Sports

End of the road for Cubs bright spot?

One of the brightest spots in what has turned into yet another bleak Cubs season isn't the blue chip first baseman or the erratic $60 million shortstop who tend to get all the headlines.

Rather, it's 30-year-old journeyman who has spent more time on the road than Jack Kerouac himself.

"He's been one big bright spot the last couple weeks since he's been here," said manager Dale Sveum.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Donnie Murphy.

"Especially just traveling all over the place and hopefully just these last two months, hard work has paid off," the soft-spoken California native said.

The past two months suggest it has.

Since being called up from the minor leagues Aug. 3, Murphy has written a tale much taller than his 5-foot-10 frame, going from organizational afterthought to one of the most dangerous hitters in the lineup. In his first 14 games as a Cub, Murphy hit seven home runs despite hitting only 12 in 89 games at Triple-A.

"Sometimes it amazes me," he said. "Everybody wants to get off to a good start, especially with a new team."

Count his manager among his biggest fans.

"To have that kind of power and do those things defensively, he's really solidified as a piece of our lineup," Sveum said. "It's huge to put a guy in the lineup that really was here to be a utility player and then he just played himself right into playing every day."

Murphy's road to Wrigley Field took more twists and turns than your average roller coaster.

Murphy has played for 14 teams in 12 seasons since being drafted in the fifth round by Kansas City in 2002, from Burlington to Miami, Spokane to Wilmington.

"I think it takes more of a toll on my wife and kid more than it does me," he said. "I get told where to go and I just go. My wife, she has to pick everything up and go. It's not as stressful on me as it is on my family but it's part of the game."

Along the way, he swears he never thought about doing something else.

"I'm confident enough where I know I can still help somebody out," he said. "Hopefully I don't have to think about that anytime soon because I think that's the last thing people want to think about."

You'd think that after playing for all those teams, Murphy's closet would be overflowing with all kinds of T-shirts and other gear.

Not so fast.

"Once I leave an organization, those are hand-me-downs after that," he said. "I don't really have a need for it anymore cause obviously I'm not with that team anymore. I don't really hold on to those things for sentimental value."

If he keeps up his current pace, he won't have to give any more hand-me-downs away anytime soon.

Murphy said he's hoping to capitalize on the momentum he's generated down the stretch to convince Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer that he's worthy of a roster spot in 2014.

"I love [Chicago]," he said. "This is really the first extended time I've had here outside of a road trip before. We're staying downtown and we're just taking it all in, we're having a blast so far. Hopefully this is my new home."

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Kerry Wood vs. Chicago violence

    Kerry Wood vs. Chicago violence

    On Tuesday, Kerry Wood received the Daily Point of Light Award for his charity work with the Wood Family Foundation. The former Cubs All-Star spoke with RedEye about his work and how baseball gives kids hope.

  • No fixes in sight for state budget, CPS pension payment

    No fixes in sight for state budget, CPS pension payment

    Facing a day of multiple deadlines, Illinois lawmakers return to the Capitol on Tuesday little closer to coming up with a new state budget or helping Chicago Public Schools deal with a deadline for a massive pension payment.

  • Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Businessman Donald Trump brought his nascent bid for the Republican presidential nomination to town Monday, warning that crime in Chicago is "out of control" and hurting the city's image worldwide.

  • South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    I have been to the Grammy Awards. I have had features written about my music in Billboard, XXL, Jet and other magazines I've always loved. Oprah Winfrey told me to my face that she loves my dreads and purple eyebrows. My music is played on TV shows and movies, and I write about my opinionated views...

  • 'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    2012’s “Magic Mike” and its sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” could have been so stupid, and I’m sure those who haven’t seen either one assume that they are. I mean, think of how cheesy a movie about male strippers could be. Based on the commercials, they barely seem like movies at all—just two-hour thrust-athons...

  • Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples deals in pessimism, for good reason. The Long Beach rapper has seen a lot of violence and despair in his 21 years. He'll tell you about it too, in unflinching clarity that few artists his age possess. There’s little if any hope in his music. Yet even with the darkness oozing out of...

  • RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything, from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

  • RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

Comments
Loading