BILL PLASCHKE

Murray's impact still is plain to hear

"The crowd at the Coliseum could not have been more surprised if the Christian had begun eating the Lions."

And how he protested the resumption of the 1972 Munich Olympics after the terrorist killings at the Games.

"This was supposed to be a track meet, not a war….How can they have a decathlon around the blood stains, run the 1,500 over graves?"

And to think, two of his most memorable columns were not about sports: the death of his first wife, Gerry, and the loss of his eyesight.

Folks remember so many columns that, upon his death, they filled an entire Times sports page with letters about them.

"Maybe because his columns were timeless, I assumed Jim Murray was as well," wrote Frank Newell of Long Beach.

"There are two kinds of sportswriters: Jim Murray and others," wrote Russ Hill of Huntington Beach.

Hal Dion of Los Angeles remembered an elderly woman sitting in a diner with a magnifying glass, shooing him away from her Times, saying, "Son, my morning is reserved for Mr. Murray."

One reader, Tracy Odell of Rossmore, spoke for thousands when she wrote, "I have only one request of the L.A. Times. Leave Jim Murray's space in the newspaper empty and pray for reincarnation."

Request granted.

I'm on the front page of the Sports section three or four times a week, sweating and stretching and doing my darnedest to reach into the hearts and minds of the most sophisticated sports readers in this country.

But, no, I'm no Jim Murray.

And, yes, that space will forever remain empty.


Bill Plaschke can be reached at bill.plaschke@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Plaschke, go to latimes.com/plaschke.

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