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Mike Murphy makes history as SF Giants Wall of Fame inductee

Mike Murphy makes history as SF Giants Wall of Fame inductee

SAN FRANCISCO — There’s no better indication of Mike Murphy’s impact on the Giants organization than the guest list for his Wall of Fame induction.

Fifty current and former Giants players, coaches and executives showed up to enshrine “Murph,” their clubhouse manager, at Oracle Park before the Giants’ game against Atlanta on Sunday afternoon. They represented just a handful of players Murphy worked with during his 65 years in the Giants clubhouses between Candlestick and Oracle Park.

Will Clark, a fellow Wall of Famer, recalled his favorite Murphy quote in his ceremony speech: “I’ll be here when you get here, and I’ll be here when you’re gone.”

It’s fitting that Murphy became a permanent part of the Oracle Park walls, because there’s no ballpark fixture like him. He’s a Giants lifer who started as a 16-year-old ball boy in 1958, the first year the Giants were in San Francisco after moving out west from New York, and retired in 2022 as the clubhouse manager emeritus.

Murphy was in the heart of the ballpark for every one of the Giants’ lows and highs. During his six-plus decades with the Giants, Murphy moved from bat boy to visiting clubhouse manager to home clubhouse manager in two different ballparks and saw three World Series, six pennants and worked with every superstar from Willie Mays and Willie McCovey to Barry Bonds, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey.

What was Murphy’s philosophy that made him so beloved, and brought so many former Giants in to town?

“Just take care of the guys and make them happy,” Murphy said on KNBR in the second inning. “When they’re happy, they win.”

For the ceremony, Frank Sinatra, Murphy’s favorite singer, crooned over the speakers as generations of Giants were introduced before the honoree walked out to a huge applause from fans who arrived an hour early to watch. Murphy’s favorite friend, Willie Mays, sent a message congratulating him. Clark, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Bonds along with Larry Baer spoke, too.

All remembered Murphy’s motto: “I don’t bother nobody.”

But all remembered how much the thousands of players he worked with bothered him.

“Murph was my first babysitter,” Bonds said, adding he first met Murphy when he was four years old and Murphy in his mid-20s during his father Bobby Bonds’ years in San Francisco. He recalls Murphy telling the mothers to go relax while he watched the players’ kids during games.

Former San Francisco Giants player Barry Bonds, left, greets Giants clubhouse manager Mike “Murph” Murphy before a ceremony inducting Murphy into the team’s Wall of Fame before a baseball game between the Giants and the Atlanta Braves in San Francisco, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) 

Murphy was a shoulder to lean on for players being shuttled to-and-from the minor leagues.

“That’s not something Barry, Buster or Will can relate to,” Vogelsong said. But Vogelsong remembers the guy who knew best how to support the nervous call-ups and console guys who were demoted all while taking easy care of their belongings.

“You are, by far, the most Forever Giant person there is,” Vogelsong added.

Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow emcee’d with their own memories of Murph.

“Murph has more awesome stories and more awesome information on every player that ever walked through the clubhouse,” Kuiper said. “Murphy is like J. Edgar Hoover, that’s how much information he has on people. He doesn’t seek information, players hunted him down because they trusted him and loved him and still do.”

Other attendees included Pat Burrell, Shawon Dunston, Buster Posey, Omar Vizquel, Atlee Hammaker along with other Wall of Famers such as Bonds, Clark, Chili Davis, Tito Fuentes and a long-haired Brian Wilson. Former owner Bob Lurie was there and so was Murphy’s family, all wearing “1958” shirts in black and orange.

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“He loved Willie Mays and Frank Sinatra,” Krukow said. “In his eyes, we were all royalty. He kept us groomed and confident.”

The Wall of Fame includes mostly players along with previous owners Lurie and the late Peter Magowan. Murphy is the first non-player, non-owner to have a plaque on the King Street brick wall, Giants president and chief executive officer Larry Baer noted.

“And how appropriate is that,” he said.