Todd remembers telling his father a couple of years ago he wanted to play golf instead of baseball. No big deal for most eighth graders, but Todd's last name is Murcer and his dad, Bobby, slugged 252 home runs in the major leagues.
"He took it real well," Todd said. "He said if that's what I really wanted then golf was my best bet."
Todd Murcer, 15, carries a 75 stroke average as a 5-foot-5, 120-pound sophomore at Heritage Hall. He's already the best player for the Chargers, who are favored to win the Class 2A state golf championship Monday in Seminole.
"I enjoyed baseball, but I liked golf a little more," Murcer said.
"They're both played during the same time. You have to make a choice.
I chose golf. It wasn't that tough."
The Murcers have maintained their home in Oklahoma City, where Bobby starred in football and baseball at Southeast High before signing with the New York Yankees in 1964. While Bobby went off each spring to play 18 seasons with Yankees, Giants, Cubs and Yankees again, Todd stayed in Oklahoma City and played little league baseball as a pitcher and shortstop. Sometimes he was the only player who didn't have his father at the game.
During the summer, Todd would join his father for weeks at a time.
He got to know Yankee Stadium well enough to find his way to the wives' lounge during the middle innings. He'd turn on TV and watch golf.
"I'd also watch movies and anything but baseball," Murcer said.
"I was around baseball all my life and I got a little bored with it.
It's a great sport, and I really liked playing it, but watching it day after day got old."
Bobby Murcer, 38, ended his playing career on June 20, 1983, except for a much publicized three-game stint a couple of weeks ago with the Yankees' Class A team in Fort Lauderdale. He now serves in the Yankees front office as assistant vice president for baseball administration.
The last time the Murcers played a round of golf together, Todd went two under par for the back nine at Quail Creek Country Club. Bobby is an "eight to 10 handicapper" who swings as he bats from the left side.
"I've never seen Todd play in a tournament," said Bobby, when reached by phone while on assignment in Washington D.C., "but every time I'm home I can see improvement. He'll probably beat me all the time from now on.
"Golf's a terrific game. It takes a special person to excel in golf because it's not a team sport. Baseball is a game of individual skills, but it also involves a team. Even if you do bad, if the team wins your performance is overlooked. But in golf if you do bad you're in the spotlight."
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