Daniel Murphy

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Daniel Thomas Murphy

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Biographical Information[edit]

Daniel Murphy played in the same college infield as Anthony Bernazard, son of Tony Bernazard. Murphy was drafted by the New York Mets, where Bernazard was vice president of player development, in the 13th round of the 2006 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Steve Barningham and made his pro debut that summer.

Murphy picked up 7 hits in his first 15 Major League at-bats for the 2008 New York Mets after being called up in early August. He had spent most of the season up to that point with the AA Binghamton Mets. Murphy emerged as a prospect in 2007, his second season in professional baseball, by hitting 34 doubles and putting up a line of .285/.338/.430 with the St. Lucie Mets of the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. However, were it not for a slew of injuries among Mets outfielders in 2008, he would probably have had to wait another full year to make his big league debut.

When Murphy took three days of paternity leave for the birth of his first child in 2014, he missed Opening Day. A couple of talking heads in the media, including former NFL player Boomer Esiason, criticized Murphy for the move, but there was a large backlash in his favor and his manager and players spoke out in his support. MLB also got positive attention for being the only one of America's major four sports leagues with a league-wide paternity leave policy. The story didn't end there, as in June, he was invited to the White House by President Barack Obama to speak at a summit on working families. He had his best season that year as the Mets' starting second baseman, hitting .289 with 79 runs, and was named to the All-Star team for the first time.

Murphy was the hero of the first two rounds of the 2015 Postseason for the Mets. He homered three times in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, victimizing Clayton Kershaw twice and Zack Greinke once to lead the Mets to a three games to two win. Then in the NLCS he homered in all four games of a sweep over the Chicago Cubs to be named MVP of the Series. By homering in six straight postseason games - the last two of the Division Series and all four of the Championship Series - he broke the record of five set by Carlos Beltran in 2004. This was all the more remarkable that Murphy had hit only 14 homers in the regular season, and this was a career high. The hot hitting did not continue into the World Series, though, as he was 3 for 20 with all the hits being singles as the Mets lost in five games to the Kansas City Royals in the Fall Classic. He also made an egregious error at second base in Game 4, completing missing a ground ball by Eric Hosmer that allowed the Royals to score the tying run in the top of the 8th and eventually score the winning run. Having gone from hero to goat in a dizzying few days, he became a free agent after the season and on December 24th signed a three-year deal with the Washington Nationals worth $37.5 million.

Murphy had a memorable debut for the Nationals on April 4, 2016, as he homered and then hit a go-ahead double in the 10th inning to lead Washington to a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves. He continued to hit well after that, and after two weeks, he was leading all major league players with a .422 batting average. He was named the National League Player of the Month in May when he hit a scorching .416 with 8 doubles, 7 homers and 23 RBIs in 29 games. After playing in the 2016 All-Star Game, he was distinguished as the league's Player of the Month for a second time in July, when he batted .346 with 11 doubles, 6 homers and 23 RBIs. He was still leading the league in hitting, slugging, OPS and OPS+ and with the Nationals in first place, was a serious MVP candidate. He finished the year at .347 with 25 homers and 104 RBIs, while leading the NL in doubles (47), slugging percentage (.595) and OPS (.985). He then went 7 for 16 (.438) with 5 walks and 6 RBIs as the Nats were eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series. He finished second in the voting for the 2016 National League Most Valuable Player Award, behind Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs.

On April 25, 2017, he drove in 5 runs in a 15-12 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field; however, his thunder was stolen by double play partner Trea Turner who hit for the cycle and drove in 7 runs on the night. He played 144 games that season and hit .322, leading the NL with 43 doubles. He scored 94 runs, drove in 93 and belted 23 homers in what was another outstanding season with the bat. The Nationals repeated as division champions, but once again exited the postseason in the Divisional Series, losing in 5 games to the Cubs. He went 4 for 19 (.211) with a double and a homer in the five games. He started the 2-18 season on the disabled list, then started off slowly when he returned, hitting just .253 with 12 homer in 22 games before the All-Star break. However, he caught fire after that, hitting .340 in his next 28 games, but the team was not playing well at all. On August 21st, the Nats threw in the towel on the season and sent him to the Chicago Cubs in return for minor league infielder Andruw Monasterio and future considerations. In 35 games with the Cubs, he hit .297 to finish at .299 with 12 homers and 42 RBIs in 91 games, with an OPS+ of 106. He started the Wild Card Game against the Colorado Rockies at second base and went 0 for 4 with a walk as the Cubs made an early exit from the postseason.

Following the 2018 season, Murphy became a free agent and on December 20th he signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Rockies for $24 million. The Rockies were looking to raise their team batting average, which at .256 at been the lowest in team history the previous season. He was expected to be used at first base for the Rockies, a position at which they had received sub-par production from a number of different players over the past five or so seasons. In only the second game of the season, on March 29th, he broke a finger while fielding a grounder in the 4th inning of a game against the Miami Marlins. While he stayed in the game until the end and collected his first hit of the year, the finger began swelling and x-rays taken after the game showed a fracture at the tip of his left index finger. The injury sent him to the injured list until April 24th. He still managed to play 132 games and hit .279 with 13 homers and 78 RBIs. On the face of it, these looked like decent numbers, but as a starting first baseman playing in Coors Field, his OPS+ of 88 - the lowest of his career - was clearly inadequate. He fell further in the shortened 2020 season, hitting .236 with 3 homers and 16 RBIs in 40 games. This time, his OPS+ tumbled all the way to 54. He became a free agent after the season, and finding no interest in his services, announced his retirement on January 29th.

His brother, Jon Murphy, played in the minors from 2012 to 2014.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 3-time NL All-Star (2014, 2016 & 2017)
  • 2015 NLCS MVP
  • 2-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2016 & 2017/2B)
  • NL Slugging Percentage Leader (2016)
  • NL OPS Leader (2016)
  • 2-times NL Doubles Leader (2016 & 2017)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2016 & 2017)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (2016)

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler: "Mets postseason hero Murphy retires", mlb.com, January 29, 2021. [1]
  • Ted Berg: "9 things to know about Mets postseason hero Daniel Murphy", For the Win, USA Today Sports, October 21, 2015. [2]
  • Wayne Coffey: "How Daniel Murphy became one of baseball's best hitters", USA Today Sports, October 6, 2016. [3]
  • Jamal Collier: "Murphy remains in MVP form in postseason: Nats 2B still in stride despite being missing final 2 weeks of regular season", mlb.com, October 9, 2016. [4]
  • Jamal Collier: "Murphy finishes 2nd in NL MVP voting", mlb.com, November 17, 2016. [5]
  • Howard Megdal: "Daniel Murphy stays on grind even as he puts up superstar numbers", USA Today Sports, May 20, 2016. [6]

Related Sites[edit]