This story was originally published on November 28, 2018 on WFAA.com for Texas-OU week.
We’ve all seen the video, from an otherwise pedestrian 2001 Spring Training game, when Hall-of-Fame lefty Randy Johnson hit a bird in mid-flight with a pitch. A feathery white firework spells the poor dove’s demise, leaving behind a cloud of plumage that dusts the left-handed batter’s box.
The moment is a spectacle – a case of timing about as scientifically improbable as finding identical snowflakes.
But, because it’s Red River Rematch time, a real-life sports “Easter egg” was unearthed, at least for me, courtesy of a tweet by @MearnsPSA.
The batter at the plate during the avian assassination was Calvin Murray, the uncle of Oklahoma quarterback and Allen High School grad Kyler Murray.
Calvin Murray played five major league seasons as an outfielder, including part of his final year with the Texas Rangers in 2002. In 2001, he split time between Triple-A and the majors with the San Francisco Giants organization.
Murray, now 47, ironically played his college ball at the University of Texas.
His nephew is the likely Heisman runner-up for Oklahoma. But, like his uncle, baseball is actually his “better” sport – he was picked in the first round of last summer’s MLB Draft and signed a $5 million contract with the Oakland A’s, who are allowing him to play one year as OU’s quarterback.