Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bobby Murcer Passes Away at 62

This isn't about baseball, or even sports; this is about life.

Bobby Murcer was an important part of my youth, and he passed away today at age 62.


I had a post all set for today. It was full of the usual stupidity that has made me a blogging legend in my own mind. But, I was watching the game of the week on Fox, and the news flashed about Bobby.

It's funny, my Aunt died two weeks ago, and I don't remember shedding many tears. Not that she wasn't a good person whom I loved, but I don't know why it didn't bother me that much.

But Bobby Murcer, hell, I'm typing this through tears.

I can only guess I'm crying because we are formed by that which we know when we are young. And I was a Yankee fan from an early age.

Growing up in Central New Jersey, we had 2 real choices, Yankees or Mets. Sure, some holdovers were Dodger and Giants fans because of family loyalty, but those teams fled for the west coast before I was out of diapers.

(ed. note: eventually, author wound up back in diapers, and is only a few years away from being in them again)

I rooted for the guys from the Bronx. The guys who were as dependable as US Steel, seemingly winning the championship every year.

But during my formative years, the Yankees stunk. Mantle was playing out the string on two gimpy legs. Everyone else was gone.

Then, along came Bobby Murcer, tagged as the "Next Mantle." For those of you unfamiliar with baseball, Mantle was THE MAN in baseball from 1950 until the early 60's. And Bobby, from the same state of Oklahoma, signed by the same scout, was "The Next Big Thing."

Talk about pressure. And, to make matters worse, he was put in Mantle's same position, centerfield for the Yankees. I'd love to say he responded well, and led the team to a few championships. But that's not how the story went.

The Yankees never finished higher than second, even finishing last once. Murcer was the one shining star on a team of mediocre ballplayers. He was every kid's hero.

Bobby bounced around a bit, and wound up back in NY, eventually playing on a pennant winning team. But he never did get to taste the champagne reserved for championships. One of the greatest things he ever did, and for which many Yankee fans remember him, was homer in the game following the death of his friend, the Yankee captain, Thurman Munson.

Bobby ended his career and became an announcer for the Yankees. He was knowledgeable and always known as a gentleman.

He'll be missed by fans, friends, and family.

Bobby Murcer passed away today, and I just feel like a little piece of me has died, too.



Kelly Ann said...

That's terribly sad, I don't know who it is, but the passion you feel for the loss is touching.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post about a sad topic that made me also pause and reflect today. Even though I have been a diehard Red Sox fan for over 40 years, Murcer was one of the classiest Yanks of all. He will be missed.


P.S. Original said...

It's hard to lose your heroes, thanks for sharing what he meant to you.

coolingstar9 said...

Hi, I feel sad for you as he was you fan at your youngest age.
Keep on moving, have a wonderful life.
Best wishes from coolingstar9
Hope you can be my friend.

shyne said...

R.I.P Bobby Murcer.
You will be missed.

Da Old Man said...

@ Everyone: It's just amazing how when someone we didn't know, oher than through TV or another medium, can have such an effect on us.

Anonymous said...

:-( This is the first time I heard of Bobby Murcer, but I am sorry to hear about his death and the effect it has on you.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame, I'm a Mets fan, but I sure knew who Bobby was. A legend and a great one too.

Anonymous said...

To be honest I do not follow baseball and the passing of this player makes no impact on me at a personal level. However, you are my blogging friend and it has personally effected you so please accept my condolences and my compliment on the nice tribute that you have created.

Da Old Man said...

@ Shadow, Dani, and TT: Thanks. In the last few weeks, 3 of the icons of my childhood died. It just makes one realize how brief our time here is, how quickly time passes.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

A very nice tribute.
Thank you for that.

Unknown said...

I am sure many will miss him. It is sad and yet, if you lived a life that leaves a mark on so many, you have lived a blessed life indeed.
You gave him an excellent tribute, I am sure that he is smiling in heaven.

Da Old Man said...

@ Nanny and Pamela: Thanks.

Buggie said...

Hey buddy, I was just able to write about him today on my blog. I only wished he could been part of the All-star festivities at Yankee stadium this year.

Da Old Man said...

@ Tommy: True. I seem to recall hearing him say that he had been looking forward to it.

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