Remembering a Yankees legend: Bobby Murcer

July 28, 2008
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Some of the greatest athletes have dawned the pinstripes as their own, but not many will be remembered forever in the eyes of the fans. For it is the fans who decide legends. There is legend though has put his heart and soul into the Yankees organization for over 40 years and the fans have taken noticed. Bobby Murcer was his name and he passed away a few weeks ago.

Bobby Murcer was born in 1946 in Oklahoma. He was a highly viewed prospect in high school as a baseball shortstop. The two main teams that were interested in Bobby were the Dodgers and Yankees. Though the Yankees offered him $10,000 less then what the Dodgers offered him, Bobby thought he would make it up in World Series bonuses. He just wanted to play for the Yankees because of one person, Mickey Mantle. Mantle was born in Oklahoma just like Bobby and once he got to New York, everyone was starting to compare him to “The Mick” himself.

As he grew on the field, his success would continue to grow as well. After he returned from the military, Bobby hit at least 20 home runs for four straight years, including a 30 home run season. He was the shining star on a dismal Yankees team in the early 1970’s. Through all the losing, Bobby continued to enjoy playing baseball that is until the Yankees made an interesting move by trading Bobby to the San Francisco Giants. He would have limited success for the Giants and the Cubs when he was traded to them from the Giants. Bobby was truly unhappy in baseball until 1979 when the Cubs traded him back to the Yankees.

Bobby was so happy to return to the Bronx, but that happiness wouldn’t last because his best friend and Yankees’ captain Thurman Munson died in a plane crash. Bobby would make a speech at Thurman’s funeral and then go play for the Yankees that night. This game though would truly be the finest moment in Murcer’s career because he drove in all five runs for the Yankees, including the game winning single in the ninth inning as the Yankees beat the Orioles 5-4.

Bobby would play in one World Series as a Yankee in 1981, but the Yankees would lose that series four games to two. This was the tail end of Bobby’s career because in 1983, he would be asked to go to the broadcast booth and be cut off the roster. He was cut off to make room for a young first baseman named Don Mattingly. Murcer would spend 25 years in the booth until his death a few weeks ago.

When Bobby’s brother died, Bobby started a foundation to fight cancer, not realizing that it would be cancer that claimed his own life. Murcer was diagnosed with a brain tumor in December of 2006. He would go through many battles and things seemed ok for awhile. He even returned to the broadcast booth for one game. When he did, all the fans in the stadium went into a frenzy. There was non-stop clapping and joy for the former Yankees legend. That seemed to be one of the greatest moments in the life of Bobby Murcer.

Bobby’s career was not as flashy as Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantles. When you see an athlete, you should look at his heart more then his stats. Bobby would be in the Hall of Fame right now if they had a heart award in baseball. That’s just how special an athlete and a person he was.





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