Pictured above is Patterson Park President Jim Murphy. Photo courtesy of Murphy.
Nick Radosevich | Contributing Writer
When Jim Murphy, a Dayton native, moved back home from Miami, in the winter of 1993, he didn’t know the impact he would have on thousands of local kids. Now, in 2022, he is the youth baseball president for Patterson Park.
Since July of 2006, Murphy has overseen the operation of a safe, clean and popular environment for kids to play baseball and softball. However, it took a lot of work to get to where he has gotten with Patterson Park.
In the spring of 1993, with his three children playing at Patterson Park, he was asked to coach tee ball. He coached for a couple of seasons in the fall and spring and was promoted to vice president of coach pitch.
In 1999, Murphy was elected as a board member and was mentored by H.A. Scott, the founder of Patterson Park. After six years, Murphy became the board president and replaced Scott, who passed shortly after the promotion. After a year of being the president of the board of directors, he became the youth baseball president and has succeeded in the role for nearly two decades.
For Murphy, he gets a big kick out of what he does.
“For starters, I love the game of baseball,” Murphy said. “I think there is not a game like it. I have had my three boys play at Patterson Park, and I have gotten to watch them grow as athletes and as individuals.”
Murphy does a lot behind the scenes to make Patterson Park safe and playable. He is the one coordinating meetings, making sure everyone does their job and does it well, and making sure the fields look nice and can be played on.
For Murphy, the best part of his job is putting a smile on a kids face.
“I love when parents tell me they want to come back,” Murphy said. “When the kids are happy and the parents are happy, it fills my heart with joy — hearing feedback from the parents and the players. Another thing I love is restoring fields after a few years and having success organizing events.”
With success and happiness his top priority, Murphy has several things that he would like to achieve while being the youth baseball president.
“There are two answers for this question,” he said. “In the short term (annually), we want to make sure that Patterson Park is a safe and popular place to play. In the long term, I hope that more people will take over after I am gone and continue running the park as well as it is being ran currently.”
Though Patterson Park is in great shape and doing well in all areas, it has not always been easy, he said. Throughout the last 17 years, Murphy has had to also face tough decisions in the workplace such as hiring and firing.
“I would say the biggest challenges I face as the youth baseball president are getting people to not only do their jobs but do them well, finding enough grounds workers and dealing with expenses,” Murphy said.
Of course, there was plenty on Murphy’s plate with the pandemic, which led to the cancelation of the 2020 spring seasons and put the 2020 fall seasons in jeopardy.
“Patterson Park was impacted horribly by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Before the outbreak, we didn’t know whether we would play the spring seasons. We prepared as if we were going to play, but we were shut down, and it continued for two-week periods.”
With the season at a standstill Murphy was forced to issue refunds.
“It was not easy, in fact, it was very complicated,” he said. “We still had to pay the bills and pay our employees for the work they were doing.”
Though Patterson Park lost their 2020 spring season, they were able to play during their 2020 fall seasons.
“Things began returning to normal, but we still had the players fill out COVID-19 waivers in order to return for the 2021spring and fall seasons. Since then, we are COVID-neutral and essentially back to normal.”
“The fact that Murphy takes his job seriously and cares about the players shows,” Pete Kramer, who holds multiple positions for Patterson Park, spoke on Murphy’s character.
“He’s a great guy,” Kramer said. “He takes his job seriously and puts others before himself.”
Karen Sexton, who also holds numerous positions at Patterson Park said, “Jim is somebody you would want to work for. He cares about his peers and wants the best for others and Patterson Park.”
Murphy may seem like an ordinary guy, but his impact on children in the Dayton area speaks volumes about his character.