Left, right, left, right
(MAY 9, 1987)
This story published after Baltimore’s Eddie Murray became the first major leaguer to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in consecutive games with two blasts against the White Sox on May 8 and 9, 1987.
CHICAGO — Eddie Murray sought out his old friend Jim Fregosi for a private talk before Saturday night’s game at Comiskey Park.
“I’m not going to tell you what’s coming tonight,” the White Sox manager joked as he approached the beckoning Murray.
It was Murray who should have told Fregosi what was coming — again. Fregosi could have gone home then for a barbecue rather than stay at work and get roasted.
The Orioles’ first baseman matched his two homers Friday with two more homers Saturday, as well as contributing a double and single, and Baltimore chewed up the Sox with six homers and 17 hits and spit out a 15-6 victory.
It was enough to make Fregosi swallow his chew, a new habit now that he has quit smoking cigarettes. But he bore up bravely and tried his hand at sitdown comedy.
“They were going out so quick, I couldn’t see them all,” he said from his office chair.
“Fireworks during the game, fireworks after the game.
“I got tired of counting. How many homers did they have?
“Yeah, I know all about Murray setting a record. I read all that stuff when it comes on the scoreboard. What else is there to do?”
The record applies to switch-hitters. Murray became the first to hit homers in consecutive games from both the left and right sides of the plate.
He now has homered left and right in eight games, two short of the record held by Mickey Mantle.
Murray turned down requests to talk about his accomplishments. His manager, Cal Ripken Sr., treated it as if it were a daily occurrence.
“Home-run hitters go in streaks.
We’ve seen it before with Eddie,”
The wind was blowing out, and the warm weather conditions were so ripe for homers that Fregosi predicted before the game there would be a Ruthian poke onto the roof.
Larry Sheets proved him right. He rocketed the second of three Oriole homers against reliever Bob James onto the right-field roof.
“A home run is a home run,” Sheets said.
These Orioles are a tough bunch to impress, even when they’re doing the impressing.
James made no headway in his attempt to prove to Fregosi he should be back in his role of closer.
Fregosi has shifted James to long relief, ostensibly to help rebuild his confidence.
Murray deflated James, however, in the sixth inning with a line shot to the upper-deck seats in right.
“James made some good pitches and he made some bad pitches,” Fregosi said diplomatically.
Reliever Joel McKeon didn’t need Fregosi to speak for him. “I got the ball down the middle of the plate and good hitters will make you pay,” he said about allowing three homers.
It was McKeon, the loser in relief of starter Joel Davis, who gave up the first homer to Murray. This one went to the upper deck in left and was Murray’s second game-winning home run in two days.
He homered Friday with two out in the ninth after Cal Ripken singled to post a 7-6 victory. His two-out homer Saturday with Ripken on base put the Orioles ahead 7-6 in the fourth, and the Sox never mounted a threat after that.
Gallant Fox, with jockey Earl Sande aboard, won the Preakness Stakes on May 9, 1930, and is the only Triple Crown winner to record the feat when the Preakness preceded the Kentucky Derby.