I was born in February of 1979, which means that I have been alive for two of the Orioles' World Series appearances, one win and one loss. Of course, I don't remember either. I don't remember much from the 1980s, at least not until that awful terrible season of 1988. Before that there are no specific games, just fuzzy feelings and flashes of climbing the steps in the upper deck at Memorial Stadium, sitting next to my parents at a game, and so on. But if there were one player who played for the Orioles in the 1980s that I wish I had seen more in person, it's Eddie Murray. He and Cal Ripken were the stalwarts of the 1980s teams, but because Ripken was with the team for so much longer after that I had plenty of chances to see his highlights and understand his awesomeness. Murray is much more of a mystery.
I can read the stats like anyone else. From 1977-1988 with the Orioles, Murray hit .295/.371/.500. That's an OPS+ of 141. He hit 351 doubles, 333 homers, and had 857 walks. He was awesome. He was Rookie of the Year, a seven-time all star, and was awarded three Gold Gloves at first base (and the modern day defensive stats like the ones listed on FanGraphs like him too). FanGraphs considers 6+ WAR to be an MVP-like season; Murray did that twice (1983-84). 5-6 WAR is a superstar. Murray did that twice for the Orioles. 4-5 is an All-Star and Murray racked up five of those.
Knowing those stats, but not knowing what it was like to actually see him play is a real bummer. Sure, I can say the same about Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson and any number of great former Orioles, but Murray is the only one I can remember being an Oriole so it feels different.
I know a lot of you do remember Murray and all of his awesomeness. I'd love to hear some of your specific memories in the comments.
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