Larry Murray

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Larry Murray

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Biographical Information[edit]

After high school, Larry Murray was taken in the 5th round of the 1971 amateur draft by the New York Yankees. He debuted with the Johnson City Yankees and his .172/~.303/.297 line was rather unimposing. He stole 6 bases in 8 tries and fielded just .881 in the outfield. In 1972, Larry improved dramatically. He batted .244/~.410/.376 for the Oneonta Yankees and led the New York-Penn League with 66 walks. His 60 runs scored were second to Terry Whitfield, he stole 59 bases in 66 tries (second to Don Hopkins in steals) and his 10 outfield assists tied him for the league lead. His OBP and baserunning skills were clearly excellent, making him a fine leadoff hitting prospect. He only hit .133/~.188/.133 and fanned 15 times in 45 AB with the Fort Lauderdale Yankees that same year.

By age 20, Murray was doing well in high Class A, producing at a .253/~.366/.308 clip for Ft. Lauderdale, stealing 29 in 38 tries and throwing out 14 runners in 1973. In 1974, Larry returned to Fort Lauderdale again and was one of two switch-hitting Murrays to lead the Florida State League in something. While Eddie Murray led in doubles and total bases, Larry led in steals (62 in 73 attempts), 21 more than runner-up Ron LeFlore. Larry Murray's average fell but his OBP remained solid - his line was .207/.350/.279 that year and he fielded .984. He drew 88 walks, 30 more than Eddie Murray and second in the FSL to Wayne Harer. He got a September call-up to New York and appeared in 6 games, 4 of them as a pinch-runner and 2 in the outfield.

Moving up to Double A with the West Haven Yankees, Slick stole 28 of 36 bases in 1975 and hit .250/~.322/.351. He got into 6 games for the major league team in May and June, registering just one at bat as he again was being used for pinch-running and defensive purposes.

Murray had arguably his best all-around year in 1976, with West Haven. The 23-year-old flyhawk batted .286/.363/.434, stole 59 in 71 tries, homered 12 times and scored 92 runs. His 268 outfield putouts were 6 shy of the Eastern League lead. He led the league in both steals and runs and made the EL All-Star team. Getting a September call-up, he actually got 10 AB after only 2 in his two previous years with the Yankees. He even started one contest, playing the full game in center.

Larry began 1977 with the Syracuse Chiefs and hit .300/.462/.567 in his first 9 games at Triple A, scoring 11 runs and going 6 for 6 in steals. He averaged a walk a contest and made no errors. On April 27th, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics with Dock Ellis and Marty Perez for Mike Torrez. He played regularly for the Athletics the remainder of the year, batting a weak .179/.257/.253, though he was 12 for 15 in steals and fielded .992 while moving between the three outfield spots. On a bad A's team, he hit first, second or 8th in most of his starts. He also spent part of June with the San Jose Missions, batting .364/.462/.500 and going 15 for 16 in swipes in 21 games. Overall, he swiped 21 bags in the minors and 12 in the majors for 33 overall. Murray spent most of 1978 with the Vancouver Canadians, putting up a .284/.389/.416 line, scoring 91 runs in 117 games and stealing successfully in 37 of 50 tries. He also was 1 for 12 in 11 games with Oakland.

Larry saw his most big-league playing time with the A's in 1979, hitting .186/.275/.279 and playing 105 games. He was only 6 for 12 in steals, his first bad run of running ever. Worse, the team had a young rookie with far better wheels, another Chicago native named Rickey Henderson, and a capable center fielder with a strong glove in Dwayne Murphy. Murray manned right, not a spot for such a light hitter, and Tony Armas Sr. began to take the job away from him in June. Larry was drawing walks and hitting some doubles, but it was not enough. He would never play again in the majors. His 20 career steals are the most by a post-Deadball Era player with a career average under .200. Murray hit .177/.264/.257 in his big league career and was only 20 for 30 in steals due to his poor 1979 performance.

Larry finished his pro baseball career with the 1980 Ogden A's, producing at a .233/.361/.400 clip in 13 games and only going 1 for 2 in steals. Overall, he had hit .254/~.332/.364 in the minor leagues, stealing 282 bases in 769 games.

Career Highlights[edit]

Sources: 1972-1981 Baseball Guides, Mendoza's Heroes by Al Pepper

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