9/06/1996 - Murray hits #500
Eddie Murray, on his second tour of duty with the Baltimore Orioles, hits the 500th home run of his career. Murray, who would play only one more season, struggled mightily to reach the 500-mark. Since being traded to the Dodgers in 1988, Murray had bounced from LA to the Mets to the Indians and then back to Baltimore. His home run hitting skills had waned considerably, and he would finish his career with "only" 504 home runs.
With his home run, Murray joined Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, arguably the two greatest hitters of all time, as the only batters to claim both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Murray was a statistical anomaly. He hit at least 16 home runs in each of his first twenty seasons in the majors, yet he never hit more than 33 in a season. The one year he led the league home runs was 1981, when he hit 22 in a strike-shortened season.
Another interesting note is that the man who caught the 500 ball, salesman Dan Jones, sold the home run ball for the ungodly sum of $500,000. The man who purchased the ball, company founder Michael Lasky, had no idea that he had severely overbid on the item. Lasky handed the ball over to the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore, however, his business fell on hard times and before long, he had filed for bankruptcy. The name of Mr. Lasky's company: the Psychic Friends Network. Didn't see that one coming.