(AJC) – A longtime Atlanta Braves season ticket-holder was seen passionately rooting against a Yankees slugger when he toppled over the upper-level railing at Turner Field on Saturday night, falling to his death on the concrete at least 40 feet below.
Murrey’s death marked the third fatal fall at Turner Field since 2008, though a 2013 incident was ruled a suicide and the circumstances of each incident have differed.
Murrey’s death was also the 24th fatal fall at a baseball park since 1969, according to Robert Gorman, co-author of a book titled “Death at the Ballpark.” Atlanta has had the most.
And while alcohol often contributes to falls at baseball parks, and suicides account for some, there’s one main reason Gorman cited for why people fall watching America’s pastime: the size of the stadiums.
More than 49,000 people were at the Braves’ Saturday night game, but many were unaware of the commotion that happened behind home plate. Others saw an image they can’t forget: the 60-year-old Murrey falling head first, somehow avoiding landing on anyone else as he hit the concrete below.
“It was surreal,” said Donnie Marley of Fayetteville, N.C. “It was like, ‘Did I just see that happen?’”
It was the top of the seventh inning, and Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez had been announced as the next batter. Rodriguez, 40, returned to baseball this year after a 2014 suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, and Braves fans weren’t very welcoming.
Murrey was among those booing, and he had stood up from his second-row seat in the 400 level when he lost his balance, witnesses said. He passed through those in the front row as he toppled over the railing, landing in section 202.