Jim Murphy – 1B
How many minor league baseball players can you name who have sold raffle tickets for a fan to win their car? Probably none, right?
Well, now you can name one: Jim Murphy. The Reading Fightin’ Phils first baseman allowed the Fightins to sell tickets to fans from August until the end of the season, with proceeds benefiting Baseballtown Charities (Baseballtown is the name the Fightins have given to their own park – officially named FirstEnergy Park). Murphy’s ’91 Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign may not look like much, but the lucky fan who won that car, which included a cassette player and car phone (yes, you read that right), might one day have a major league player as its former owner.
He’s not just a used car salesman. The 6’4” Washington native graduated from Washington State in 2008, the same year the Phillies picked him in the 17th round of the First Year Draft. Murphy quickly moved through the two lower levels of the farm system, the rookie league and the short season league, finishing the year with three games with the Class A-Advanced Clearwater Threshers.
Though Murphy has spent a significant amount of time in the lower levels of the system, finally reaching Double-A this past season, that’s not for lack of talent. With players like Ryan Howard, Darin Ruf, and last season’s Triple-A first baseman Cody Overbeck ahead of him, Murphy is likely the next player to make the move to another position. “I played a few games in the outfield toward the end of the season, so I’m guessing that would be my next best chance,” Murphy said in a Twitter interview.
Sometimes it can be tough for players like Murphy, who has only had one season average below .250 in his professional career, to play for a team that can’t make it to the post-season. I always though minor leagues were more about proving yourself as an individual player than winning as a team – if you play well, if you play better than your teammates, you’ve got a better shot at that promotion. But Murphy proved me wrong there: “They go hand in hand. If your team does well, then it looks like each individual player is doing well. .255 looks better on a winner.”