By Chris Korman, Yvonne Wenger and Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun
1:59 AM EDT, June 21, 2012
Eddie Murray, the former Orioles Hall of Famer, has been linked to an investigation by federal authorities in a wide-ranging insider trading case that already has ensnared teammate Doug DeCinces, according to a Reuters report.
Investigators have been trying to determine whether Murray traded on inside information that Abbott Laboratories was about to announce a deal to acquire Advanced Medical Optics for $2.8 billion in 2009, according to the Reuters report. He has not been charged with a crime.
DeCinces agreed to pay $2.5 million in fines to the Securities and Exchange Commission in August 2011 as the result of a civil suit. Murray and DeCinces played together on the Orioles from 1977 to 1981, and both are Los Angeles-area natives.
But Murray's attorney downplayed the report, calling it "old news." Michael J. Proctor, of Caldwell Leslie & Proctor in Los Angeles, said, "The government prosecutors investigated this in 2009 and have done nothing. Eddie Murray is a great man, an honorable man, who has conducted his affairs ethically,"
A spokesman for the SEC noted Wednesday that the agency's announcement about the DeCinces fine stated that the investigation was continuing. The spokesman had no further comment.
Attempts to reach Murray, who last worked in baseball as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007, were unsuccessful. He is scheduled to return to Baltimore in August, when his statue is dedicated at Camden Yards.
An Orioles spokesperson said the team would not comment on the issue.
DeCinces, best known for replacingBrooks Robinsonat third base and hitting the home run credited with igniting "Oriole Magic" was the largest of four investors targeted by the SEC in last year's civil suit.
Acting upon a tip from a source involved with the transaction, he bought at least 83,700 shares of Advanced Medical Optics in the weeks before the merger, according to the SEC. On the day the deal was announced, Advanced Medical Optics' stock rose from $12.65 per share to $21.50, an increase of 143 percent, and DeCinces made a profit of $1,282,691 on his shares, the SEC said.
According to the civil suit, DeCinces also looped at least three friends — physical therapist Joseph J. Donohue, lawyer Fred Scott Jackson and businessman Roger A. Wittenbach — in on the plan. They made more than $430,000 in profits. All four agreed to a settlement without admitting or denying that they had acted improperly.
Reuters did not report how many shares in Advanced Medical Optics Murray allegedly purchased, or when any transactions occurred.
Word of his possible involvement surfaced almost two years ago. The Los Angeles Daily Journal reported that a grand jury was investigating the matter, and that prosecutors believed Murray had been tipped off to the impending deal by DeCinces. The trade publication for lawyers did not report on Murray's level of involvement and said that sources were unsure of whether criminal charges would be filed.
Murray spent the first 12 seasons of his career with the Orioles. He was named Rookie of the Year as a 21-year-old in 1977, when he hit 27 home runs and .283 while quickly proving to be one of the top switch hitters in the game. He was runner-up in American League MVP voting in 1983, when the Orioles beat the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series.
As an Oriole, he played in seven All-Star games and finished in the top five for MVP voting five times.
He was traded in December 1988 to the Dodgers for Juan Bell, Brian Holton and Ken Howell but returned to play 64 games for the 1996 Orioles team that lost to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
The Orioles announced earlier this year they would honor the club's six Hall of Fame players with statues in a picnic grove near center field. He entered Cooperstown in 2003 after hitting 504 home runs and batting .287 over 21 years. He is one of only four major leaguers with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and former Oriole Rafael Palmeiro are the others).
Murray, 56, was recently honored by The Baltimore Sun on its list of the top 175 athletes with ties to the area; he was No. 11.
The eighth of 12 children, Murray grew up in a three-bedroom house in Los Angeles and often practiced in Watts. He was described by classmates as "square" in high school, and would later be known for his quiet demeanor as a pro.
A quiet star whose best days were wedged between the Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken eras, Murray's relationship with Baltimore fans was often strained. But the crowd of 30,000 gathered to hear his Hall of Fame speech showed large specks of orange and black, and Murray acknowledged them.
He donated the funds for the Carrie Murray Nature Center — named for his mother — in Leakin Park and once underwrote an exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun