This is a little bit of a departure for me on Eye Candy Friday. I know I’ve highlighted Yankees before, but they’re generally a good bit younger than Bobby Murcer, who was on the team in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. I don’t really even remember him as a player, because I’m too young; I became familiar with him when he started calling the games for the YES network. But Bobby Murcer hitting what would turn out to be a hard lineout was one of the nicest things that I got to see at the Yankees’ Old Timers’ Day on July 7th. Bobby was diagnosed with brain cancer around Christmastime last year, so it’s pretty outstanding that after the rounds of surgery, chemo and radiation, he was able to join in the festivities.
There were plenty of delights that afternoon. When we arrived, the retired players were taking their batting practice and chatting on the field:
Then John Sterling and Michael Kay came out to the field for the player introductions. The World Series champion team of 1977 was being honored (we got commemorative pins), so there were a good number of veterans of that team present: Nettles, Guidry, Dent, Blair, Rivers, etc., as well as the widows and family members of Elston Howard (first base coach), Catfish Hunter, Thurman Munson and Billy Martin (manager).
There were some first-timers there too. They included Ken Griffey Sr., and a few more recent retirees:
Paul O’Neill and Scot Brosius (on Paul’s right).
Once the introductions had concluded, we observed a moment of silence for members of the baseball and Yankee families who had passed away, sang along with Robert Merrill’s rendition of the National anthem, and then sat back to watch the Clippers and the Bombers play some baseball.
Bob Wolff and Keith Olbermann announced the game and interviewed the players between innings.
They played kind of fast and loose with the pitching–there were a lot of changes, and pitchers returned to the game every few batters. Ron Guidry got the game started, and to be perfectly honest, looked a lot better than a scary number of the guys the Yankees have been running out on the mound every five days (or for one excruciating inning every other day, Kyle Farnsworth):
Paulie didn’t look half-bad out in the batter’s box, either. The Bombers sort of overmatched the Clippers, but then a team that includes the likes of Paul O’Neill, Don Mattingly, and Reggie Jackson has Ron Guidry for a starter is pretty formidable.
Of course, when you have a bunch of guys from many different baseball eras, there’s always a bit of rust that needs to be shaken off. It wasn’t always the prettiest, but there are no errors in the Old Timers’ Day Game!
Straw actually escaped that.
Of all the teams in baseball, the Yankees are the only one who still have an Old Timers’ Day and game. I really wish that more teams still did it–it’s great to see many generations of a team “family” get together for one day. I think that it’s a lovely tradition and I was really thrilled that I got to see one of them before the true Yankee Stadium is taken down.