Joe Murphy was a Division 1 college baseball catcher at the University of Rhode Island, which means he was very, very good.
He was a star baseball player and the backup quarter-back to Matt and Tim Hasselbeck at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood – which means he played be-hind two future NFL quarterbacks in high school. That may be unprecedented in Massachusetts.
Murphy is also the brother-in-law of former Winthrop High star QB Robert Noonan. The two men played baseball together in the Yawkey League.
Joe Murphy is currently the president of the Winthrop Little League, and having enjoyed his own youth sports experience growing up, he understands how a summer of Little League baseball is so meaningful to players.
The COVID-19 gloval pandemic has put the 2020 Win-throp Little League season on hold. But Murphy, the fa-ther of four baseball-playing sons ages 6 to 15 in the WLL organization (his oldest son, Connor, was slated to play in the Winthrop High baseball program this spring), remains hopeful that Winthrop Little League can still have a season.
“We really would love to get some baseball in, but it remains to be seen at this point, obviously, given the circumstance we’re in,” said Murphy.
Murphy said he will meet with his board of directors next week, but he’s not sure if there will be any an-swers at that point whether there can still be a season.
Last week Little League International canceled the Little League World Series, held each year in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
That cancellation meant that the District 16 Wil-liamsport Tournament will also not be held. Winthrop’s 12-year-old team annually competes against teams from Lynn, Swampscott, Saugus, Nahant, Lynnfield, and Peabody in District 16.
Murphy said that should Winthrop Little League get the go-ahead to play, there would be a revised in-town schedule only.
Winthrop has approximately 200 boys and girls, ages 4 to 16, playing from the T-Ball Division to the new Senior Baseball League (led by Commissioner Mark DiGregorio) that was making its comeback.
Interestingly, Murphy believes, as do most coaches in New England, that July and August – generally when Little League seasons are ending – might provide the best weather for the national pastime.
“A great time to play baseball is July and August, to be honest,” said Murphy. “It’s typically a time that we’re not on the field as much because of All-Stars and tour-naments. But this may give us the opportunity to be out there on the field in the nicest weather we have and get the kids outside. And that’s what we’re hoping for and we’ll just have to stay tuned to the guidance that is around us within the state and town. We’re just hoping to at least get the players on the field for a little while.”
The future looks bright for Winthrop baseball. The league’s current 11-year-olds made it to the finals in the District 12 Tournament a year ago, losing to power-ful Peabody West in the championship game.
“We have a very competitive, talented crew coming up, and a lot of engagement at the younger levels as well, so we’re very hopeful about the future,” said Murphy.