Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sometimes You Win and You Still Lose

Bobby Murcer is dead.

I knew him as a voice, first and foremost. As a player, he occupied a strange ground in Yankee history. He was the best player on the team in the early seventies--a dubious distinction--then was traded for Bobby Bonds in '74 and missed the championship seasons of 1977 and '78. He returned in 1979, just weeks before the death of his best friend on the team, Thurman Munson. Munson's death provided the one game performance for which he's best remembered by Yankee fans, as the day of Munson's funeral the Yankees came back from Ohio to play the Orioles at Yankee Stadium, and Murcer led a comeback, knocking in all five of the Yankees' runs in a 5-4 victory.

Murcer made it to the playoffs with the Yankees in 1980 and '81, but by then he was more of a role player, and he only got 14 plate appearances in the two playoff series, with one hit, two walks, and no rings. When he retired in 1983, the organization quickly moved him to the Yankee broadcast booth, where he stayed for the most part until his health made it impossible to return. Murcer was diagnosed with brain cancer in late 2006, but was successfully treated and was back in the broadcast booth by the following Opening Day. We cheered Murcer's victory over cancer that day, but all triumphs over death are temporary. Sixteen months later, he's gone.

My condolences go out to his family, and to Yankee fans everywhere. We'll miss him very much.

No comments: