ARLINGTON -- Before dawn broke on northern Texas Wednesday, a small group of Yankees climbed onto a charter plane and settled in for a short trip north to Oklahoma City. There, injuries and slumps and wins didn't matter. There, the Yankees paid respects to one of their own.
Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, manager Joe Girardi and others traveled to Oklahoma City for a memorial service in honor of Bobby Murcer, the longtime Yankees outfielder and broadcaster. One faction flew from Texas, where the Yankees are stationed during four games against the Rangers, while another group flew from New York.
When both groups arrived, they were met with emotion.
"It was incredible," Pettitte said. "They just did a wonderful ceremony for him, and I'm glad I went. I just felt like I needed to go. It was great. They did a good tribute to the man, and it was pretty special."
The tribute included several speakers and video tributes to Murcer, who passed away last month after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.
"I'm glad I had an opportunity to go," Jeter said. "They did a real nice job."
Along with the current players and manager, the Yankees were represented by executive vice president Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman, Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and a group of team broadcasters. All of them had spent much time over the years with Murcer, one of the most iconic Yankees of his generation.
Murcer was originally diagnosed with a brain tumor late in 2006, and has been battling the effects of brain cancer ever since. An Oklahoma native and the heir to Mickey Mantle's position in center field, Murcer remained with the team as a broadcaster throughout the years leading up to his death.
And because the Yankees were in Texas, roughly a 35-minute flight from Oklahoma City, several of them had the opportunity to attend his Wednesday memorial.
"Awesome, but hard," was how Girardi described it. "A lot of tears, but to listen to the tributes from all the people, it was inspiring. It was sad because you miss Bobby so much, but it was a great event."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.