Former Minuteman Jay Murphy remember playing for George Scott

Last modified: Saturday, September 07, 2013
When he wasn’t pitching, Jay Murphy would try to sit toward the end of the bench and watch his manager in action.

It was the 1996 baseball season, and Murphy, the former Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year who’d gone undrafted, was playing independent league baseball for the now-defunct Massachusetts Mad Dogs at Frasier Field in his hometown of Lynn.

The Mad Dogs’ skipper that season was George “Boomer” Scott, the popular and colorful former Boston Red Sox first baseman. Then 23, Murphy was old enough to vaguely remember Scott’s playing days that included two stints in Boston before retiring in 1979, but too young to remember many specifics.

When Scott, 69, died Sunday, many longtime Red Sox fans recalled Scott the player, but Murphy’s memory drifted back to his season in the North Atlantic League.

“I wanted to be around him. I used to sit near him on the bench,” said Murphy, 40, who is now an electrician. “I liked hearing him. I enjoyed being there with him. I liked George a lot. We hit it off from the beginning. He was gruff guy. He was a no-nonsense type of guy. He took the game real serious. When things weren’t going well, he wasn’t happy. But at the end of the day, he always smiled at me.”

Murphy said it was a good day if you could get Scott to laugh.

“I always went out of my way to try to develop a rapport with him. I liked making him laugh,” he said. “It was a deep, Papa Smurf laugh. It would start low and then get raspy like he was out of breath. He’d be shaking his head back and forth wheezing. He was from Mississippi. He had that drawl and was tough to understand sometimes. When he was mad, half the time his voice would get so raspy, nobody could understand what he was saying. I loved it.”

Murphy hasn’t been involved much in baseball since his career ended, but Scott’s passing reconnected him with a few former teammates.

“I was shocked when I found out that he died,” Murphy said. “Monday night on Facebook, a bunch of us who played together sent messages back and forth memories on how funny he was.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.