On June 7, 1998, the Baltimore Orioles celebrated one of its Hall of Famers with a number-retirement ceremony.
Unlike other teams in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles take number retirement seriously. The players who are commemorated in Camden Yards are generational talent who continue to inspire players today.
On this day 22 years ago, the Orioles and their fans celebrated Eddie Murray and placed his number alongside the five other men who represent what the Orioles stand for. Appropriately, Murray’s #33 also sits next to Jackie Robinson’s #42, which is the only number retired in the entire MLB.
Along with his retired number hanging in left field, Murray’s #33 is also represented in the big number statues near Babe’s Dream. He also has a statue inside the park behind center field. His statue was unveiled in August 2012.
Murray played in the MLB for 21 years. The Orioles drafted him in the third round in 1973, right out of high school. He never had a cup of coffee, but went right to everyday play in 1977 where he played 160 games at DH, first, and left-field. He earned the Rookie of Year honors that season.
He continued to build accolades throughout his 13 years in Baltimore, including seven All-Star Games, three Gold Glove Awards, and two Silver Sluggers. He earned a few more accolades when he played for the Dodgers. He moved around the league in his last few season, ending his career in Los Angeles with both the Dodgers and the Angels.
In the statue ceremony, Eduardo A .Encina with The Baltimore Sun shared Cal Ripken Jr’s words about Steady Eddie:
“Eddie was the guy I really looked to when I was first called up. He was a great teammate and is a great friend. Seeing Eddie in the lineup at that No. 4 spot gave us all a lot of confidence and he always seemed to come through when we needed him. Eddie defined what it means to lead by example and I will always remember him as the leader of our teams and one of the most clutch hitters I have ever been around.”
Interestingly, on June 6, 1992, Murray set a record that he continues to hold to this day. He was on the Mets that season. In a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he earned a pair of RBI and broke Mickey Mantle’s record of RBI hit by switch-hitter. In this game, he earned one RBI in a sac fly in the first. His second was a line-drive single in the sixth. He scored Vince Coleman both times.
Murray has a firm grip on his RBI record with 1,917 RBI. Behind him are Chipper Jones with 1,623, Carlos Beltran with 1,536, and Mickey Mantle with 1,510.
In other switch-hitting records, Murray is second behind Pete Rose in hits with 3,255 to Rose’s 4,256. He’s also in second behind Mantle with home runs. Mantle has 536, and Murray has 504.
He hit his 500th home run while wearing an O’s uniform on September 6, 1996. Enjoy the video, courtesy of MLB:
Murray was one of the best hitters to ever swing the bat. He’s near or at the top of most hitting categories as a switch hitter, and he’s in the top 30 in several categories when compared to all hitters. He leads the league in defensive games at first base. He ranks 13th in total hits, and 11th in total RBI behind players like Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Albert Pujols, and Lou Gehrig.
Orioles fans who got to watch Murray were fortunate. Player like him don’t come around often, and they certainly make an impact. He is a player for the ages.