Open main menu

Dwayne Keith Murphy (born March 18, 1955) is a former Major League Baseball player who spent most of his career playing for the Oakland Athletics as an outfielder.

Dwayne Murphy
Dwayne Murphy 2009.jpg
Murphy as Blue Jays first base coach, 2009.
Center fielder
Born: (1955-03-18) March 18, 1955 (age 64)
Merced, California
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 8, 1978, for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1989, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
Batting average.246
Home runs166
Runs batted in609
Teams
Career highlights and awards

During much of his time in Oakland, Murphy batted second in the lineup behind hall-of-famer Rickey Henderson. He was one of the best defensive outfielders of his time, receiving six consecutive Gold Gloves from 1980 through 1985. He is currently the minor league assistant hitting coach and outfield coordinator for the Texas Rangers, after previously serving as a coach in the Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays organizations.

Contents

Playing careerEdit

Oakland (1978–87)Edit

Murphy was born in Merced, California, about 120 miles from Oakland. After graduating from Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, California, Murphy was drafted in the 15th round in the 1973 draft by the Oakland Athletics, after turning down a football scholarship from Arizona State University.[1] He came up to the majors for the first time in 1978 at age 23. He would spend the large bulk of his career with Oakland.

Murphy struggled in his rookie year. While he only played in 60 games that season, he managed to collect just 10 hits in 52 plate appearances (giving him an .182 batting average) and he did not hit a home run. His numbers improved as he became the A's everyday center fielder. His power numbers grew as well. The Athletics in the early 1980s had an outfield of Murphy, Rickey Henderson, and Tony Armas, and many saw it as the best young outfield in baseball.[2]

The A's made the playoffs in 1981, where they lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. In those playoffs, Murphy hit .421 and hit one home run in six games. Murphy's biggest offensive year came in 1984, where he hit 33 home runs and drove in 88 runs. Murphy also drew many walks which led to a very high on-base percentage, and had excellent speed on the base paths. He stole 26 bases in both 1980 and 1982.

Murphy hit second in the lineup throughout most of his career with the A's batting behind Rickey Henderson. Henderson credits Murphy for helping him set the single-season stolen-base record of 130 steals in 1982.[3] After Henderson stole his 119th base that season, he pulled the base up out of the ground and kept it. Afterwards, in an interview, he said, "If I could break this base in half, I'd give the other half to Dwayne Murphy." Murphy also credits Henderson with helping him have a good career. "I took a lot of pitches for him", Murphy said. "He made my career, I believe, because I let him steal and that put me in a position to knock in runs. I loved to watch him play. Let him steal second, let him steal third, knock him in. It gave me a respectable career."

Like Henderson, Murphy also had good speed. He stole 26 bases in both 1980 and 1982. He also had good power numbers. His biggest offensive year came in 1984, when he hit 33 home runs and drove in 88 runs. He was one of the best defensive players in the game, winning an incredible six straight Gold Gloves from 1980 to 1985. His signature play became a trademark of sorts for him – his hat blowing off his head on virtually every play he made, from tracking down routine fly balls to making spectacular catches deep in the Valley.

During his nine years with the Athletics, he played under managers Billy Martin and Tony La Russa.

Detroit (1988) and Philadelphia (1989)Edit

After ten seasons in Oakland, he spent his final two seasons with the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies. He played in 49 games with the Tigers in 1988, hitting .250 and hitting four home runs. In his final season with the Phillies, he hit just .218 and hit 9 home runs.

Yakult Swallows (1990)Edit

In 1990, he joined the Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball's Central League in Japan. Injuries limited his effectiveness, and the Swallows released him in August.

Coaching careerEdit

Following his playing career, Murphy began a coaching career. He coached with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 1998 to 2003, including serving as hitting coach in 2001, when the Diamondbacks won the World Series. In 2005, he was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays as a hitting coach, first for the Blue Jays' triple-A affiliate, the Syracuse SkyChiefs, and then later as a "roving" instructor, visiting all the team's minor league clubs to help players with hitting.

He held that position when he was named the team's first base coach on June 20, 2008, in the wake of Cito Gaston's nomination to replace the fired John Gibbons as Blue Jay manager.[4] Blue Jays' outfielder Adam Lind revealed at the time that he had an intimate relationship with Murphy, "He keeps me loose", Lind said. "He can dish it out and take it, too. Some coaches you have more of a formal, professional relationship with. With him, you have fun. He talks about how good he was, and I tell him how bad he is. Yeah, he had a good career. At least that's what he keeps telling me."[5]

On October 30, 2009 he became the Blue Jays' hitting coach, following the retirement of Gene Tenace.[6] Along with Cito Gaston, Murphy was credited with helping José Bautista's transformation into a superstar by changing his swing.[7] On November 24, 2012, after John Gibbons was re-hired as the team's manager, Murphy was appointed as the Blue Jays' first base coach and outfield coach.[8]

Murphy announced his retirement following the 2013 season.[9] However, on January 13, 2015, he was hired by the Texas Rangers to be their new minor league assistant hitting coach and outfield coordinator.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Murphy is an avid bass guitar player.[11] He helped fund MC Hammer's first label "Bust It Records" and first album Feel My Power.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 1987 Topps baseball card # 743
  2. ^ Slusser, Susan (June 1, 2015). 100 Things A's Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. Triumph Books. p. 240.
  3. ^ Jenkins, Bruce (August 29, 1982). "Henderson hails teammate's aid in setting record". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  4. ^ Robinson, Alan (June 20, 2008). "Blue Jays fire manager Gibbons, rehire Cito Gaston". USA Today.
  5. ^ Griffin, Richard (June 29, 2008). "Young outfielder Lind finds a friend in Gaston". Toronto Star. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  6. ^ Griffin, Richard (October 31, 2009). "Jays get much-needed shakeup". Toronto Star. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  7. ^ Schoenfield, David (October 19, 2015). "How Jose Bautista became Jose Bautista". ESPN.
  8. ^ Harrison, Doug (November 26, 2012). "Blue Jays name 5 coaches under manager John Gibbons". CBC Sports. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  9. ^ Lott, John (October 7, 2013). "Toronto Blue Jays' coaching shakeup: Chad Mottola dismissed, Dwayne Murphy retires". National Post. Archived from the original on October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  10. ^ Stevenson, Stefan (January 13, 2015). "Rangers name minors coordinators, sign 8 players to minor league deals". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  11. ^ Fimrite, Ron (May 10, 1982). "A well matched set". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  12. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (October 1, 1989). "M.C. Hammer gets into the swing of things". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 November 2017.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Franchise established
Arizona Diamondbacks first base coach
1998–2000
Succeeded by
Eddie Rodríguez
Preceded by
Jim Presley
Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Rick Schu
Preceded by
Ernie Whitt
Torey Lovullo
Toronto Blue Jays first base coach
2008–2009
2013
Succeeded by
Omar Malavé
Tim Leiper
Preceded by
Gene Tenace
Toronto Blue Jays hitting coach
2010–2012
Succeeded by
Chad Mottola