COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Eddie Murray built his Hall of Fame career on consistency. But the slugging first baseman also had the ability to change a game with one swing of the bat.
Or sometimes, two swings.
Twenty years ago this week, June 9, 1990, the switch-hitting Murray homered from both sides of the plate as his Dodgers defeated the Padres 5-4 in 11 innings. It was Murray’s 11th-inning blast that gave Los Angeles the victory – a shot which came on the heels of his second-inning home run.
It marked the 10th time in Murray’s career that he homered hitting left-handed and right-handed in the same game, tying the record of Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle.
“He was the best clutch-hitter that I saw during the decade that we played together,” said former teammate Mike Flanagan. “Not only on our team, but in all of baseball.”
In 1994, Murray would pass Mantle with his 11th switch-hit homer game, going deep twice on April 21 against the Minnesota Twins. Chili Davis tied Murray’s record in 1997, but to date no one has homered from both sides of the plate in more than 11 games.
Murray retired following the 1997 season with 504 career home runs, trailing only Mantle (536) on the all-time list among switch hitters. He drove in 1,917 runs (ninth all-time, tops among switch-hitters), tallied 3,255 hits (second among switch-hitters) and was named to eight All-Star Games.
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum