1988 Topps Eddie Murray Record Breakers (error and corrected version)
I guess all Eddie Murray needed was to get out of Baltimore for a little while. With talk radio and the newspapers talking about his slow start and desire to play elsewhere, Murray quietly made a couple of change to his swing. They seemed to have paid off.
In the Orioles route of the White Sox the future hall-of-famer homered twice. It was the second game in a row where he's hit a brace of home runs. Just like the night before he hit one from the left side of the plate and one from the right side of the plate. It was the eighth time in his career that he had done that, and the first time in major league history that someone had done it in back-to-back game.
On the whole, Murray is 11-for-22 on the road trip with 5 home runs, 2 doubles, 6 runs scored, and 8 RBI. He had a pretty good month in the last week. To foreshadow a little, he's not quite done either. Whatever lingering injuries were bothering him to begin the season seem to have healed and the negative press hasn't affected his performance or, more importantly, his standing in the clubhouse.
Following the game Larry Sheets (whose home run in this game hit the roof of Comiskey Park, told the press, "It never mattered what anyone else said about Eddie because the people in our clubhouse knew. He's the best player there is in the game, and one of the best people. No one in this clubhouse ever doubted him."
That echoed a sentiment that his manager, Cal Ripken, Sr. had earlier in the week, before the offensive outburst began, "Eddie Murray is going to be fine. If all I had to do was worry about Eddie Murray, I wouldn't have any worries."
At the beginning of may the skipper was even more confident, stating: "Eddie is going to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs. If there's anything certain in this world, it's that Eddie is going to hit. No, I'm not worried about Eddie. All a manager has to do with Eddie is keep writing his name in the lineup."
His belief in Eddie's steadiness was rewarded as the 31-year-old perennial All Star drilled line drive after line drive around the ballparks in Minnesota and Chicago.
With their clubhouse leader showing them the way, the rest of the bats responded as well. Jim Dwyer, Lee Lacy, Ray Knight, and Sheets all homered in the game. Alan Wiggens tripled and scored while Fred Lynn had two hits, his second multi-hit game in a row.
Granted, the offense came in handy as Jeff Ballard's major league debut was a little rough. The 23-year-old rookie lasted just two innings and surrendered six runs (four earned) on seven hits. He walked one and didn't strike out a single White Sox. It was an abrupt reminder that major league hitters are just a tad bit better than the ones in AAA.
Dave Schmidt came into the game in the third inning and shut down Chicago the rest of the way, scattering four hits over seven scoreless innings to pick up his third win of the season. If he keeps pitching like that he'll find himself in the rotation.
A rotation that with Ballard now features four left-handed pitchers and Mike Boddicker.