BELLFLOWER — John Turner was the third employee hired by NC Dynamics, a machinery firm in Paramount.
That was 37 years ago. Now 183 people work there. It’s the type of business that let John leave at 2 p.m. and coach the Mayfair High freshman team, then come back to work at 6.
John’s son Justin was on that team, with the school just a few blocks away. Later, Justin started four years at Cal State Fullerton, even as a 120-pound freshman, and he passed through three organizations before the Dodgers signed him in 2014.
Now Turner hits walk-off homers in the playoffs, finishes second in the N.L. batting race, leads the Dodgers to 111 wins.
John and his wife Betsy will hold their usual anniversary dinner Monday night, their 35th, at Captain’s Jack in Sunset Beach.
The next night they will watch Justin play in the Dodgers’ first World Series since 1988.
Much has happened since, but Justin is still the kid who sat on the porch with glove, ball and bat, waiting for John.
Or the kid who sat in the living room with the new Mayfair coach and discussed practice plans for three hours. Justin did the talking. The coach took the notes.
Or the kid that sat in front of the TV and correctly predicted the hit-and-runs and the steals. “It was ridiculous,” said Jill, Justin’s sister. “How did he know that?”
Or the kid who won a summer game against a team organized by his cousins. On the way home Betsy asked him, “I was nervous when you came up.”
Justin replied, “Really? I like pressure. The pressure isn’t on me. it’s on the pitcher.”
GAME OF THEIR LIVES
It’s a baseball family. Jill works for the Legacy Group, which represents Justin. John celebrates his birthdays at spring training. Betsy celebrates hers at Opening Days.
They try to add two new major league parks every summer.
“And I’m J.T.,” John said. “I know they call him J.T., but he’s always been Red.”
So they understand the superstitions, and why Red wears his hair so and his beard so identifiably thick.
“I do wish he’d clean it up a little bit,” Betsy said.
“I don’t think the Dodgers are doing their job,” John said, with a familiar-looking grin. “They should be getting him a deal with Lucky Charms.”
LOST AND FOUND
And, as baseball people, they know they’re not in control.
You work and work and then hand off your life to inexorable fate.
They have learned that in easy and hard ways.
They were at the College World Series in 2003, the year before the…