Kay Murcer reflects on what Old-Timers' Day means to Yankees families

06/23/2013 5:28 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

David Wells was among the former Yankees who appeared at Old-Timers' Day on Sunday afternoon.(AP)
Every year, there are a few “new” faces at Old-Timers’ Day, along with some legendary ones. From Berra to Balboni, Flaherty to Ford, those who return to put on the pinstripes run the gamut of Yankees lore.

There are a few very special ladies who join the festivities each year in tribute to their gone-but-not-forgotten husbands. This year, Mrs. Arlene Howard, Mrs. Helen Hunter, Mrs. Jill Martin, Mrs. Diana Munson, and Mrs. Kay Murcer took part in the Old-Timers’ Day ceremonies.

While Elston, Catfish, Billy, Thurman, and Bobby may no longer be with us, their place in the Yankees’ tradition lives on with their widows’ appearance at Old-Timers’ Day, and it’s an annual get-together that Mrs. Murcer relishes every summer.

“The Yankee fans were so great to Bobby, and they’re great to me. How can you not love it?,” she asked. “This was our team and it’s always fantastic to be here.”

With so many men wearing pinstripes over the years, it would be impossible to invite them all back every year – and while Mrs. Murcer admitted that the team is of no obligation to invite anyone, having the Yankees’ wives on board every year is just another facet that proves that adage that baseball blood is thicker than water.

“We all were talking about it (Saturday night), how it’s so special that the Yankees are the only team that does this,” Mrs. Murcer said. “They treat us like royalty, and there’s such loyalty to the wives; they don’t need to invite us back every year, but they do, and we’re very blessed by it. We couldn’t ask for better, and the whole Steinbrenner family has been amazing.”

While it’s nice to catch up with the wives and as many ex-Yankees as she can on Old-Timers’ Day, Mrs. Murcer did admit that she still hears from many throughout the organization all year round, calling her relationship with the Yankees a “two-sided love affair.”

David Cone may or may not be one of those, but he did have some kind words about Bobby Murcer on Old-Timers’ Day; Cone wore a live mic for the YES Network during the game, as Murcer used to during his tenure as a broadcaster, and paid tribute to the late great in discussing that opportunity.

“I was a huge fan of Bobby Murcer; he was a great player and broadcaster, and he did this day so well,” Cone said. “He would get mike’d up and go out on the field and chat, and this year I get to do that…it’s in honor of Bobby. We miss him, and I’m following in some pretty good footsteps.”

And it’s moments like that, Mrs. Murcer said, are what makes it all worthwhile.

“It just shows what kind of quality guys the Yankees have and have always had, and there are so many who are special. To me, it’s about tradition, and I give my heart to David Cone, because he’s a sweet guy,” she said. “That was always Bobby’s most fun time. He got to talk to guys, play with guys who were his coaches…he even got a tattoo when Jason Giambi got his tattoo. It was all great fun, and I fondly remember all of it.”

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