated to spreading the word about beep baseball and the NBBA because of how much this activity can help those who are visually impaired. Outside of Beep Baseball our friend is also a peer advisor for our local center for the blind’s job skills program. This Scrapper is a true mentor and role model for all. This is especially evident in regards to how this team member has taken many young teammates under his wing to show them the way both playing ball but, also in life. This member’s life and how he conducts himself is an inspiration to us all. His accomplishments demonstrate that no barrier should hold back those who are blind from leading full, productive and healthy lives. This now 20 plus year member of our team and the NBBA (where he served on the NBBA board) is the ultimate advocate for the blind. This person’s endless optimism has and always is uplifting to all of us and has guided this team through some very bleak times. Whether a tough loss at a tournament or after 12 long hours at our fundraiser this hero finds that silver lining and keeps everyone going.
I am very proud to nominate this person for the Jim Quinn Award. There is no doubt that this NBBA and team member is a living example of the Jim Quinn Legacy. The dedication and continuous optimism of the current president of our team makes me very proud to nominate President Wilbert Turner of the Cleveland Scrappers for the Jim Quinn Award.