Tuesday, May 10, 2011
#30 Eddie Murray
Card thoughts: An in-game shot. I believe that Murray is on first and is watching a play in the outfield. But the expression on Murray's face is how I remember him, stern, but not menacing. Just determined.
The player: "Steady Eddie" was one of my favorite eighties players. I generally valued players with high run or RBI totals, and Murray never disappointed in these categories. Murray broke in with a bang, winning rookie of the year in 1977. In the next 10 years he was in the top 10 in MVP balloting 6 times, was an all-star 7 times, and won the gold glove 3 times. He also drove in 100+ runs in 1980 and from 1982-1985. He would have had 6 straight years of 100+ RBIs if not for the strike shortened 1981 season (he led the league in HRs and RBIs that year). These prime years of Eddie Murray's career coincided with the Orioles being a perennial contender in the American League East. He hit well in the division series, and in the World Series the Orioles won in 1983 he hit 2 HRs, drove in 3 and scored 3 runs.
After the year shown on this card Murray would drive in 100+ runs only one more time, in 1993 with the Mets. He was still a valuable player for several contending teams including the Dodgers from 1989-1991 (drove in at least 80 runs every year) and the Mets in 1992 and 1993 (90+ RBIs each year). He became a part-time player in his 40s with the Angels, Dodgers (again) and Orioles (again) ending his career in 1997 after 21 years in the majors. He became a coach with the Orioles, Indians, and Dodgers from 1998-2007 after his career was over.
Murray ended his career with 3,026 games played (6th all time) 3,255 hits (12th all time), 504 home runs (25th all time), 1,917 runs batted in (9th all time), and 5,397 total bases (9th all time). To show how clutch he was, he has the most career sacrifice flies EVER in baseball history with 128. He was elected to the hall of fame in 2003.
Rear guard: Topps must have had a lot of confidence in Murray's future career trajectory: They cite his "first" nine RBI game. Those nine RBIs came in a 17-3 blowout against the (then) California Angels. Murray hit 3 HRs in that game (one a grand slam off of Alan Fowlkes) and drove in Cal Ripken 3 times; Lee Lacy twice, Rick Dempsey once, and himself three times.