Meet George Kissell Award winner Steve Turco

The winner of the top player development award in the St. Louis Cardinals system speaks about coaching great Geroge Kissell, the recognition, his career and his current job managing the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

Steve Turco has been in the St. Louis Cardinals system long enough - starting in 1979 - to treasure working with coaching legend George Kissell first-hand. As a player, the infielder never advanced beyond Double-A, moving into coaching in 1985.

In the 1990's, Turco managed eight years, including seven at Johnson City. Unlike many in his profession, the New York native and Florida resident decided he wanted to remain at the lower levels of the game with the youngsters.

During most of the following decade, Turco was a scout for the Cardinals before he was asked to get back in uniform to manage the then-new Gulf Coast League Cardinals club. His charges each summer include the youngest high school draftees and foreign players arriving in the US from the Dominican Republic academy for the first time.
Photo captions: Turco (far left) teaching his extended spring training "Red" hitters, coaching Cesar Valera at third base, telling Jonathan Cornelius of his promotion to Quad Cities, with GCL hitting coach Roger LaFrancois and Barry Weinberg.

In March, as spring training camp opened, the Cardinals organization honored the 53-year-old for his teaching with its highest minor league recognition, the George Kissell Award.

Recently, during extended spring training camp, I spoke with "Turk" about what Kissel and the Award means to him, his long coaching journey and his current responsibilities.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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