Friday, July 6, 2012

1988 TOPPS EDDIE MURRAY RECORD BREAKER

A PITCHER'S WORST NIGHTMARE.
BRING BACK THE GAME-WINNING RBI STAT.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • This is my 100th post. Does that qualify for some sort of blogosphere award?
  • One clever card, this Eddie Murray, the standout of the seven-card Record Breakers subset that I would rank as Topps' best ever.

THE BACK PAGE

  • Murray's feat was equaled by Astros third baseman Ken Caminiti in '95 and Angels reserve outfielder Jeff DaVanon in '03. I mention Caminiti only because I believe he was truly remorseful for the damage he did to himself and the game.

PHOTO PLAY

  • Topps was hardly creative during this era, but this card kicks rear, times two. Murray's expression is awesome, just how I remember him in the batter's box.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Steady Eddie, who hit 362 homers left-handed and 142 right-handed, was one of my favorite players and combined with Cal Ripken to become a ferocious twosome in the '80s.
  • While he won the Rookie of the Year in '77 after hitting .283 with 27 homers and 88 RBI, Murray never took home any other hardware other than three Gold Gloves at first base. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting eight times, including runner-up in '82 to Robin Yount and '83 to Ripken.
  • His 19 grand slams rank second all-time behind Lou Gehrig (23), not counting Steroid Era ass-clowns. 
  • His 1,917 RBI are most among switch-hitters.
  • One of only three non-SEACs to have 500-plus HRs and 3,000-plus hits (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays are the others).
  • Traded for a bucket of balls, a rake, a jug of pesticide and players to be named* to the Dodgers in December '88.
  • In '90, in a statistical oddity, Murray finished with the NL's best batting average but did not win the title after hitting .330. Willie McGee was credited with the title after being traded from the Cardinals to the A's, freezing his average at .335. With the A's, he hit only .274, finishing with a true average of .324.
  • Murray also played for the Mets, Angels and Indians, for whom he helped get to the '95 World Series.
  • My favorite Murray memory occurred while watching on TV Game 5 of the '83 World Series. He hit two homers, the last a two-run shot blasted 425 feet off the right-field scoreboard at Veterans Stadium. The scoreboard at the time was displaying the AL RBI leaders for '83, and the ball hit above the ''M'' in Murray. That was Roy Hobbsian. That was the Orioles' last World Series victory.

*Juan Bell, Brian Holton and Ken Howell

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