Local pitching standout Steve Mura to be inducted into Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Star Pitcher Made His Mark at High School, College, and Professional Levels
NEW ORLEANS – Steve Mura, a legendary pitcher at Redemptorist High School and Tulane University who won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, has been selected for induction into the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
Mura is one of four standout local sports figures who will be added to the Hall of Fame this year. Each year’s Hall of Fame class is selected by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, a group of current and former media members who annually recognize a variety of annual award-winners, as well as the Hall of Fame, the Corbett Awards and the Eddie Robinson Award. The group also selects the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month each month.
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2023
Story provided by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee
Steve Mura established himself as one of the most successful pitchers in New Orleans history in the 1970s and 80s with statistics that speak for themselves while boggling the mind. However, Mura is far more likely to talk about his teammates and the joy of pitching than any individual accomplishments.
“All I can remember is somebody handed me a baseball when I was five years old and I’ve been throwing it ever since,” he said – though admitting he stopped throwing batting practice at 50.
Mura’s success started early and continued for his entire career. The right-hander led his team to the 1973 Louisiana American Legion Championship and the New Orleans Boosters to the 1974 All-American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) Championship Game in Johnstown. He then helped Tulane – a program that had a total of two 20-win campaigns before his arrival – to three straight 20-win seasons. From there, it was on to professional baseball where he won championships with three different minor league teams. And it all culminated on the biggest stage as he earned a World Series ring after his St. Louis Cardinals took down the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1982 World Series.
“I was very fortunate, I got a ring playing in Walla Walla (Wash.) in A ball.” Mura said. “I got a ring in Double-A in Amarillo; I got a ring playing in Denver (AAA) and I got a big-league ring, So I have four rings, all hidden in a drawer somewhere.”
Mura’s first national experience came when he led the Boosters to the AAABA title game. He posted a perfect 4-0 record and was named the Tournament MVP. He was inducted into the AAABA Hall of Fame in 1997. That team was coached by Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Famers Rags Scheuermann and Skeeter Theard, the latter of whom also coached Mura at Redemptorist.
“Sometimes you don’t hear as much about summer ball, but our All-American team was a great team,” Mura said. “You take all the best guys from different teams and we went up to Johnstown, Pa., and played in a very tough [national] tournament. You get to play with all of these guys that were your opponents through high school; and now they’re your teammates. It’s such a great feeling because you’ve been trying to get them out for two years and all of a sudden you’re pulling for them.”
Late in his high school career, coach Milt Retif, also a Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Famer, made Mura an offer to pitch for his Tulane squad.
“I was just playing week to week, I wasn’t thinking down the road,” Mura remembered. “But when Coach Retif came knocking on the door, I was thrilled, my mom and dad were thrilled. My older brother went to Tulane, so it worked out great.”
Mura was a standout as a freshman for the Green Wave. When Retif stepped down he was replaced by Joe Brockhoff, yet another Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Famer.
“I wasn’t really sure what I had with Steve,” Brockhoff remembered. “But he started my first game as head coach, against Spring Hill. Those Spring Hill hitters didn’t have a chance. I saw them just fold up against him. That’s when I realized how good he was.”
He went on to become an All-American pitcher for the Green Wave – in 1976, he led the nation in strikeouts with 158 in 96 1/3 innings. He also posted a 1.33 ERA (No. 3 all-time at Tulane) in 1975 followed by a 1.40 ERA (No. 4) in 1976. His career earned-run average of 1.71 remains the best all-time for the Green Wave while his 27 complete games are tied for No. 2 and his 308 strikeouts and 10.51 strikeouts per nine innings both rank No. 4.
“He had the best breaking curve ball I ever saw,” Brockhoff said. “Pete Rose even said that Steve had the best curve ball in the major leagues. Defense had a holiday when Steve pitched for us – he was just that good. I used to tell the team, Steve’ll get 15 outs, we just need to figure out how to get the other 12. Not only was he a good pitcher, but he was a good person. He always contributed to the team and not just with his pitching, he was a great teammate.”
“I just loved pitching and I hated losing,” Mura said. “My goal was always to go nine innings. I was pretty upset with myself when I didn’t complete a game; fortunately, most of the time, I did it. It probably added a little wear and tear on my arm, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”
A second-round selection of the San Diego Padres in 1976, Mura made his big-league debut on September 5, 1978. After three full seasons with the Padres (1979-81), he was part of a blockbuster trade that included Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith in 1981. He then had his best season as a pro in 1982, posting a 12-11 record with a 4.05 ERA for the eventual world champion St. Louis Cardinals, including a six-game winning streak in July and August. After one year with the Cardinals, he played for the Chicago White Sox (1983) and the Oakland A’s (1985) before retiring.
“To be selected for this Hall of Fame is a huge honor,” Mura said. “For a kid that grew up in the Irish Channel playing for New Orleans Recreation Department and Redemptorist High School, and then Tulane, it’s a big deal. It’s such an honor to even be considered. I wish my mom and dad were still alive to enjoy it also.”
Overall, 24 individuals and three teams will be honored this year for their achievements at the Committee’s annual awards banquet on Saturday, August 5. Honorees are currently being announced over a two-week period, wrapping up with the Corbett Awards for the top male and female amateur athletes in the state on July 28.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl will continue announcing its awards tomorrow (Thursday) with the final member of the 2023 Class of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 27 (Thursday)
Corbett Award – Female: July 28 (Friday)
Corbett Award – Male: July 28 (Friday)
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee came together when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month and a variety of annual award winners. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month as well as a range of annual awards – the honors enter their 67th year in 2023.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 102 Hall of Fame players, 52 Hall of Fame coaches and 21 Heisman Trophy winners in its 89-year history. The 90th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2024. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting nearly $2.4 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.
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