This Eddie Murray collection found in an online auction listing stands in a category all of it’s own. Look how obsessively meticulously this “Steady Eddie” stash has been laid out as a feast for nostalgia-glazed eyes. Sure, there’s the canvas of circa ’70s elderly shag carpet. Look past that—or just a millimeter above its dingy surface. Cherish the dulled but still apparent shimmer to the miniature discs (call them pogs, call them coins) accompanying whatever 7-Eleven jumbo slurpee. Regard an almost artful novelty to the can of RC Cola. Or learn trivia from some 1979 Topps wax comics, such as the fact that Eddie Murray “led the Orioles in ’78 with 85 runs and 95 RBI’s.” Any one of these should very well appeal to the restless seeker of schlock, that curator of oddball gems. Taken together, it’s pure bliss—a Murray-magic carpet ride!
*Image provided with permission of Ebay auction seller.
I don’t remember ever seeing the Baltimore Orioles play at Camden Yards, the place whose very name evokes feelings of an Arcadia or Camelot—some legend, myth, or fogged history. But apparently I did visit the cathedralesque ballpark with its once newly minted cast-iron gates, ochre-bricked arches, and sprawled, luxuriant lawns. Judging by the date printed on one bruised, lavender-hued ticket stub from when the Orioles played the Milwaukee Brewers on September 13, 1992, the inaugural season for Camden Yards, I was twelve years old at the time and thus likely accompanied by my dad. (According to Baseball-Reference, we were but two among 44,242 spectators in attendance.) A true Yankees fan born in Yonkers, though unfortunately raised in New Jersey, my dad must have suffered through the tedium of that daytime game between two relative non-contenders scrapping it out—and he all the while humoring, even accommodating a traitorous son’s burgeoning love for the Orioles. Or perhaps he suffered more my fanaticism for exorbitantly priced stadium hotdogs and souvenir bric-a-brac and my comparative inattention for the actual game. Whatever the case, the O’s eventually conceded in a 1-3 defeat with good ole Ben McDonald the losing pitcher of the afternoon. Sure it wasn’t a great game, or even a very important one for that matter. But it was my game. And although the memory has sadly faded from my always aging mind, thankfully the ticket stub still serves its truest, most admirable purpose: as memorabilia, nay memento. Now the game becomes meaningful—and I a new meaning make. Because even if I don’t remember, well, at least I can imagine.
I was utterly enamored when the 1978 Kellogg’s Eddie (Clarence) Murray rookie card arrived in the mail today. That lesser known moniker was one of the first details that struck me, as strangely I do not recall ever noticing his middle name before; however, I must have seen it at some point, since I was a self-professed Eddie Murray “fan” going back to second grade when I wrote an essay (though I doubt it really qualified as such for my dismayed English teacher) about the star Orioles hitter. Funny thing about that little school paper: my Mom was initially so perplexed as to why in the world her six-year-old son wanted to write about a rather age-inappropriate, late-night television comedian. Oh, Mother.
But to return to this exquisite cereal box artifact. . . . Well, it’s just absolutely stunning, especially if it’s your first close encounter with one of these vintage “3-D” Kellogg’s cards. And I truly doubt whether even a hi-resolution scan can quite do this specimen justice. After well over thirty years, the front image still vibrantly pops–so much that when tilted the image of the state of Texas discernibly floats just above Eddie’s turned back high up on a stadium wall. If the background was indeed part of the original photo, then I can only guess that it was taken before some regularly scheduled Baltimore and Texas game. If the background was subsequently placed in during the card layout or design process, however, then it must have been some kind of editorial error or oversight. (Question: do baseball card producers really have “editors,” or are they given some other staff title, like “designated copy writer”?)
But full disclosure: I’m really not the most observant individual at times, and it was only when I with childlike, goofy pride presented the card to my wife that she pointed out this rather quirky anomaly for my (and now your) edification.