Jim Murray, 50 years later

It was 50 years ago this month that Jim Murray’s sports column debuted in the Times, notes Larry Harnisch of the Daily Mirror. Some selections from his opening work:

I am against the bunt in baseball — unless they start batting the ball against John McGraw batted against. The last time the bunt won a game, Frank Chance was a rookie. …

I’m glad the Rams traded Billy Wade. I won’t say Billy was clumsy, but on the way back from the line of scrimmage with the ball he bumped into more people than a New York pickpocket. I have seen blockers make ball-carriers look bad. Wade was the only ball-carrier I ever saw make the blockers look bad. …

I really don’t understand why the Angels haven’t signed up Bob Kelley to do their broadcasts. He’s the only guy in town who can prevent Vin Scully from throwing a shutout. …

Here’s what Murray wrote 50 years ago today, about Eli Grba, the Angels’ No. 1 pick in the expansion draft:

“Eli Grba” just isn’t a name you lead off with. It’s like laying down a bridge hand beginning with the deuce of trumps. Your partner is apt to head out of town without waiting to see the rest and we were afraid the Angels’ supporters would similarly run for cover when they failed to see a face card turned up at Boston. …

But there is a solution, it seems to me. The Angels now, granted Mr. Grba is a first-class pitcher even if his name sounds like something that a space chimp might say upon landing, should shop around not for a player or two but a vowel or two.

They might tap their own roster. Kluszewski, for instance, has letters to spare. But Klu runs to a surfeit of “z’s” and “s’s” and they don’t quite fit the bill. If the Angels had a farm system, they might bring up an “i” or two to the parent club. The Dodgers are loaded, but I can see Fresco Thompson scanning the high minors and reporting “not a lousy, stinking ‘e’ we can trade you in the whole lot …”

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