Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 25: 9-6 over the Tampa Bay Rays
1989 LJN Toys Baseball Talk Collection Eddie Murray
For what seems like the first time this season the Orioles were the team that kept the game close and then blew it open late. After surrendering a 3-1 lead, Baltimore teed off with six runs in the top of the ninth against the Rays and then held on in the bottom of the inning to walk away with a 9-6 win.
John Means, he's an All Star you know, had another strong outing as he went 7 innings and gave up 3 runs. Mychal Givens made a nice run-saving play at the plate to pick up his first win of the season while Shawn Armstrong put the fire out in the ninth to pick up his 2nd save of the season. He is now tied for second on the team in saves with Miguel Castro and Richard Bleier as manager Brandon Hyde continues his search for someone to take the role as closer on the team.
On offense it was Rio Ruiz and Renato Nunez banging 3-run home runs to provide the bulk of the offense. The Orioles, for once, were the ones who took advantage of miscues to pull away with the win. The Rays provided a wild-pitch, a dropped throw at home plate and an ill-advised diving attempt in centerfield all in the final frame that keyed the Orioles victory.
Means' strong start came on the heels of a couple of debuts earlier in the season. Recently acquired pitchers Tom Eshelman and Asher Wojciechowski started the first two games of the season and did alright. Both went at least five innings, but weren't able to find the win column as the Rays pulled away in the later frames of both games. With the starting rotation in turmoil don't be surprised if both hurlers get another chance at a starting a game before the season (or month) is over.
As for the card at the top of this post. It isn't often that I find a Murray card from his playing days that either I don't have or haven't seen before. That goes double for 1989 cards. Yet, here we are. I was flipping through COMC.com putting an order together and this "card popped up".
It's made by Topps and is styled after the 1989 base collection but uses a photo that isn't from the base set. For his regular card, Murray is hitting from the right side in the gray road uniform. Asyou can see from the photo above in this one he's at home against the Brewers. It's most likely a photo from 1987 as I believe that is Bill Schroeder doing the catching for the Brewers.
Schroeder only appeared in one game in Baltimore that year and it was a replacement. While Murray was did hit in the game, he most likely would have been swinging from the right side of the plate as Dan Plesac, a lefty would have been on the mound. Schroeder, who wore number 21, did play in the entire April series in Baltimore in 1987, so it's most likely that the photo was taken during that series.
So what the hell was the LJN Toys Baseball Talk? It was a 164-card "set" that included cards of players and, current and past, that had a plastic "record" on the back. The cards are a lot bigger than a regular trading cards. According to baseballcardpedia, they measure 5.25 inches by 3.25 inches. When inserted into the Baseball Talk player it would play 2-3 minute of audio, usually recounting a famous moment in that player's career.
Back in the day, this would have been an awesome toy to have just for the audio. Look, we didn't have the internet in 1989. We couldn't just dial up Hank Aaron's historic home run or "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" on YouTube Usually, the only time I heard old radio broadcasts was during rain delays or during some sort of retrospective show. You might be able to get a VHS from the local video store that had some highlights on it, but that was about it. It was truly the dark ages.
I have no idea what highlight is used for Murray because I have never seen a player live in person. I vaguely knew about this as a kid, but since it wasn't an actual baseball card as I pictured it, I ignored it. I wasn't a bright kid. If you have a working player and the complete set of 164 cards you can probably get $150-$200 out if it. Most of the cards will set you back a buck or two, but there are a few (like Babe Ruth) that might cost $10 or more if you can find them.
Not a bad addition to the Murray personal collection if I do say so myself.
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