“When I got to the big leagues, there was a man – Eddie Murray – who showed me how to play this game, day in and day out. I thank him for his example." – Cal Ripken, Jr.
No one ever played more major league games at first base than steady, consistent, durable and dominant Eddie Murray, who chalked up 2,413 to go along with almost 600 more as a designated hitter. In his 21 big league seasons, Murray averaged 24 home runs and 91 RBI. He was the third player in history, after Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, to record both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
The Orioles drafted Murray in 1973, and he made his major league debut in 1977, batting .283 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI primarily as a DH en route to the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Moving to first base full time the following season, Murray grew as a hitter and a fielder, and in 1979, helped the Orioles win the AL pennant, batting .295 with 25 home runs and 99 RBI.
The following season, in 1980, Murray posted the first of his six 100-RBI seasons. And in the strike-shortened 1981 campaign, Murray led the AL with 22 home runs and 78 RBI.
In 1982, Murray won the first of three consecutive Gold Glove Awards, and he led his league in putouts three times, assists three times and fielding percentage three times. In 1983, he powered Baltimore to another pennant, hitting .306 with 33 home runs and 111 RBI. He clubbed three home runs in the postseason as the Orioles won the World Series over the Phillies.
Traded to the Dodgers prior to the 1989 season, Murray drove in 279 runs in his hometown over three seasons. He signed with the Mets in 1992, driving in 193 runs in two seasons before signing with Cleveland prior to the 1994 season.
In his second season in Cleveland, he helped the Indians advance to their first World Series since 1954, homering in each round of the postseason in 1995. He made his final postseason appearance with the Orioles in 1996, hitting .333 in the two playoff rounds. He finished his career at home in 1997, playing for both the Angels and the Dodgers.
An eight-time All-Star, Murray set a record with 128 career sacrifice flys. He finished in the Top 5 of his league's Most Valuable Player Award voting six times, including runner-up finishes in 1982 and 1983. He is the all-time leader among switch-hitters in RBI (1,917) and intentional walks (222).
Murray was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003.