Another player who did everything well like Chipper Jones, just better early in his career than he did later in his career. With the Orioles he was Mr. Consistency. He had eight years in a row he was in the top 11 for the MVP award. He was will respected by all baseball and will should be. Then his owner Edward Bennett Williams questioned Murray’s commitment to the game. The fans and press immediately jumped on Murray’s case.
This happened in 1986. Murray who had played over 150 games every year, but the strike year had some injury problems. He played 137 games in 1986 and Williams questioned his off-season training. Murray had his first injury in 3 years in July that year. It took some time coming back. Soon after that Williams made his statement. However, Murray turned 30 before the season and he was at a time in life where it took longer to come back from injuries like that. In 137 games he still batted over .300 and had 84 RBIs. In 1987 and 1988 his last two seasons with Orioles he played 160 games each year, just didn’t hit as well.
He was then traded to the Dodgers. In 1990 a strange thing happened. Eddie led the majors in batting average but didn’t win the batting crown. What happened was Willie McGee was traded to the American League while hitting .335. He had batted enough times to qualify for the batting title. In the American League he didn’t hit as well causing his batting average to go down to .324. Murray was runner-up in the National League at .330. George Brett led the American League with an average of .329. So, Murray had the highest average in MLB and didn’t win a crown. It was just one of those things. It showed everyone Murray could still hit at the age of 34.
He remained a solid hitter until he turned 40. However, at age 40 he helped Baltimore make the playoffs after being traded to them at midseason. He hit .333 in two rounds of the playoffs with the Orioles that fall.
It might seem strange as first basemen are the last fielding position to get four players in the rankings. Even third base has 5 guys already. However, first base more than makes up for this later. Actually, in the near future. They have 11 in the top 100. In fact, first base is the first fielding position to have 11 players needed. There are a lot of heavy hitters at first base who don’t get a lot of help in the ratings with points for fielding. However, there are so many that are good hitters they do well once you get below the Jackie Robinson line.
I like that. It shows the formula works to me. First base seems like it is overrated in some places, but it has only 3 of the top 60 players. So, it is less likely the formula is prejudice for first basemen.