The Murphy’s: Fishtown Siblings Recognized For Their Athletic Abilities
For many of us, having siblings is a blessing and a curse: We fight with them, we admire them and most importantly we love them… hopefully. This can be all be said about two brothers from Fishtown — Pat and Sean Murphy — especially when it comes to their admiration of each other.
Pat Murphy was just recently inducted into the North Catholic Hall of Fame — the high school he graduated from in 1996. He played baseball and soccer for the Falcons and was recognized as All-Catholic in both sports, which is something he considers a great accomplishment in the prestigious Philadelphia Catholic League.
Pat was inducted alongside his high school coach Tom Ciolka, former teammate Mike Primavera, and one of his childhood idols Joe Murtagh.
“Tom was an amazing coach who didn’t care about what neighborhood you were from or who your family was,” Pat recalled. “Mike was a really good defender who was a smaller guy, but played like he was 6 foot 8. [Joe] was one of the most accomplished players to ever attend North Catholic. I was so fortunate to be inducted with those three people.”
After graduating from North Catholic, Pat stayed local and attended Temple University where he majored in Criminal Justice. Temple gave him the opportunity to continue playing baseball and soccer. Going to school and playing in North Philly made it easy for friends and family to come support Pat in his playing.
“I knew fairly early that Temple was where I needed to be because of the rich athletic tradition and superior coaching staffs,” Pat said.
Pat says that his time as a collegiate student-athlete was difficult, but appreciated the support he received from the University through tutoring sessions and study halls. “Being a college athlete requires being able to juggle a grueling schedule between the classroom and the field,” Pat said.
Now out of college and sports, Pat resides in Bucks County with wife, Brenda, who he met at Temple while she played for the women’s soccer team. Together they have triplets — Breck, Julian and Kendall, 4 — and one-year-old Kane. Pat is currently a youth counselor at the Bucks County Youth Center.
Pat still follows Temple sports and tries to attend a game or two every year, whether it be basketball, football or soccer. Pat also enjoys staying up to date with the Phillies and the Flyers.
“Sports are still such a huge part of who I am as a person. They taught me valuable life lessons which I still apply in situations that may arise in my life today,” Pat said. “Things like teamwork and giving a good effort to achieve a goal are values that I have learned and am passing them on to my kids.”
Pat’s kids follow in the Murphy footsteps — they have already started playing soccer and will be playing tee ball soon as well.
The kids are also influenced by their uncle, Sean Murphy.
Sean graduated from North Catholic ten years after his older brother, Pat, and also succeeded in athletics. Sean was a football player for two years and a basketball player for three, but ultimately it was baseball that he excelled at most. When he reached his senior year of high school, he quit basketball to focus on his baseball career and move onto college play.
Sean was recruited to play college ball and spent time playing at several schools — junior college stints in New Jersey; High Point, a Division I school in North Carolina; and finally Keystone College, a Division III school in La Plume, Pa. Sean says that jumping around between schools and states was not too difficult to adjust to and since he was used to the versatile backgrounds people had in Fishtown, he was able to make friends easily at every school.
Despite not playing for one team consistently, Murphy consistently attracted the eyes of scouts, especially after a strong 2009 campaign at Keystone where he won 9 games, good for second highest single season total in school history. He was drafted into the Oakland Athletics minor league system where he he continue to compete for a job in the Big Leagues.
He has had his setbacks in the minors — Sean recently underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow, which caused him to completely miss the 2015 season. It was a mental and physical setback for Sean, but he plans to come back even better than before and continue moving forward with his career.
“Plans for this upcoming season is to have a clear mind, believe in myself and just let my hard work speak for itself,” Sean said.
Growing up, the two brothers were always surrounded by sports. Whether it was pick up matches with local kids or in various neighborhood leagues, the Murphy brothers were always involved. These neighborhood matches were the stepping stones to their ability. And it was always a tough match whether playing against your friends or enemies — you never went easy on the opponent.
“Those pickup games were some of the most intense games that I have ever been a part of. Most times a kid left those games bloodied and battered but couldn’t wait for tomorrow to get right back at it,” Pat said.
With the ten year difference between the Murphy brothers, you could say Sean was able to look up to Pat, and he would agree. Pat was leading the way and accomplishing big things as Sean was growing up and Sean wanted to be just like Pat. Both put in the hard work necessary for success.
“I can’t explain how proud I am of Pat, to this day he is still my hero,” Sean said. “And what a great one at that. If you have ever watched Pat play a soccer game, you know what hard work is. When I was young I use to keep my eyes on Pat every time he played a game.”
Pat speaks very similarly about Sean and his ability to play so well and be a determined athlete.
“He was a determined little kid who would not be denied if he set his sights on a goal,” Pat said. “It is a pleasure to watch him develop as a professional athlete that he is today. When you leave the field after watching his games you know you just watched another man leave it all on the field. That is something you really have to respect about Sean. I couldn’t be more proud of him than I am now and I’m his biggest fan.”
Being brought up in Fishtown helped in shaping their work ethic and determination. The two brothers always competed with and against each other growing up, but for all the right reasons.
“My brother and I are fierce competitors,” Pat said. “I never let him win at anything when he was a kid and I’m sure he would be the first person to tell you that. I was rough on him because that was the Fishtown way.”
One thing they also shared is their appreciation for their parents and the sacrifices they made growing up to help out with their athletic careers.
“I would like to thank my parents, Ray and Lorraine, for all of the sacrifices they made for my brother and I, travelling up and down the East Coast from field to field pretty much every day of their lives for 25 years. You don’t realize it when you are a kid how much they gave up for you until you become an adult. They are the true professionals and hall of famers,” Pat said.
“Coming from a blue collar family and neighborhood like Fishtown, hard work is instilled in all of us. And I have the utmost respect for my parents because they taught me to be a respectable person. If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t be this far in my career. That being said, I will make them proud,” Sean said.