Mondays With Murray

Remembering Jim Murray

December 29, 1919-August 16, 1998

Remembering Jim Murray on the 13th Anniversary of His Passing on 8/16/1998


Jim Murray- Sportswriter

Thirteen years ago this week, the world lost one it's greatest.  A great sportswriter.  A great storyteller.  A man who commanded the written word like Zorro commanded a rapier, ripping up the page with simile and metaphor like they were foes standing between he and the damsel in distress. 

On August, 16, 1998, we lost Jim Murray.  Forever to go down in the annals of history as "Jim Murray, Sportswriter".  But Jim was more than just that.  Jim was a wordsmith who's steel that lay upon his great anvil was forged of home runs and touchdowns, not castles and swords or old men hunting white whales.  Jim's profession chose him but he took it from there.  Ten-thousand columns and 37 years with an LA Times ID card, Jim kept us all entertained with his wit and wisdom.  There were those moments when Jim touched our souls on a level that far transcended the sporting field.  There were rare moments he showed us briefly into his personal, and often guarded, life. 

As we remember the man who made us laugh, cry and swear outloud over our morning coffee, let's take a look at one of those rare peeks into his own life.  A column titled "If You're Expecting One Liners, Wait A Column," Jim reflects on the loss of a personal friend...his eye.

As we continue our goal to provide scholarships in the name of Jim Murray to deserving journalism students, we rely on donations from folks like you to keep our wheels turning.  This year we'll award yet another 5 scholarships totaling $25,000.  We need your help in raising the last $5,000 to reach our goal.  If you enjoy the Mondays With Murray Column and want to help, please click the DONATE button on the top of this email.  Whether it's $5 or $500, every little bit helps.

Thanks again for your continued support of the JMMF and helping us keep the spirit of Jim's writings alive!


Bill McCoy
VP-Jim Murray Memorial Foundation

Please enjoy a column we call "Old Blue Eye", Jim Murray's column from Juily 1, 1979.

JULY 1, 1979, SPORTS







If You're Expecting One-Liners, Wait a Column



OK, bang the drum slowly, professor.  Muffle the cymbals. Kill the laugh track.  You might say that Old Blue Eye is back. But that's as funny as this is going to get.


   I feel I owe my friends an explanation as to where I've been all these weeks. Believe me, I would rather have been in a press box.


   I lost an old friend the other day. He was blue eyed, impish, he cried a lot with me, laughed a lot with me, saw a great many things with me. I don't know why he left me. Boredom, perhaps.


   We read a lot of books together, we did a lot of crossword puzzles together, we saw films together. He had a pretty exciting life. He saw Babe Ruth hit a home run when we were both 12 years old. He was Willie Mays steal second base, he saw Maury Wills steal his 104th base. He saw Rocky Marciano get up. I thought he led a pretty good life.


   You see, the friend I lost was my eye.  My good eye. The other eye, the right one, we've been carrying for years. We just let him tag along like Don Quixote's nag. It's been a long time since he could read the number on a halfback or tell whether a ball was fair or foul or even which fighter was down.


   So, one blue eye is missing and the other misses a lot.


   So my best friend left me, at least temporarily, in a twilight world where it's always 8 o'clock on a summer night.


   He stole away like a thief in the night and he took a lot with him. But not everything. He left a lot of memories.  He couldn't take those with him. He just took the future with him and the present. He couldn't take the past.


   I don't know why he had to go. I though we were pals. I thought the things we did together we enjoyed doing together.  Sure, we cried together.  There were things to cry about.


   But it was a long, good relationship, a happy one. It went all the way back to the days when we arranged all the marbles in a circle in the dirt in the lots in Connecticut. We played on-old-cat baseball. We saw curveballs together, trying to hit them or catch them.  We looked through a catcher's mask together. We were partners in every sense of the word.


   He recorded the happy moments, the beauty of a Pacific sunset, snow-capped mountains. He allowed me to see most of the major sports events of our time. I suppose I should be grateful that he didn't drift away when I was 12 or 15 or 29 but stuck around over 50 years until we had a vault of memories. Still, I'm only human.  I'd like to see again, if possible, Rocky Marciano with his nose bleeding, behind on points and the other guy coming.


I guess I would like to see a Reggie Jackson with the count 3 and 2 and the Series on the line, guessing fastball. I guess I'd like to see Rod Carew with men on first and second and no place to put him, and the pitcher wishing he were standing in the rain someplace, reluctant to let go of the ball.


   I'd like to see Stan Musial crouched around a curveball one more time. I'd like to see Don Drysdale trying not to laugh as a young hitter came up with both feet in the bucket.


   I'd like to see Sandy Koufax just once more facing Willie Mays with a no-hitter on the line. I'd like to see Maury Wills with a big lead against a pitcher with a good move. I'd like to see Roberto Clemente with the ball and a guy trying to go from first to third. I'd like to see Pete Rose sliding into home headfirst.


   I'd like once more to see Henry Aaron standing there with that quiet bat, a study in deadliness. I'd like to see Bob Gibson scowling at a hitter as if he had some nerve just to pick up a bat.  I'd like to see Elroy Hirsch going out for a long one from Bob Waterfield, Johnny Unitas in high-cuts picking apart a zone defense. I'd like to see Casey Stengel walking to the mound on his gnarled old legs to take the pitcher out, beckoning his gnarled old finger behind his back.


   I'd like to see Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali giving a recital, a ballet, not a fight. Also, to be sure, I'd like to see a sky full of stars, moonlight on the water, and yes, the tips of a royal flush peeking out as I fan out a poker hand, and yes, a straight two-foot putt.


   Come to think of it, I'm lucky. I saw all of those things. I see them yet.



*Reprinted with permission by the Los Angeles Times


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