July 14 – Happy Birthday Johnny Murphy

This Big Apple native son was the first great Yankee reliever. He had come up to the Yankees as a starter in 1934, winning 14 games in his rookie season. It was only after the Yankees paid him a starter’s salary that he agreed to the pleadings of then Manager Joe McCarthy, to become one of baseball’s first full-time relief specialists. During the next eight years he led the AL in relief victories six times and in saves, four times.

How important was Murphy to the Yankee’s great success during the late thirties? When New York’s Hall-of-Fame hurler, Lefty Gomez was asked how he felt before a big game, he responded, “How I feel isn’t important. The important thing is how Murphy feels!” McCarthy liked to refer to Murphy as “My pennant insurance.” Murphy was given the nickname “Fireman” and was so dominant in his role that that same nickname became the term used to describe each team’s best bullpen pitcher. In all, Murphy pitched 12 seasons in pinstripes with all but one of those seasons coming before he entered military service in 1943. He finished his Yankee career with a record of 93-53 and 107 saves. He then became a front office executive with the Red Sox and then the Mets. He passed away in 1970, at the age of 71.

This former Yankee third baseman and this long-ago starting pitcher both share Murphy’s July 14th birthday.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1932 NYY 0 0 16.20 2 0 2 0 0 0 3.1 7 6 6 0 3 2 3.000
1934 NYY 14 10 .583 3.12 40 20 13 10 0 4 207.2 193 79 72 11 76 70 1.295
1935 NYY 10 5 .667 4.08 40 8 19 4 0 5 117.0 110 67 53 7 55 28 1.410
1936 NYY 9 3 .750 3.38 27 5 12 2 0 5 88.0 90 38 33 5 36 34 1.432
1937 NYY 13 4 .765 4.17 39 4 30 0 0 10 110.0 121 59 51 7 50 36 1.555
1938 NYY 8 2 .800 4.24 32 2 26 1 0 11 91.1 90 47 43 5 41 43 1.434
1939 NYY 3 6 .333 4.40 38 0 34 0 0 19 61.1 57 33 30 2 28 30 1.386
1940 NYY 8 4 .667 3.69 35 1 28 0 0 9 63.1 58 27 26 5 15 23 1.153
1941 NYY 8 3 .727 1.98 35 0 31 0 0 15 77.1 68 20 17 1 40 29 1.397
1942 NYY 4 10 .286 3.41 31 0 26 0 0 11 58.0 66 27 22 2 23 24 1.534
1943 NYY 12 4 .750 2.51 37 0 32 0 0 8 68.0 44 22 19 2 30 31 1.088
1944 Did not play in major leagues (Military Service)
1945 Did not play in major leagues (Military Service)
1946 NYY 4 2 .667 3.40 27 0 24 0 0 7 45.0 40 22 17 4 19 19 1.311
13 Yrs 93 53 .637 3.50 415 40 293 17 0 107 1045.0 985 464 406 52 444 378 1.367
NYY (12 yrs) 93 53 .637 3.54 383 40 277 17 0 104 990.1 944 447 389 51 416 369 1.373
BOS (1 yr) 0 0 2.80 32 0 16 0 0 3 54.2 41 17 17 1 28 9 1.262
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2013.

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