When Cal Ripken Jr. was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame a few weeks back, he thanked his teammate Eddie Murray ahead of a lot of others, and Murray, seated on the Cooperstown stage because he entered the Hall four years ago, merely gave a little nod. "Wow is he tough," I thought. Murray has never been fulsome; and when cameras are on, Murray goes sullen.
I’m an Orioles fan. Murray has always been an enigma. He wasn’t made for the media age. Incredibly consistent as a run-producer, he shut out the press, and got a negative reputation for it. Fans like me always wondered about racism. Murray was one of a dozen kids and grew up in Watts.
The other day on the Yankees broadcast, former Oriole Ken Singleton (one of my favorite announcers) offered an insight into Murray’s personality. He said that one day when the Orioles were playing the Angels and Nolan Ryan was pitching, Eddie Murray kept calling out to Ryan, "Throw it harder." Ryan was about the hardest thrower the game’s ever seen, and he hit a lot of batters. He looked over at the Orioles bench in anger. Singleton was so afraid Ryan would think he was saying it that he ran away from Murray in the dugout. Now that’s tough.