From the AP -
Former New York Yankees star Bobby Murcer was set to have surgery Thursday to remove a brain tumor, the Daily News reported.
The 60-year-old Murcer, now a Yankees broadcaster, was scheduled to undergo surgery in Houston. He had been having headaches and feeling a loss of energy lately, and the tumor was discovered following an MRI on Christmas Eve, the newspaper reported Thursday.
“I’m feeling OK and we’re just going to have to see what this surgery will bring,” Murcer told the Daily News by phone Wednesday night. “I’m hopeful that everything will turn out OK and I’m thankful to have so many friends who are rooting for me.”
Murcer was to be treated at the MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, one of the top cancer facilities in the nation, the newspaper said.
This is the type of news that I hate finding when I wake-up in the morning. In some ways, Bobby Murcer, in his retirement from active play, has become, to Yankees-baseball, what Tommy Lasorda is to the Dodgers and Ron Santo is to the Cubs. He’s a guy who loves the organization, is proud to be a part of its history, is not shy to promote that love and pride.
I featured Bobby Murcer, the player, in my book – The Baseball Same Game – and here is part of what I wrote:
Murcer was an icon in the New York sports scene in the 1970’s. During this time he was also one of the best batters in the game. For the decade of the ‘70’s, Bobby Murcer is among the top ten (of all major leaguers) in Games Played, At Bats, Hits, Runs Scored, Total Bases, Walks and Runs Batted In. During his career, Bobby was selected to the All-Star team five times.
Despite all this, when I think of Bobby Murcer I think of “the trade.” On October 22, 1974, the Yankees traded Murcer to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Bobby Bonds. It was reported as the first time that two players who made $100,000 a year were traded one-for-one for each other. In New York, Yankee fans were very upset that their favorite had been sent away. One of my best friends, who was 12-years-old at the time of the trade, has told me repeatedly of how he cried like a baby the day that he heard the news.
Furthermore, a few years ago, I heard another story that topped my friend’s reaction.
In 2002, a colleague at work came into my office for the first time and noticed some Yankee paraphernalia on my desk. He said to me “I hate the Yankees.” Not knowing what to say to such an out of the blue harsh comment, I asked “What team do you like?” He told me that he liked the New York Mets. To be polite, I asked why he liked the Mets. His answer was “When I was a kid, I loved the Yankees. But, when they traded away Bobby Murcer, they broke my heart. From that day, I decided that I would become a Mets fan and I’ve always hated the Yankees ever since.”
The Murcer-Bonds trade had that sort of impact on many Yankees fans. And, it probably was part of the reason why New York re-acquired Murcer less than five years after “the trade.”
Whether they remember Murcer as a great baseball player from the 1970′s or as a current positive spokesperson for the Yankees organization, there are probably countless Bobby Murcer fans in Yankeeland today. I am one of them – and I can add that I’ve heard from people who have met Murcer that he’s one of the nicest people that you can ever encounter.
Together, we need to marshal up our thoughts and hopes for positive results and sent them towards Bobby’s way today, and in the days that follow.