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Nine Innings with Tom Murphy
By Phil Stanton
Murphy, a junior catcher at Buffalo, put up huge numbers a
season ago. Murphy led the Mid-American Conference with a .384
batting average and was named the MAC Player of the Year. He had
16 doubles, belted 10 home runs and drove in 44 in 52 games. He
received 21 walks and struck out 25 times. A native of West
Monroe, N.Y., Murphy posted an on-base percentage of .446 and
reached base safely in all but four games.
During the summer, Murphy was outstanding in the
New England Collegiate Baseball League and joined the United
States Collegiate National Team.
Murphy wanted to recognize his parents, Thomas
and Kelly, who have supported him throughout his career.
Murphy recently took time to answer our
First Inning – What did it mean to you to be
named 2011 MAC Player of the Year?
Winning the award was something I hadn't even
considered after the ending of our season because of the way our
team finished, even though I thought I had some of the better
personal stats in the league. To be given such an award is
really a culmination of good coaching, extremely hard work and
recognition from other coaches throughout the league and was a
Second Inning – How was your short experience
with Team USA this past summer?
Once again this happened to be another pleasant
surprise in my roller coaster of a year and possibly the best
one. To be named the top player in your conference is one thing
but to be given the opportunity to represent your country is a
whole different ballgame. It is something I will never forget
and I will always cherish that seven game-stint.
Third Inning – What were the keys to your
improvement from your freshman year to sophomore season?
It was kind of weird; one day my hitting coach
(at the time) Jim Koerner and I were doing some extra hitting
and it was like everything clicked. His exact words were "Tom,
for the first time in a year and a half I have nothing to say
about your swing." From then on my mechanics were established
and then I turned to the mental side of the game, including my
approach and really tried to perfect that and still am. Really
it was a year and a half process to get from where I was to
where I am and always having reinforcement from Coach Koerner
allowed everything to finally come together one day.
Inning – What are your goals for the 2012 campaign?
Obviously my goals on a personal level are
exactly the same as last year, that is to be the best catcher in
the country. Every year I am trying to be the best no matter
what it takes. But this year I'm really trying to do anything I
can to make our team winners. I'd love for nothing more than to
lead our team to MAC playoffs for the first time.
Fifth Inning – Which road trip are you most
looking forward to this season?
Really no road trip stands out in my mind as
being more important than the other. Every game I attack with
the same mental focus whether it’s a midweek game against
Niagara or the season opener at Kentucky.
Sixth Inning – What were the deciding
factors for you in choosing to attend Buffalo?
It came down to a couple things for me. I knew I
was going to be coached for success and I knew I was going to
get stronger. With Coach Torgalski and Coach Koerner here I knew
I would advance my skills greatly, especially on the offensive
end, and with Paul Childress and Nate Harvey, I knew how much
physically stronger I could get as they are both very
accomplished lifters. As a bonus, there is a farm about 30
minutes south of here that allows me to get my hunting fix in!
Seventh Inning – What is your major and what
do you plan to do at the conclusion of your baseball career?
Right now my major is Sociology and I really do
not know what I want to do after baseball, possibly become a
State Trooper or be a coach whether its baseball or strength and
Eighth Inning – Which way would you prefer to
end a game: hitting the game-winning homer or throwing out the
potential tying run at second on a stolen base attempt?
At this point in my career I would take any win I
could get! Everyone knows how hard it is to win and there is no
one single play that decides the outcome of the game. With that
being said, the hitter in me says to hit the home run!
Ninth Inning – Were you a catcher all through
youth baseball? Was there a major league catcher you most
Ever since playing in the North Shore Little
League under Dean Gass, Gary Ross, and my father, I have always
caught and wouldn't have it any other way! Growing up, I lived
for when the Yankees were playing on ESPN so I could watch my
favorite player of
all time, Jorge Posada.
(photos courtesy of Buffalo Media