A Silk Brocade Jacket: Murphy's Mod, Man

Filed under California Angels
August 5, 1968

Boston slugger Ken Harrelson leads the American League in RBI and in heads turned among female faithful in Boston with his modern wardrobe. But even Hawk is envious of the wardrobe of Angel rookie pitcher Tom Murphy.
Everybody keeps talking about this super wardrobe that Red Sox slugger Ken Harrelson owns. One look in Harrelson’s closet and you’d swear that he’s married to Madame Pandit and not a cute young thing named Betty Ann. And then there’s Tom Murphy, the no-hit kid sensation of the California Angels. Oh, he’s got a couple of Nehru jackets and a few wild shirts. You’ve got to consider that Harrelson is a couple of years and a couple of dollars ahead of Murphy. After all, Murphy’s only been in professional baseball two years and he probably hasn’t earned (including his bonus) more than $35,000. How many Nehrus can you buy for $35,000? Well, not too many when your selection runs to gold silk brocade.

You’d better believe it caused a little attention in Boston. The Angels’ bright young rookie pitcher was about to go to Fenway Park when who should appear but a man with a hawkish nose. “Harrelson actually wanted to buy it,” said Murphy. Murphy pitched that night (August 2), defeating the Red Sox, 9-3. It was a good thing he won. “If Joe McCarthy (the late Yankees and Red Sox manager) had walked into this clubhouse,” said Angel coach Don Heffner, “and seen a pitcher dressed like that…well, he’d had torn the jacket up and sent the pitcher to Schenectady.” Murphy blushed. Manager Bill Rigney smiled. “If all my pitchers could do that well wearing one of them,” said Rigney, “I might have one made for each of them. I might even have one made for myself.” He turned and looked into the locker. “Well, maybe.”

Murphy has been short of magnificent during his eight weeks with the Angels. He is 6-3 with a 2.22 ERA, and pitched the only no-hitter in the big leagues in his second career start on June 18 against the Yankees. Murphy will leave the Angels August 20 for six months of Army Reserve duty. He will rejoin the team next February in spring training. “Do you think,” Rigney was asked, “the Angels might protect him in the expansion draft?” Rigney peered above his glasses. “He’ll probably be No. 2 on the list,” he said. No. 1, of course, would be Jim Fregosi.

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