Eddie Murray

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Eddie Clarence Murray
(Steady Eddie)

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2003

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Biographical Information[edit]

"He's one of my buddies and one of the greatest of all time. I spent a lot of time with him . . . early in my career. . . Eddie's a fine man - a great one." - Frank Thomas

Eddie Murray is one of four players in history with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Rafael Palmeiro are the others. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 7, 2003 by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

His greatest moment came when he homered in the 2nd and 4th innings of the clinching Game 5 of the 1983 World Series as the Baltimore Orioles built a 4-0 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Seemingly snake-bitten for winning an award between his 1977 Rookie of the Year Award and his Hall of Fame induction in 2003, he finished second in the MVP balloting in 1982 and 1983 and received the most lifetime MVP votes of anyone who never won the award. Murray is one of five players to finish in the top 5 in MVP voting for five consecutive years (the full list consists of Stan Musial 1948-1952; Yogi Berra 1950-1956; Murray 1981-1985; Barry Bonds 1990-1994 & 2000-2004; and Albert Pujols 2001-2006).

Murray never officially won a batting title, but in a statistical quirk, did lead the Major Leagues in Batting Average in 1990, despite not even winning the National League batting crown that year. This was accomplished when Willie McGee was traded mid-season to the Oakland A's, while batting .335 with already enough plate appearances to qualify for the title. Although McGee's mark held up to lead the NL, his subpar performance with Oakland brought his overall season average considerably lower than Murray's .330 mark.

Murray was famous for his consistency during the early and middle parts of his career, hence his nickname Steady Eddie, hitting at least 25 home runs each year through 1985 and batting at least .280 each year through 1986. He was so consistent that from 1981 to 1984 his OPS+ was the same each year at 156.

Murray played more games at first base than anyone in major league history. What makes it even more remarkable is that as a rookie in 1977, he was relegated to being the designated hitter because veteran Lee May was entrenched at first base; he even played a few games at third base early in the 1978 season before manager Earl Weaver decided he was the Orioles' first baseman of the future. Murray was rarely out of the line-up, as from ages 21 through 40 he played in 150 or more games in all but one season unaffected by a work-stoppage (137 games in 1986). Cal Ripken, Jr. referred to Murray's work ethic in his speech on the occasion of his 2,131st consecutive game played. During his on-field speech, Ripken cited the influence of four individuals: his mother, his father, his wife, and Eddie Murray:

"... when I got to the big leagues, there was a man - Eddie Murray - who showed me how to play this game, day in and day out. I thank him for his example and for his friendship. I was lucky to have him as my teammate for the years we were together."

This respect by teammates contrasts with his reputation with the media, which was not very good during his playing career. Murray was a very private man who was reluctant to speak to the press after being burned by the media when he was a young player, and journalists resented his unwillingness to supply them with a quote or two.

Since retiring as a player, he has been a coach with the Baltimore Orioles (1998-2001), Cleveland Indians (2002-2005), and Los Angeles Dodgers (2006-2007). Murray was fired in June of 2007 and replaced by Bill Mueller.

Murray is the brother of former big leaguer Rich Murray as well as former minor leaguers Venice Murray, Charles Murray, and Leon Murray.

As of 2021, he was in the top 10 all-time in MLB in games, at bats, plate appearances, GIDP, and outs. His career rank in other batting major categories is impressive: 11th all-time in both total bases (5,397) and RBIs (1,917), 14th in hits (3,255). He also is one of the top switch-hitters in the history of the game, with Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose and Chipper Jones. In 2012, the Orioles erected a statue of him outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards, part of a series honoring the team's past greats. However, shortly thereafter, on August 17th, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that he had been charged with insider trading because of over $200,000 in illegal profits in the purchase of shares from Advanced Medical Optics in 2009, on the basis of insider information supplied by former teammate Doug DeCinces that the company was about to be purchased. Murray recognized the charges and agreed to pay a penalty in excess of $350,000 as a settlement.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 1977 AL Rookie of the Year Award
  • 1977 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 8-time All-Star (1978, 1981-1986 & 1991)
  • 3-time AL Gold Glove Winner (1982-1984)
  • 3-time Silver Slugger Award Winner (1983/AL, 1984/AL & 1990/NL)
  • AL Home Run Leader (1981)
  • AL RBI Leader (1981)
  • AL On-Base Percentage Leader (1984)
  • AL Bases on Balls Leader (1984)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 16 (1977-1985, 1987-1990, 1993, 1995 & 1996)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1980, 1982, 1983, 1985 & 1987)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 6 (1980, 1982-1985 & 1993)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1980, 1983 & 1985)
  • Won a World Series with the Baltimore Orioles in 1983
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2003

AL Rookie of the Year
1976 1977 1978
Mark Fidrych Eddie Murray Lou Whitaker

Records Held[edit]

  • Extra-base hits, switch hitter, career, 1,099
  • Grounded into double plays, switch hitter, career, 316
  • Sacrifice flies, career, 128 (stat not tallied before 1954)
  • Runs batted in, switch hitter, career, 1,917
  • Intentional walks, switch hitter, career, 222
  • Games, first baseman, career, 2,413
  • Assists, first baseman, career, 1,865

Further Reading[edit]

  • Chad Thornburg: "Murray gave pitchers fits for two decades: First baseman had 504 homers, 3,255 hits in 21-year career", mlb.com, February 1, 2018. [1]

Related Sites[edit]