od has been next door neighbors with Murphy for years. "Athletics have been a big part of Andrew’s life, and it’s helped him deal with everything.”
Tom was starting to recover when he suffered two strokes in January. He barely has the ability to walk and talk now. Anne said this has been the most difficult time for the family, but Tom still manages to show up at the Irish baseball games.
Not only does he attend, but he recognizes some of the Irish players. He still cheers when Andrew and Pat are playing. And for some reason Anne can’t explain, Tom recognizes senior Dax Maroney, another vital member to this year’s club.
"There is a lot of inspiration in seeing my dad out there — no matter what is going on,” Andrew said. "I love seeing him out there, and it’s made me give 100 percent every time and not take anything for granted.”
The work ethic has paid off as Andrew has signed to play college baseball at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville. Andrew said he liked the attitude of the coaching staff there. His high school coach knows Andrew is going to fit right in as he shares that same attitude.
"He’s just an absolute gritty player who gives it everything he has,” McGuinness coach Bryan Wade said. "He’s been a great leader and is about as tough as they come.”
Andrew’s had to be tough. Though his father has had his fair share of ups and downs, Andrew likes to remember the good times — the times they would go fishing together stand out and bring a smile to Andrew’s face whenever he thinks about them.
And now that Andrew is getting ready to move on to college, the Murphy family has a new wish: Tom’s presence the next four years.
"That’s what we want now — for him to be able to go to all the college games,” Andrew said. "He’s been the constant for me, and I don’t want that to stop.”