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Johnny Murphy
Johnny Murphy 1947.jpg
Murphy in 1947
Born: (1908-07-14)July 14, 1908
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: January 14, 1970(1970-01-14) (aged 61)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 19, 1932, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
September 16, 1947, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record93–53
Earned run average3.50
Career highlights and awards

John Joseph Murphy (July 14, 1908 – January 14, 1970) was an All-Star American right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball (1932, 1934–43, 1946–47) who later became a front office executive in the game.

Yankees' relief ace

After attending Fordham University in his native New York City, the 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 190 lb (86 kg) Murphy signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees in 1929. In 1934, his first full season with the Yankees, Murphy started 20 games (completing 10); for the remaining 11 years of his major league career, he would start only 20 games more, as he became one of the top bullpen specialists of his day. Moreover, his Yankees were one of the most powerful teams of all time, winning consecutive World Series championships from 1936 to 1939, and again in 1941 and 1943. Murphy's teammates included Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez—and, through 1934, Babe Ruth. Murphy spent his final year in the American League with the 1947 Boston Red Sox.

Overall, he appeared in 415 games, 383 as a Yankee, winning 93, losing 53 (for a winning percentage of .637) with an earned run average of 3.50. He led the AL in wins for a relief pitcher seven times. While the save was not then an official statistic, Murphy four times led the AL in that category, and he was the first pitcher to reach 100 career saves, finishing with 107. In 1,045 career innings pitched, he allowed more bases on balls (444) than strikeouts (378), and 985 hits. His career WHIP was 1.367.[1]

In eight World Series games and 16+13 innings (spread over six different Series), Murphy won two games, lost none, saved four, and posted an ERA of 1.10. Nicknamed "Fordham Johnny", "Fireman" and "Grandma" (either for his rocking-chair pitching motion, or his fastidious nature[2]), Murphy was on seven World Series winning teams, the most of any pitcher in history.

Executive with Red Sox and Mets

When his playing days ended, Murphy briefly scouted for the Red Sox, then entered the Boston front office when owner Tom Yawkey appointed him Director of Minor League Operations. Murphy spent 13 seasons running the Red Sox' farm and scouting systems until his dismissal following the 1960 season. In 1961, he joined former Yankees farm director and general manager George Weiss in the front office of Gotham's National League expansion team, the New York Mets.

Rising to the position of vice president, Murphy briefly donned a uniform and joined the Mets' coaching staff for the final 11 games of the 1967 campaign during Salty Parker's term as acting manager. Then, following that season, Murphy returned to the Met front office and took over the general manager responsibilities when Bing Devine returned to his longtime employers, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Front-office boss of "Miracle Mets"

As one of his first tasks, Murphy secured the services of manager Gil Hodges, under contract to the Washington Senators, by acquiring Hodges in a November 27, 1967, trade for pitcher Bill Denehy.[3] Murphy's promotion to the GM role also coincided with the Mets' unveiling of some of the best young pitching talent of the era—including Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman, Tug McGraw, and others. With Hodges in command, the 1969 Miracle Mets stunned the baseball community by winning the NL East, sweeping Atlanta in the NLCS, then defeating a heavily favored Baltimore Orioles squad in five World Series games.


However, not quite three months later, Murphy suffered a heart attack and died at age 61 early on January 14, 1970, in New York City.[4] He was succeeded by Bob Scheffing.

His older brother Thomas was a federal prosecutor and judge.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Baseball Reference: MLB career statistics for Johnny Murphy
  2. ^ Vorperian, John. "Johnny Murphy". Society for American Baseball Research Biography Project. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Ultimate Mets Database - Bill Denehy". Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  4. ^ Cady, Steve (January 15, 1970). "Johnny Murphy is Dead at 61; General Manager of the Mets" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  5. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (October 31, 1995). "Thomas Murphy, Police Head And Prosecutor of Hiss, 89". New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2015.

External links

Preceded by All-Time Saves Leader
Succeeded by
Sporting positions
Preceded by New York Mets General manager
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 8 May 2023, at 09:15
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