The Obit For Ivan Murrell

Ivan Murrell, 1943-2006: 'Always willing to help'

October 12, 2006

PORT ST. LUCIE — Ivan Murrell had the ability to connect more than a bat to a ball — the Port St. Lucie resident and former Major League Baseball player also touched the lives of several area baseball players and people in the community.

Murrell, 63, died at the Treasure Coast Hospices Residence in Stuart on Sunday, but not before helping out a community filled with hopeful youths.

"He was kind of more of a legend after he got out of Major League Baseball," said Jeffrey Murrell, Ivan's son.
Whether it was buying sandwiches for a hungry group of kids at a baseball camp or funding a trip to the Caribbean for baseball players, Ivan always tried to benefit others.

"I remember growing up when we wouldn't be able to make enough money to go to the tournaments," said Ryan Strickland, who played under Ivan as a teenager. "He was always willing to help us out or reach into his own pockets when we needed it."

Strickland is one of many of Ivan's former players who have turned a love of baseball into a professional career. Strickland is in his third year as an administrative assistant and sales associate for the St. Lucie Mets and was flooded with calls from friends and family about Murrell's declining health.

"Ivan was one of those kind, loving individuals who always had a smile on his face," Hall of Famer and St. Lucie Mets manager Gary Carter said in a statement. "He was a supporter of my golf tournament over the years and was a friendly, outgoing individual who enjoyed life. His life was taken too quickly."

Despite Murrell's status as a former major-leaguer — he spent 10 seasons with three different organizations — the outfielder/first baseman had an easy approach to teaching baseball, Strickland said. Whether it was buying baseballs, playing in celebrity golf tournaments or driving kids across town for a game, Murrell provided a positive influence on the area's youth.

"He did an unbelievable amount for the baseball community," Strickland said. "He was just a very high-spirited person. He related with the kids unbelievably."

Jeffrey has spent much of the past few days opening letters from people asking for baseball advice or thanking Ivan for helping them move up the ranks.

"He would always tell me about different projects," Jeffrey said. "Every single time I talked with him, there was always somebody he was helping."

Jeffrey and former minor-leaguer Alex Cotto have set up the Ivan Murrell Foundation, a charity that helps give underprivileged kids educational opportunities in and out of baseball. For more information, e-mail or visit www.ivanmurrell. com. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the charity.

"It's sad to see him go at such a young age," Jeffrey said. "He's just an amazing guy."