Photograph of Bobby Murcer after hitting a game-winning hit in the Yankees' win over Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 6, 1979 from the AP

Yankees’ fans knew Bobby Murcer differently depending on their age. For those who were around in 1965, Murcer represented the next great Yankee, taking the torch from Mickey Mantle. Fans of the next generation will never forget August 6th, 1979, when Murcer gave a moving eulogy for his friend, Thurman Munson, in the day and then drove in all five runs against the Orioles that night. The recent generation missed Murcer’s exploits on the playing field and knew him as a broadcaster, providing insightful commentary in his distinctive Oklahoman accent.

2008_07_murcer2.jpgWhat all generations knew was that Murcer was one of a kind. Unlike so many broadcasters, Murcer never held himself above the game, letting the action speak for itself at appropriate moments. His courageous and public battle with cancer was an example for all of us on how to handle the gravest of news with dignity and hope. But, it shouldn’t have surprised any of us, Murcer had acted that way his whole life. From stepping aside in 1983 so the Yankees could promote Don Mattingly to the majors to that stirring tribute of his friend Thurman, Murcer had a gift for seeing the best in things and people.

Like Munson, Murcer has left us much too soon, at only 62. Twenty-nine years ago he eulogized Munson and those words seem appropriate this morning. “He loved the game, his fans, his friends, and most of all his family, He is lost, but not gone. He will be missed, but not forgotten."

Other remembrances: The NY Times obituary, Mike Lupica's column, George Steinbrenner on Murcer, and other baseball figures on Murcer's death.