Murray would be O-so-happy to return Pleased with second tour with O's, veteran looks forward to 21st season; ALCS notebook

THE BALTIMORE SUN

It might have been poetic for Eddie Murray to announce his retirement after homering in the eighth inning in his last at-bat of the season last night, but if Murray has his way, that won't be the case.

Murray said he would like to come back for a 21st season, preferably as an Oriole.

After the Orioles' season-ending, 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series last night, Murray said his time in Baltimore this season was "better than I ever expected."

Murray was acquired from the Cleveland Indians in July and said he has had a great time here. He hit his 500th career homer Sept. 6 and became just the third player in history to have 500 homers and 3,000 hits.

"I'm going to tick off more people and come back," Murray said. "I had fun. If we keep this team together, there's no reason for me not to come back."

Murray said he was surprised by the reception he received from the fans and the media, other factors in his wanting to stay in Baltimore.

"It'll be good to come back; we just have to wait and see what happens," Murray said.

"I didn't expect the reception I got and it's been a nice change in the way certain things are done. As bad as the last few weeks in Cleveland were going, you could say [coming to Baltimore invigorated me], but I don't usually need things like that. Things have been good for me since I came back. You just can't say anything more about the treatment I received here."

LCS toughest test?

Although Orioles manager Davey Johnson won't be in the World Series this year, he has been there before, and said it's tougher to manage in the League Championship Series than in the World Series.

"I think there's a lot more pressure [in the LCS]," Johnson said. "You know your opponent very well. The pressure of being the American League champion or the National League champion is much more intense. They're draining. Nobody will ever remember the runner-up in the ALCS. You've really done nothing if you haven't won the American League pennant."

No chances for Corbin

Archie Corbin was the only Orioles pitcher on the postseason roster not to get a playoff appearance.

Corbin warmed up several times throughout the playoffs, including yesterday's loss, but never got into a game.

"I was really surprised I didn't get to pitch," Corbin said. "I don't know if [Johnson] lost confidence in me or what. I'm not that ticked off to be ranting or raving or anything, but I'd have liked to get in at least [yesterday's] game.

"[Saturday] I was going to go in [with the Orioles trailing 8-4 in the eighth inning], but then we got the bases loaded, and I guess I was out."

Corbin, 28, said he is grateful to the Orioles for giving him a shot in the major leagues by signing him after he was released by the Reynoso Broncos of the Mexican League in April. He finished the year with a 2-0 record and 2.30 ERA with the Orioles.

"I definitely do feel like I'm a major-league pitcher, without a doubt," Corbin said. "I hope I can come back here, but if not I'll go to somebody else and try to do what I did this year. I just want to make me a living in the major leagues. But it's just been great here."

Watson's feeling good

Yankees general manager Bob Watson said he will take special pride in the trip to the World Series.

"What makes you feel good is sitting back and knowing you're so close to the World Series," Watson said while sitting in the dugout before yesterday's game. "The last time the Yankees were in the World Series [1981], I was playing.

"It also makes me feel good to be the first minority general manager to win a division title and [go on to the] World Series," said Watson, who is black. "That makes me feel good."

Going, going

More homer records were eclipsed yesterday.

The Orioles and Yankees set an ALCS record by combining for six homers yesterday.

The Yankees hit three home runs off Scott Erickson in the third inning, which gave the Orioles and Yankees 16 combined homers for the series, an ALCS record.

Todd Zeile and Murray added to that total with bases-empty homers for the Orioles, and Bobby Bonilla broke an 0-for-19 slump with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, giving the teams 19 home runs in the series -- an LCS record.

The three homers gave the Yankees 10 for the series, an ALCS record for one team. The last to homer three times in an inning in the ALCS was the 1970 Orioles, when Don Buford, Boog Powell and Mike Cuellar did it in Game 1 against the Minnesota Twins.

Erickson set an ALCS record by yielding three homers and six runs in an inning yesterday.

Darryl Strawberry hit the third of the three homers, giving him three in the last two games, equaling Jay Buhner's mark with the Seattle Mariners last year.

Zeile and Strawberry also set a record for home runs during a five-game ALCS, with three apiece.

The Orioles and Yankees also combined to strike out 70 times, which ties an LCS record set in 1973, and they combined for 33 extra-base hits, tying the ALCS record.

Torre's calming influence

Yankees closer John Wetteland said manager Joe Torre has much to do with the team's quiet confidence.

"Joe is very into execution, and he has a calm way of imparting those things," Wetteland said.

"It reaps a great deal of respect from the players. It's tremendous that his attitude and the way he goes about his job brings such a melding of all our players.

"Our chemistry is tremendous and nobody really cares who gets it done that day. It's a joy to play on a team that feels that way."

Torre said he has never been associated with a team as unselfish as the Yankees.

"I think it's a rarity with everyone's concentration being on numbers all the time," Torre said. "I think when you're concerned with everyone putting up numbers, that really distracts from what the game is really played for, and that's to win. This is a rarity. I don't remember managing a team like this."

Celebrity visitor

Among the visitors to New York's clubhouse after yesterday's game was actor David Keith, who wore a Yankees cap with various player signatures underneath the bill.

"I hate pulling against Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken because they're two of my favorite players ever in baseball, and the Orioles are my second-favorite team in baseball. But the Yankees have been my team since I was 6 years old."

Keith said he didn't get to meet the players until July. "It was like meeting a college team," he said. "They have a college heart about them."

Tip your cap to him

Only under the close scrutiny of the postseason could Wetteland's cap be of any more interest. Why, the media wants to know, does he wear a cap so dirty that the white emblem is turning brown?

"It's something I've always done," he said. "You get issued a hat in spring training and that's the one I use. It's got all the work in it. Why do I want to get rid of that? It's funny because I've done it year after year and now, suddenly, it has become a big deal."

So much so that he was asked if the cap is part of a superstition.

"No, I've pitched with other hats," he said. "I'll lose it for a day or two, pitch with another and go out there and win the game. It's not a question of I need this hat to win."

At least that's settled.

MVP Williams surprised

New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams, the Most Valuable Player of the ALCS, said that he never envisioned himself being a dominant player in a big series.

"No, because I always have this thinking that I'm going to do the best that I can," he said.

"And to do my job and be a part of the whole thing. I really don't want to put extra pressure on myself, telling myself that I have to carry the ballclub and be a dominant player. That really takes away from my kind of game."

Pub Date: 10/14/96

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