The youngest owner in the major leagues was watching his team in a preseason game last month when Atlanta Braves Pitcher Adrian Devine balked with two men on. As the runners casually advanced, R.E. ("Ted") Turner III, 37, jumped to his feet. "Where are those guys going?" he demanded. "The pitcher balked," someone explained. Turner sat down. Then, after a moment of silence, he asked: "What the hell is a balk?"

Andy Messersmith's new employer may have something to learn about baseball, but he is already an expert on winning. After inheriting his father's outdoor billboard agency when he was 24, Turner...

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