DENVER — Before he was a power hitter who slugged .608 in his first 80-plus major league plate appearances, currently injured Colorado Rockies catcher Tom Murphy worked his craft at the University of Buffalo.
The school, not exactly known for its baseball team, recently decided to make the sport one of four to be dropped at the end of the 2017 spring athletics season. The decision, though upsetting, seemed unsurprising according to Murphy.
“It's a huge disappointment,” the catcher said after the Rockies’ home opener last Friday. “But we were always put on the backburner there as a program; we never had a field on campus or anything like that. It's a sport that's thought of as very secondary.”
The university will allow student athletes in the dropped sports, which also include men’s soccer, men’s swimming and diving, and women’s rowing, the opportunity to contact other schools about transferring. It also says those students’ scholarships will continue to be honored if they decide to remain at Buffalo.
“I really feel for the guys who are there right now and the coaching staff,” Murphy added. “I owe a lot to that university, and mainly the baseball program.”
Buffalo currently owns a 10-17 record this season under head coach Ron Torgalski, who has held his position since 2007. Murphy, who played for the program from 2009-11 and was the 2011 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, remembers his time there fondly despite the circumstances.
“We never complained about it or held a grudge against the university,” Murphy recollected. “We were just thankful to play baseball and played hard every day, regardless of what kind of stock the university put into us."
Murphy, who is on the 10-day disabled list with a stress fracture in his right forearm, is recovering well from the injury.
“My arm feels good,” he said, adding that there isn’t much he can do at this point. “I get a CT scan on Monday and we’ll go from there.”