Club MLB turns spotlight on Murphy
Mets slugger set to answer questions from young fans
If there's one silver lining to all the Mets injuries this season, it's Daniel Murphy, who has quickly become a mainstay in the Queens clubhouse.
With Carlos Delgado sidelined, Murphy has run into some serious playing time in his second big league season, receiving his fair share of time as the cleanup hitter while providing defense beyond his years at first base. That is on top of a stellar rookie campaign, when he hit .313 in 49 games.
The up-and-coming slugger is the latest big leaguer to be in the Club MLB Mailbag spotlight, and oung fans will have the opportunity to contribute to the interview by e-mailing any questions they have for 24-year-old.
Murphy's story doesn't start in New York -- it starts in Jacksonville, Fla., where he was born on April 1, 1985. He may have been born on April Fool's Day, but Murphy's hitting ability is no joke.
Since he picked up a bat for the first time at age five, through his college career at Jacksonville University, Murphy has always shined with a smooth swing and great plate discipline. Murphy was a "hitter." It didn't matter where on the field he played or how many stolen bases he racked up. All Murphy cared about was making contact with the ball. In fact, when he arrived to his first college baseball tryout as a freshman, the players were introducing themselves to the team by saying their name and fielding position. When it came Murphy's turn, he comically said, "My name is Daniel Murphy and I bat third."
Although he might not have recognized it at the time, there was more to Murphy than just hitting.
Drafted as a third baseman by the Mets in the 13th round of the 2006 First-Year Player draft, he rose through the Mets' farm system by playing a solid third. When it came time to promote him to the Majors, the Mets had a tough decision to make. The heart of the big league team -- David Wright -- safely occupied Murphy's natural position, so he had to attempt a new position for the first time -- left field.
Although left field did not come easily to Murphy, who had a few misplays, he showed some signs of improvement with a diving or leaping catch here and there. This year, when Carlos Delgado went down with a serious injury, Murphy took a stab at playing first base. Murphy has not only filled the void at first, but also done so with flying colors. On his toes and playing aggressively, Murphy has turned heads including, that of Keith Hernandez, a former gold glove Mets first baseman.
Outside of his versatility on the baseball diamond, Murphy has other interests. Murphy embraces his strong Irish and Southern roots. This year, along with Linkin Park's "What have I Done," He decided to make his walk-up song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by The Dropkick Murphys, a song that mixes hardcore rock with a classic Irish melody.
Although baseball is his one true sport, Murphy enjoys other sports and is actually not a bad swimmer. In fact, he swam with his high school team that made it to state finals.
When he's not on the field or in the cage, Murphy treasures spending time with his family and idolizes his two parents, whom he credits for much of his baseball success. It's interesting to note that when Murphy was young, he naturally decided to swing lefty. Finding it odd that a child who did just about everything else righty would swing lefty, Murphy mother wanted to change him into a righty hitter. After his father warned against meddling with his swing, his parents decided to let him bat lefty -- and boy did it work out!
Drawing comparisons to even the likes of Pete Rose, Murphy has burst onto the scene at the age of 24. And you have to believe the best is yet to come.
David Connoris a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.