Although Murphy was a second baseman, he had to move over and play third. Taylor, the regular third baseman, broke his jaw while trying to field a hot ground ball yesterday. It was an unfamiliar position for him, so he had a lot of learning to do in just one day, so he was out to prove that he could do it. He was doing fine the first day. He had seven assists and three put outs in the first eight innings against the Red Devils, who had occupied first place in their division.
The game was on the line in the bottom of the ninth. The opponents were down by one run with two outs and the bases full. Big Larry McGraw, their home run threat came up to the plate. Every time he swung and missed, you could hear the bat swishing through the air. He once hit a ball that measured six hundred feet over the left field fence. When he hit a grounder, all the fielders could do was get out of the way of it so they wouldn’t get killed.
Murphy became McGraw’s next victim as he scorched a ground ball that must have taken a second to get to him. All he could do was crouch down, stick out his glove to protect himself, and pray that he wouldn’t get killed. His heart was pounding outside of his chest. His life was over he thought. At least he would die playing the game that he loved so much. Then he felt the ball as it miraculously stuck in the webbing of his glove. That one second seemed like he traveled down to hell and back before he got up, dug it out, and fired the ball to first to end the game. His glove hand swelled and felt like it just got stung by a swarm of angry wasps.
After the game, the reporters fired a million questions at him, like the usual, “How do you feel after you won the game with your brilliant fielding, and your team took over first place to win the division?” Then he answered, “I don’t feel anything. I can’t think. I forgot what my name is . Where are we now? Is this Planet Earth? Are you space aliens out to dissect me on a scientific mission? Did an outer terrestrial event just happen, or am I still dreaming? Please excuse me. I’m going home now. Goodbye.”
The news on the sports page the next day read, “Murphy wins the big game yesterday with his glove. When asked how he felt, he said, “Wonderful! I’m glad the team won. I owe all my success to my coaches who taught me how to play third base in one day.”” The manager told him to say that; so that was correct, but they didn’t mention what else he said. What was said and what was printed were completely two different things. He didn’t feel wonderful; just weird. He probably would have been labeled a nut case if that was printed. At least the reporters had a good laugh that day.