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."
Bobby said he never tried to steer Todd into baseball. But the serious tone of his voice revealed that innate desire of a father wanting to watch his son follow in his tracks.
"I'm not saying this just because I'm his dad, but I think Todd could become a tremendous baseball player," Bobby said. "He has all the coordination. He has great hand-to-eye coordination. If he wanted to, he could go far in baseball.
"I think he's been a little worried about his size. But he's a late bloomer. I was the same way when I was growing up." Bobby is 5-11, 190.
Todd has a fluid golf swing and a mean short game, no pun intended.
He shot 76-71 Monday to place third in the Class 2A regional tournament at Weatherford.
"He definitely has some of his father's athletic ability," said Heritage Hall coach Rod Warner, "and he has a lot of determination to excel in what he's doing. We encourage our students to participate in as many sports as possible, but Todd isn't in anything else because he's afraid of the time he'd take away from golf."
Compared to most top junior players, Murcer got a late start in the game. His played in his first tournament in 1983.
Todd goes to several teaching pros and players for lessons. One is former Central State player Cliff Merritt, who now works at Oak Tree Country Club.
"He's got a lot of talent," Merritt said. "He just needs some size. As soon as he gets some size he'll be unstoppable. You can tell he's a great athlete by the tempo his swing has.
"He really loves the game. I don't think he ever felt he had to follow in his dad's footsteps. They sure would be big shoes to fill."
Murcer looks forward to playing in an American Junior Golf Association tournament Aug. 5-9 in Buffalo, N.Y. Bobby is expected to be in the gallery.
"He's never seen me play in a tournament and I really want him to be proud of me," Todd said. "I want him to want me to do well in golf.
"I guess there would have been more pressure if I'd gone baseball.
Everybody would be waiting for me to follow in my dad's footsteps. That kind of thing isn't fair, just like it wasn't fair that they put my dad in Mickey Mantle's footsteps." BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 229269