An injury to the right hand of Fort Osage High School graduate Tyler Murphy made things tough during his sophomore and junior campaigns in college.
He suffered a fracture in his hamate bone during his sophomore year playing for Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods and it caused his numbers to plummet.
Each time he threw a pitch or swung a bat, Murphy was unable to block out the pain. He played in just 12 games as a sophomore and hit just .143 and collected three runs and four RBIs. He then hit .167 his junior season with William Jewell College and seven RBIs in 19 starts at catcher.
“I never really felt like I got my bat control back,” Murphy said. “I put the ball in play a lot but I never had control of my barrel. When I made contact, and twisted my wrists, it felt like something sharp hit me.”
Early into his senior season, he received a cortisone shot in his hand and that’s when he was able to put together the best season of his college career. He hit .333, had a 1.022 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage) with seven home runs, 21 RBIs and 22 doubles. Because of his efforts, he earned second-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors.
“The cortisone shot was a game changer for me,” Murphy said. “It took away the pain. I didn’t have to worry about how much the swing was going to hurt. It was a mental thing for me.”
Murphy said he felt like he finally played the way he thought he could.
“I was really satisfied (with my senior season),” Murphy said. “I was able to produce a season that I knew I was capable of. I wanted to go out on something special.”
While Murphy was primarily a catcher for the Cardinals, he played seven different positions for them, including on the mound as a closer. In 13 appearances, he had a 3.12 earned run average, a 1.23 WHIP and 15 strikeouts. He utilized the fastball, curveball and cutter.
“They always wanted me at different positions because they wanted me for pitching,” Murphy said. “That why I was fine with playing wherever. I just wanted to be on the field.
“When I came out my senior year, my coach noticed I could pitch, too. He didn’t get to see that my junior year because of the injury. I was really comfortable in that (closer) role. I was throwing about 88 to 90 (mph).”
After such a successful season, Murphy said he’s going to call it a career as he will be working at a sheetrock company.
“I am hanging the cleats up and I am starting a job in August,” Murphy said. “I am happy with how my career turned out for the most part. If I could go back and change a few things, I would. But I got a very strong (business management) degree from a great school. I am satisfied with what happened.”