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July 19, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Bobby Murcer gets "called up"

Up to that great green ball field in the sky, that is. Former Yankee outfielder Bobby Murcer died of cancer last Sunday at the age of only 62. His career with the Bronx Bombers (and two other clubs) marked the transition between the fading glory of the mid-1960s and the renewed hope of the mid-1970s. He was a team mate of Mickey Mantle as well as Don Mattingly. His first game with the Yankees was in 1965, at age 18, but he spent two years in the Army after that. I remember when he and Mel Stottlemyer were supposed to keep the Yankee Legacy going, but neither of them ended up savoring the three trips to the World Series in the late 1970s. Perhaps at the behest of impatient new owner George Steinbrenner, Murcer was traded to the Giants (for Bobby Bonds!) in 1974, and didn't return to the Yankees until 1979. That was the year that Yankee catcher Thurman Munson died in a tragic plane crash, and Murcer delivered the eulogy. Those two guys were almost like soul mates, only one year apart and with remarkably similar lifetime stats. Murcer was part of the pennant-winning Yankees team in 1981 (the strike-shortened year), but he wasn't playing on a full-time basis any more by then. He ended his career in 1983 with a total of 252 home runs, 1,043 RBIs, and a .277 batting average. He made the All-Star team five years in a row, 1971-1975. He was a solid, reliable player for many years, but he was also a favorite with fans and with other players, a genuine nice guy and great athlete. After retiring, he was a broadcast announcer for the Yankees. Read the obituary in the Washington Post.

"The Vet" update

Veterans Stadium I've made some corrections and enhancements to the diagrams and text of Veterans Stadium, the behemoth that defined "nosebleed level." The biggest change is that the upper deck is closer to the field, and the diamond is situated about 15 feet further toward center field than I had previously estimated. I've also refined the profile portion of the diagram that shows the concourse levels, of which there were several in that case.

The mail bag

As usual, lots of catching up to do. I mentioned to Bruce Orser that I'm revising the Dodger Stadium diagrams, and he sent me an article which states that Walter O'Malley originally wanted to put a dome on top of Dodger Stadium. How utterly stupid! That article included a very useful diagram of the stadium's profile while it was still in the planning stages, with the second deck significantly bigger than it eventually turned out to be. All very interesting...

Next, Mike Zurawski tells me that Wrigley Field will host an outdoor hockey game between the Chicago Black Hawks and the Detroit Red Wings; the NHL's second "Winter Classic" outdoor match. Earlier such matches were held in Buffalo (2007) and Edmonton (2003). See the Toronto Globe and Mail. In addition, the lawsuit by Norman Braman against the Florida Marlins has started, and the outcome will have a huge impact on whether a new ballpark gets built in Miami. See Miami Herald. Mike also noticed from Ballpark Digest that the Milwaukee Brewers have installed luxury recliner seats in center field at Miller Park, catering to hard-core couch potatoes.

Finally, Brandon Henderson reminded me that the renovations at Kaufmann Stadium are more extensive than I had thought, with party suites on the slope beyond left field and a widened concourse behind the grandstand. The left field bullpen has already been reoriented, and now is parallel to the fence. See the Royals' Web site. All this will, of course, necessitate yet another diagram revision. Sigh... Brandon also brought to my attention the news that Tropicana Field will be used for the "St. Petersburg Bowl" (NCAA football) this coming winter. "The Trop" has already been used for major hockey and basketball events, and I can't think of any other stadium that has been hosted all four major sports.

I'll get to more news items very soon...

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 19 Jul 2008, 3: 37 PM

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