“ED-DIE, ED-DIE!”: Hall of Fame First Baseman Eddie Murray Recalls O’s Last World Series Title

A clutch hitter like no other, Murray was synonymous with the Orioles Magic era.
Murray meets an adoring young fan during the Orioles 1983 downtown parade. —Permission from Baltimore Sun Media. All Rights Reserved.

On the 40th anniversary of the Orioles’ 1983 World Series championship (check out our full feature on the win in our April 2023 issue,) we queried Eddie Murray—the O’s iconic, switch-hitting slugger, about his memories of that season. The following is a lightly edited version of that email Q&A:

How did you guys feel in spring training and going into Opening Day in 1983? After an epic late-season playoff bid, the team fell just short on the last day of the ’82 season, losing to the Milwaukee Brewers before a packed house at Memorial Stadium. And then of course Earl Weaver retired, and Joe Altobelli was named the new manager in the off-season.
You couldn’t get any more confident than us that year coming in. We lost on the last day of the season in ’82 and I tell you—we really thought we were going to win. To lose that game, we just knew we were winning in ’83, and we actually came out and did exactly that. I think any coach could tell we believed in ourselves, and we did.

Was there also lingering disappointment from 1979, when the team lost the World Series to the Pirates, or from coming so close to the playoffs in ’80 and ’81, as well as ’82?
The ‘82 season gave us all of the fuel we needed. We were really close at the end, and it was really disappointing. To get up 3-1 [in the World Series], and to lose, that was really tough. You just try to keep moving on and dust it off your shoulders.

In those Orioles Magic days, when the club was smashing attendance records at Memorial Stadium, what was the biggest reason for the team’s incredible success?
The reason we won is because we really believed in what we were doing. You have to catch the ball in order to win, and you have to be able to pitch the ball. A lot of people would come in and would play us knowing we weren’t going to give them the game. It was going to be a tough game. We weren’t going to make a lot of errors—it was what Baltimore was known for. Teams had to go out there and play their complete game because we weren’t going to give it to them.

—Courtesy of Donruss Baseball Cards

You were in a bit of a World Series slump going into what proved to be the decisive Game 5 in Philadelphia. As any O’s fan of a certain age recalls, you subsequently smashed two home runs to pace the series-clinching, 5-0 win. What were you thinking in the clubhouse beforehand, and what’s your recollection of that game?
[Veteran second baseman] Richie Dauer comes over and says, “How you doing kid? How you doing?” And I say, “What do you mean, ‘How am I doing? I’m doing good.’” Then Richie starts running around the locker room yelling, “The kid’s guaranteed it! The kid’s guaranteed it.”

I start yelling at Richie not to do that. But I go up to bat the first time and I hit a home run. I come in the dugout, shake everybody’s hand, sit down, and then I look at Richie and say, “Richie, that’s not it.” So, I go up to bat the second time, and I think I hit my name on the scoreboard. I come back in the dugout, shake everybody’s hand, and sit down and look down at the end of the bench and say, “Richie, that’s not it.”

You don’t want people to know what’s hurting, but I only actually had one good swing [in me] batting right-handed. I turn to the end of the dugout and, when they bring in a left-handed pitcher, I look down the dugout and I say, “I’ve got one swing.” I get up to bat and I hit it out of the ballpark into the upper deck, but it just misses the foul pole by five feet. [Nearly, a third home run.] Then I say to myself “Oh god, that’s it. Now all I can do is poke the ball to right field.”

With the franchise in decline by the late-’80s, you were eventually traded, playing for the Dodgers, Mets, and Indians before coming home to Baltimore and hitting your 500th home run at Camden Yards in 1996. Did it feel like a full circle moment for you like it did for the fans?
Absolutely, but you’re glad to get it over. You’re just so close and glad to get there. I told Cal as soon as I came in the door that particular day, that I would hit it that day. He asked me why, and I said “Well, nobody had bothered me. Nobody has said anything about it today.” Then we were running our sprints early in the evening after batting practice to get ready for the game. I run my first sprint and I get back and I’m ready to run my second, and I see they’re showing something on the videoboard. I didn’t know it was the same day that Cal broke the record [the year before] for his consecutive games.

I also had to get it in under the 12 a.m. hour because we had rain that day. It was good to get it over with.

So, it’s been 40 years since the last ticker-tape parade for the Orioles, which was just an amazing scene and outpouring of affection for the team. [See photo, above.] We hope there will be another someday, the club finally seems on a solid trajectory, but how well do you remember that experience?
The parade was outstanding. You could play this game a lot of years and not have a parade, so you won’t ever forget it. I can still remember somebody handed me a little kid that was on the car for a little bit with me. The parade is a moment that goes right along with the World Series—you don’t get many of those moments.