Murtaugh ran for 14 issues (from the mid-1980s through the late 1990s), edited by Spike Vrusho as an amalgam of punk rock and baseball angst based on the resilient career of former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh.
It began in Columbus, Ohio, but boredom forced it to move to Brooklyn, NY and enjoy Red Hook and Williamsburg in the late 1980s. The unproduced Issue 14 was to feature the truck Billy Martin died in as presented by the voluptuous Queen Itchie in an eerie upstate New York setting. Vrusho produced a limited edition color All-Star version of Murtaugh which he sold outside Three Rivers Stadium at the 1994 MLB All-Star game, completely financing his Greyhound bus trip to Pittsburgh. Joe Garagiola was personally presented with an issue. Legendary commercial director Joe Pytka, a yinzer, was also presented with a Murtaugh t-shirt.
Other celebrity ambushed readers included Jim Jarmusch outside Max Fish, Matrina Navratilova at Sugar Reef, a New York Yankees lawyer and former Bucco skipper Bill Virdon. Murtaugh and Vrusho were also featured in the pages of Pittsburgh magazine.
Bands such as Cell, The Trick Babys, Mark Mothersbaugh, Idaho, Crawlpappy, The Hangdogs, the Astro Zombies and others were interviewed in the pages of Murtaugh. Cartoonist Tony Millionaire contributed a legendary strip called Batty, which centered on a boozy geriatric player/manager. Other contributors included the graphic artist and Central Ohio survivor Shawn Wolfe, troublemaker Selwyn Harris, author Bart Plantenga, artists Jim Gibbs and Zeet Peabody, industry type D.R. Stewart, Central Ohio survivor Marc Blubaugh, printmaker Daisy DeCapite, visionary Jon Sarkin, cartoonist Sam Henderson, tornado-survivor David Johnson, industrial designer Stewart Verrilli, musicians Ray Ecke, David Lowe, left-wing rocker Matthew Grimm, artist Brian Krall, toy designer Eric Shank, comix enabler Helena Harvilicz, activist Nina Ascoly, drummer Kevin Baier, Brenda Starr-reincarnate Bonnie Pfister, the mask-wearing Bronx-based poet Prologue and the sultry Pittsburgh-born chemist Maura Mostowy who likes metal.
Spike Vrusho, who wrote for New York Press back in the William Monahan days and later edited a raucous one-year run of the New York Sports Express weekly that was criminally exterminated by complete idiots at Avalon Equity Partners, can be reached at email@example.com, or by hiring his cab in Rhinebeck, New York.
Vrusho's first book, a humorous survey of baseball violence entitled "Benchclearing: Baseball's Greatest Fights and Riots" was published in March of 2008 by Lyons Press.