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MURCER, BOBBY RAY (1946- )

Bobby Ray Murcer was born in Oklahoma City on May 20, 1946. As a boy, he spent most of his spare time watching the Oklahoma City Indians play ball at Texas League Park. Attending Oklahoma City Southeast High School, he played shortstop on the school's team and was also an All-State quarterback. In 1965 he was hired by the Yankees, but after an unsuccessful two years with the team he quit and went into the U.S. Army. In 1969 he came back into major league baseball. The young Oklahoman was expected to replace Mickey Mantle as the Yankees' center fielder, which he did.

For seventeen years Murcer pleased Yankee fans and was five-time All-Star from 1971 to 1975. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner called him "the consummate Yankee." Except for Lou Gehrig, Bobby Murcer is the only member of the team ever to hit four consecutive home runs. In 1973 he also became the youngest American League player to earn $100,000 a year, but the next year he was traded to the San Francisco Giants. He later played almost three seasons with the Cubs and then returned to the Yankees in 1979.

In his career he hit .277 in 1,908 major league games. He hit 252 home runs. After he retired in 1983, Bobby Murcer became the Yankees' broadcaster. He and his wife, Kay, moved back to Oklahoma City in the 1990s, where he assumed the role as part owner of the Oklahoma City 89ers minor league baseball team.

SEE ALSO: BASEBALL, JOHNNY BENCH, MICKEY MANTLE, JOSEPH McGINNITY, WILBER JOE ROGAN, WARREN SPAHN, SPORTS, WILVER STARGELL, WANER BROTHERS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bob Burke, Kenny Franks, and Royse Parr, Glory Days of Summer, The History of Baseball in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1999). Bill Gutman, Bobby Murcer/Hank Aaron (New York: Grosset & Dunlap Inc., 1974). Dave Klein, Stars of the Major Leagues (New York: Random House, 1974).

Bob Burke

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