Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thoughts for Good People

You've by now heard of the passing of James Brown and former President Gerald Ford. What you haven't heard about is the passing of a friend's sister. As I've come to find out, people can be quite private when it comes to getting a mention here on the blog. So I'll keep it simple and say that my friend Cathy's sister died on Christmas morning. Her sister's situation was similar to the Schiavo story in Florida a few years back in that she was in a coma - in this case, for eight years. I'm not aware of any nasty court battles or anything like that, but it was still a very difficult situation for the entire family. My condolences go to Cathy, her cousin Ralph (who I also know well), and their entire family. I hope I haven't said too much to upset or offend. I'm just putting it here as a point of honor. Cathy rarely spoke of the situation, but I know it pained her.

While you’re taking a moment to ponder that and perhaps extend a prayer or thoughts (whatever works for you), please do the same for one of the best people in all of sports. Bobby Murcer, a Yankee legend as an outfielder and broadcaster, will undergo brain tumor surgery today in Houston. Bill Madden in the New York Daily News has more here.

Murcer never lived up to the promise when he joined the Yankees in 1965. Thought to be “the next Mickey Mantle”, Bobby Ray still had a fine career, one that might have been even better if not for the trade that sent him to Giants in exchange for Bobby Bonds after the 1974 season. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times and he was as gracious off the field as he was on. Something people don’t know about him is that he was a legendary athlete in Oklahoma, and could have just as easily gone into football as a quarterback.

Following his retirement, he went into the broadcast booth, where he has become the latter-day Phil Rizzuto, though he has never been the broadcaster that The Scooter was. Still, I will admit a bias here, as I know many do not like Bobby as a broadcaster.

To me, he is still my all-time favorite athlete; one who I have collected cards, magazines and other memorabilia of. If you ever see me with my number two Yankees jersey on (I normally only wear it to games), it’s not for Derek Jeter. It’s for Bobby Murcer, who wore number two from 1979 until he retired in 1983.

Needless to say, I’m rooting for Bobby Ray Murcer today – one of the truly good (if not borderline great) Yankees, but a great guy.

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