25 July 2012

steady eddie murray gets a proper send off

[this is the thirty-ninth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwin, and joe ferguson.]

eddie murray was one of my favorite non-dodgers.  he burst on to the big league scene at the same time i was starting to collect cards, so i took a great interest in following his career as it progressed in baltimore.  then, in december of 1988, i heard that the dodgers had acquired steady eddie in a trade.  hearing that news made me forget about the loss of steve sax, and besides, the dodgers were the world champs so who was i to complain about anything.  i also remember being surprised at some of the comments that murray made after the trade was confirmed.  he said something along the lines of 'i thought this was going to happen a few years ago' which was news to me.  there was no mlbtraderumors back then to get this type of gossip.  imagine if the dodgers had had murray at first in 1985.  1986 and 1987 might have been different, too.  ah, what might have been...

murray's first season with the dodgers was disappointing, but then again, so was the entire team.  his .247 batting average was (by 30 points) the lowest of his career.  still, he drove in 88 runs and hit 20 homers and played in 160 games.  the dodgers even stuck him over at third base a couple of times - the first time murray had ever played the hot corner in the big leagues.  t's also worth noting that murray's first home run as a dodger was a 9th inning grand slam that broke a tie against the giants.

here's murray's 1990 leaf card, which at one time was one of my 'nefarious 9'
1990 was a great year for murray, as he led the major leagues with a .330 batting average.  of course, that was also the year in which he didn't lead the national league in batting thanks to willie mcgee being traded from the cardinals to the a's.  murray finished fifth in the league mvp voting thanks to 96 runs scored, 95 runs driven in, 26 homers and that high batting average.

in 1991, murray's average dropped to .260, although he still drove in 96 runs and made the all-star team for the first time as a dodger and the last time of his career.  i was always kind of perplexed that topps gave murray an all-star card in 1991 even though he wasn't on the team in 1990.  but, after what they did to steve garvey in 1985 and 1986, i wasn't going to look a bonus dodger card in the mouth.

after the season, the dodgers were only interested in keeping murray with a one-year deal, so he took two years from the mets and headed east as his 1992 o-pee-chee card would indicate
murray left the dodgers with 398 career home runs, so the met fans got to see him join the 400 home run club, or so this 1992 upper deck card would have you believe.
actually, murray hit his 400th on the road in atlanta, and from the left side of the plate.  it was one of only 16 long balls that murray hit that year, the lowest total of his career to date.  he did hit a career high 37 doubles and drive in 93 runs, though, so he was still productive.  the following year, he would drive in 100 runs for the last time in his career.

after the season, murray moved on to cleveland where he hit .323 in 1995 over 113 games, and collected his 3000th career hit along the way.  during the 1996 season, the tribe sent murray back to baltimore, and he swatted his 500th career home run as an oriole.

i figured murray would retire with his 501 home runs after the season ended, but instead, he signed with the anaheim angels.  he hit three more home runs during his stint there which lasted into august.  after being released by team disney, murray was picked up by the dodgers who were just a couple of games out of first in the nl west.  murray was used exclusively as a pinch hitter, and was 2 for 7 with 2 walks and 3 rbi in his final big league appearances.

topps didn't give him a card in 1998, but donruss did, in their preferred set.
upper deck also gave eddie his due - both in their flagship set and in the collector's choice set.  here's his  collector's choice 'final tribute'
on the back we get all of murray's stats, as a final tribute should provide.  we also get a photo of murray from his time in anaheim
i posted murray's 1998 upper deck flagship card in one of my early final tribute posts on this blog, and i wasn't too kind to upper deck because they had him with the angels.  i since learned that there was a second murray card in the 1998 set, one that did things right.
i'm still not sure why upper deck included an angels card for murray in the set, but i suppose the halo collectors out there appreciate it.  and, to further appease those fans, the photo on the back of murray's dodger card is from his anaheim days.  we also get his full career stats, just like a final tribute should provide.
there was no doubt where eddie murray was headed after his career, but leaf gave us this shiny card in 1998 just in case we weren't sure
murray made it into the hall in his first year of eligibility, although he (obviously) went in as an oriole.  that's ok - i'll take all the eddie murray as a dodger cards as i can get.

here's to you, eddie murray - one of my favorite dodger double dippers! 


beefman said...

Love that Donruss Card! I wonder how many cards of N.L. players have 'DH' as their position?


beefman said...

Love the Donruss Preferred card! I wonder how many cards there are of N.L. Players with the position depicted as 'DH'?


M. G. said...

It's so nice to hear how you Dodgers fans showed Eddie the same kind of love that we Os fans felt.