Today we lost three time all star catcher from the Philadelphia Phillies, Darren Daulton from brain cancer. He had been dealing with the decease for about five years. Even though I did not personally know Dutch as he was affectionately known in Philadelphia, his death hit home because it’s the same disease that took the life of our beloved Bobby Murcer.
Ironically, today also marked the day that we came back from Thurman Munson’s funeral and Bobby thru emotional and physical exhaustion some how found the strength to drive in all five runs to help beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4. To this day that game is known as the Thurman Munson game.
I will never forget that when Bobby hit the three run homer, when he got to the dugout and all the players mobbed him, when his eyes met Reggie’s, Bobby said, ‘Can you believe I hit a Reggie shot.’ That was very nice of Bobby. Very humbling. I know Reggie appreciated it.
I will never forget how Lou Piniella waited for things to settle down after the home-run so that he could go over to Bobby and give him a hug and tell Bobby that he loved him and Bobby told him that he loved him to. I will never forget how red Lou’s eyes were from crying.
Today, I called Todd Murcer, Bobby’s son. I asked him if he remembered what today was and he said yes I do. I have always been very close to Todd because to know him is to love him. It’s no coincidence that his parents are Bobby and Kaye Murcer. Two of the greatest people you could ever be fortunate enough to know. Todds sister Tori is wonderful also and pretty damn cute. Just like mom.
Today, I got to interview Jackson Murcer. No he is not named after Reggie. Jackson has the Murcer eyes and that Oklahoma twang to his voice and as all Murcer’s are, very good looking. He is 13 years old and knows the game of baseball. He knows that his Grandfather was a very special Yankee but more importantly he knows that he was a very special man. I told Jackson that when his dad was his age and I was the Yankee batboy we were running buddies.
Mickey Mantle was my hero growing up and when the Mick retired naturally Bobby became my hero. When I became a Yankee batboy and got to know these guys they became big brothers. Bobby, Thurman, Reggie, Bucky, Willie. They were my big brothers and I loved them all.
Someone once said that you should never know your heroes because they might disappoint you. Well these guys never did.
I use to talk to Bobby a lot especially when he got sick. Two days before Bobby died I missed a call from him. It went to my answering machine. I was so disappointed that I wasn’t home to receive it because he was in the hospital and to reach him was impossible. The message was almost as if he was saying goodbye. He said that he knew that Todd and me talk a lot. He said don’t ever change that. He thanked me for a song that my friend,Joey Gian wrote and sang for him on a cassette. He said that the message to from the song was great. He said see you pal and that was it. Two day later Todd called me and told me that Bobby was gone.
I asked Jackson Murcer if he ever watches old games of his Grandfather and he told me yes he does. He also told me that he catches himself rooting for Bobby as if the game is happening now.
I may be poor in wealth but am a billionaire in the love that I received from Bobby,Thurman,the Boss ,Billy Catfish and continue to receive from their wonderful families and the Yankee family.
As Chico Escuella (played by Garret Morris) from Saturday Night live Fame once said. Baseball has been very, very good to me.
As I was putting this story to bed I received news that former all star Don Baylor had just died of cancer. Don was 67 years old and among the teams he played for one of them included the Yankees. Don was a a terrific hitter who usually was the designated hitter where ever he played. He was a leader and he was a great guy. He will be missed.
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