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John Cirillo is a graduate of Fordham University (FCRH ’78) and has been an adjunct professor in communication and media studies at his alma mater at Rose Hill since 1997.
New York, June 26-Jimmy Murphy has the poise, the maturity beyond his years, what in the olden days we used to call “New York moxie” (look it up), the determination, and oh yeah, the talent to be successful at any profession that he chooses.
From the 10 minute interview on September 12th last Fall that turned into an hour conversation with him when the Fordham pitcher applied for an internship at our PR firm Cirillo World (and how he doggedly pursued said internship on a teammate’s urging) to serving as our staff photographer to shoot the Michael Kay Show on ESPN NY Radio from Fordham (Kay’s alma mater) to a stellar complete game on May 18 against the Bonnies that kept his Rams in the A-10 playoff hunt, you knew “Thor” was a “keeper.”
Thor? Yes, I dubbed him so on that first day interview because his long, blonde, since-shorn locks somewhat resembled those of Mets hurler Noah Syndergaard.
Murphy immediately passed the Cirillo “eye test.” At first glance, he had that look of seriousness, passion, unafraid and calm as if to say “hey I’m ready for this!” that trainers look for in a racehorse, and employers look for in a young employee.
So much so that after his mound gem in May in Allegany, Cattaraugus County, New York, while celebrating our anniversary, I told my bride, who had met him when he worked the Yonkers International Trot on a sun-drenched October afternoon, that “Thor is not only going to get drafted, but one day he’ll make it to the major leagues.” What?
And so, it came as no surprise at least in this corner, when the news came down that Jimmy Murphy was selected in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft with the 248th overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles on June 13th.
“I was trying to go in (to the draft) without expectations because I didn’t want to be bummed out if it didn’t happen,” said Murphy. “But I had a good feeling.”
Funny how the lifelong Yankees fan from South Orange, New Jersey, gets picked by the division rival, huh? He’ll deal with!
The journey on the mound begin in Aberdeen, M.D. with the “Ironbirds” in the NY Penn league very soon on the heels of indoctrination in Sarasota, Florida.
The low-key Murphy was seemingly happier for his family, friends and teammates than for himself. “My dad (Jim) was even more excited than I was,” said the Murph. “It’s been amazing. So many people reached out minutes and then days after. The people around me have been so supportive.”
Murphy battled injuries earlier in his Fordham career, but he persevered. The 5-foot-11 right-hander emerged as a legit prospect with a 6-7 record and tidy 2.59 ERA in his final season with three complete games. He allowed just 76 hits in 93 ²/₃ innings. Murph now launches his career as a professional baseball pitcher.
Thinking, believing that Murphy can one day pitch for the Baltimore Orioles may be considered wishful thinking at best, or a pipe dream to some. Maybe so, but I wouldn’t bet against him. On Sunday (June 25), another Ram, Nick Martinez (drafted in the 18th round in 2007), who was primarily an infielder at Fordham, was the winning pitcher on Old-Timers Day against the Yankees at the Stadium, and is a legit starter for the Texas Rangers.
Jimmy Murphy may not be the prototypical, new millennium pitcher. He stands under six feet tall, and his velocity is in the low to mid-90’s. But he has the guile, the determination, the poise that separates the men from the boys. From this corner, lightning strikes again.
Circle Sunday, July 23, on your calendar, that’s the first of nine dates that the Aberdeen Ironbirds will be in the New York area. It’s a 4:00 pm afternoon game in Coney Island against the Brooklyn Cyclones. Dinner at Gargiulo’s, the famed Italian restaurant just a stone’s throw from the ballpark, sounds like a plan.
Aberdeen Ironbirds Brooklyn and Staten Island Schedule:
Sunday, July 23 @Brooklyn 4:00 pm
Monday, July 24 @Brooklyn 7:00 pm
Tuesday, July 25 @Brooklyn 11:30 am
Wednesday, August 2 @Staten Island 7:00pm
Thursday, August 3 @Staten Island 7:00 pm
Friday, August 4 @Staten Island 7:00 pm
Wednesday, August 16 @Brooklyn 7:00 pm
Thursday, August 17 @Brooklyn 7:00 pm
Friday, August 18 @Brooklyn 6:40 pm