Red Murff Passes
Red Murff, the New York Mets scout who discovered Nolan Ryan, died at the age of 87 in a Tyler, Texas nursing home on Friday.
The former Milwaukee Braves pitcher had a brief Major League career in the 1950s — making his rookie debut at age 35 — before moving to coaching and scouting. He was mentioned during Ryan’s Hall of Fame induction speech:
“He thought when he saw me at 6-foot-2 and 140 pounds, he wasn’t discouraged by my build and by the way I threw the baseball as many other scouts were,” Ryan said. “And I appreciate the fact that Red spent so much time with me and worked to help me become a better pitcher. Thank you, Red.”
Murff was instrumental in creating the baseball program at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, and was named to the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Texas Scouts Association Hall of Fame in 1999.
Said James Vilade, a family friend:
“He was an amazing person,” Vilade said. “He lived a long life and was a great ambassador to the game of baseball.
“He was an inspiration to all. Even after he retired he inspired kids to be great baseball players and great citizens.”
In addition to Nolan Ryan, Murff also signed Mets standout catcher Jerry Grote, and is credited for encouraging Phil Niekro to use the knuckleball in game situations.