Northeast Times

Nothing minor about it

Philly nat­ive Sean Murphy, who was draf­ted by the Oak­land A’s last year, is now start­ing in Class A ac­tion.

Sean Murphy is liv­ing the dream. 

Lit­er­ally. 

A Fishtown nat­ive and 2006 gradu­ate of North Cath­ol­ic High School, Murphy was draf­ted by the Oak­land A’s last year and now — al­most one year later to the date — he has scored a start­ing role in Class A ac­tion. 

On June 12, the 6-foot-6, 215-pound hurl­er made his first minor-league start after be­ing pro­moted from rook­ie ball. He tossed six in­nings, al­lowed six hits, struck out five and al­lowed just one run (1.50 ERA) as the Stock­ton Ports downed the Bakersfield Blaze, 4-2. Murphy got the win. 

“It’s really great,” he said. “It’s def­in­itely a dream job just to play base­ball and get paid and travel around, meet new people and see the coun­try. It’s an awe­some job. I love it.”

Murphy has been em­bra­cing his no­mad­ic life­style over the past year. After hear­ing his name an­nounced in the 33rd round of the first-year play­er draft on June 9, 2010, he packed his bags for Ari­zona. 

He quickly found his second home with the Ari­zona Ath­let­ics, a squad in the Oak­land A’s minor-league sys­tem. 

“I spent the sum­mer there,” re­called the righthan­ded hurl­er, who is armed with a 93-mph fast­ball. “I was work­ing as a closer to­ward the end of the year. I had a pretty good sea­son.”

Murphy fin­ished his rook­ie year un­defeated with three wins. He re­cor­ded a 2.57 ERA and struck out 32 bat­ters in 21 in­nings of ac­tion. He walked only eight. 

“This year, while we were in ex­ten­ded spring train­ing, I got offered a spot start­ing in Stock­ton, Cali­for­nia,” ex­plained Murphy, who pitched only six in­nings for Stock­ton in the Cali­for­nia League be­fore he was moved to the Bur­l­ing­ton Bees, his cur­rent team. “Now I’m in Iowa in the Mid­w­est League. It’s a good league. I really do like it. 

“It’s a lot of corn­fields,” he ad­ded with a laugh. “It’s cool. It’s very dif­fer­ent than Phil­adelphia, but I like it.”

The Bur­l­ing­ton Bees cur­rently are in fifth place in the Mid­west­ern League with a 5-6 re­cord. Murphy has seen 16.2 in­nings of game ac­tion thus far, al­low­ing 23 hits while fan­ning ten and walk­ing four. 

The Bees took two wins from their three-game series with Pe­or­ia from June 30 through Ju­ly 1. Bur­l­ing­ton downed Ce­dar Rap­ids 5-4 on Ju­ly 3, but lost the second match­up on that series, fall­ing 2-6 on Ju­ly 4. The squad was slated to close out the series on Tues­day, however, that game was played after the Times went to press this week. 

The gruel­ing sched­ule of a minor leaguer hasn’t been too bru­tal for Murphy. A lifelong com­pet­it­or on the dia­mond — he played for the Fishtown Ath­let­ic Club, the Brides­burg Amer­ic­an Le­gion and the RBI Phil­lies as an am­a­teur — Murphy has learned to handle his de­mand­ing sched­ule. 

“I just love base­ball so much,” said Murphy. “I love hav­ing con­trol of the game and pitch­ing. I don’t mind trav­el­ing around. I love see­ing the United States. I’m thrilled to have this op­por­tun­ity.

“It’s def­in­itely a cool feel­ing to see the love I get from the little kids,” he ad­ded. “When you’re warm­ing up, you have hun­dreds of kids who want your auto­graph. They stand out­side your lock­er room and want to take pic­tures with you. It’s a really cool feel­ing.”

Murphy got a glimpse of this new­found status after be­ing draf­ted last year. When the news broke, he was at­tend­ing Key­stone Col­lege in up­state Pennsylvania. By the time he re­turned to his Phil­adelphia home, every­body knew the name Sean Murphy. 

“My mom (Lor­raine) had a get­ting-draf­ted party at our house,” he re­called. “There were all Ath­let­ics stick­ers every­where. Every­body in my neigh­bor­hood, in Fishtown, was con­grat­u­lat­ing me, ask­ing me for my auto­graph. It was really cool and ex­cit­ing.

“I’ll nev­er for­get when it first happened, it just hit me — my dream is com­ing true,” he con­tin­ued. “I couldn’t be­lieve it. Get­ting draf­ted was gut wrench­ing. I was boun­cing off the walls, jump­ing up and down. It was awe­some.”

Murphy won’t have a chance to re­turn to his Philly roots un­til the off­season, and un­til then, it’s all busi­ness for the 22-year-old as­pir­ing ma­jor-leaguer. 

“I’m hop­ing to get a call-up by the end of year,” said Murphy. “I feel like I’m get­ting closer and closer to the big leagues. I just want to get there. It’s day in and day out, work­ing my butt off, but that’s ba­sic­ally the ob­ject: to get moved up as fast as pos­sible. The faster you get moved up, the closer you get to the big leagues. 

“I would just love to play in a ma­jor league sta­di­um,” he ad­ded. “It would be in­cred­ible to have my friends and fam­ily come watch me play pro­fes­sion­al base­ball.”  ull;•

Ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­erkov@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at myerkov@bsmphilly.com.

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