LADY AT THE BAT: Memories Of Bobby Murcer

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Memories Of Bobby Murcer

Baseball was still unknown to me in 1965 when Bobby Murcer first donned the Yankee pinstripes, and by the time I discovered the game, he'd been traded to the San Francisco Giants. So when he returned in 1979 I had no fond memories of him. But I remember how happy everyone was to see him back in a Yankee uniform, and I remember feeling jealous, because I hadn't been able to experience the good times that he'd given to Yankee fans in the past.

Those next few years, which proved to be the last of his career, were not terrible ones, but they certainly were not all-star caliber. Being a relatively new baseball fan, I was unimpressed. I didn't understand why he was so beloved. I didn't understand that he had earned that love back in those glory years of the late '60s and early '70s.

Then he retired and moved into the broadcast booth. To me, he seemed in over his head. He was a fish out of water. He'll never make it, I thought. I was alone in my thoughts, it seemed. Even in the broadcast booth, he was the Beloved Bobby Murcer.

Yesterday, after the YES Network announced his passing, Joe Girardi and several players talked about Bobby. The common thread running through all their thoughts about him was that he was always positive and always smiling. YES Network commentators echoed those sentiments and it was difficult for them to maintain their composure as they did so. YES played clips of his playing days and his days in the booth. I was particularly taken with a clip of what was probably his last Old Timers Day appearance. He played left field and wore a mic, sharing the experience with all the viewers. I smiled as I watched, because it was then that I finally began to understand. I could finally see what a great human being he was. I was no longer alone in my thoughts. He was, indeed, the Beloved Bobby Murcer.

The Lady

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