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David Murphy, Theo Epstein's first draft pick, retires

David Murphy was the first man in Theo Epstein's player development machine. Now he's calling it a career.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Former Red Sox first-round pick, and recent Red Sox spring training player David Murphy has decided to hang up his cleats once and for all after a brief stint in the Twins' minor league system.

For all that Murphy doesn't factor very heavily into Red Sox history, he does hold a special place here. When Theo Epstein took over back in 2003, with the Red Sox still mired in their long World Series drought, he made it known that the Sox would become an organization focused as much on developing players through the draft as they were in buying stars in free agency. David Murphy was the first shot fired on that front--the first ever draft pick of a Theo Epstein Red Sox team.

Ironically, that first shot ended up overshadowed by the first picks on either side of him. In 2002, the Sox had picked up some lefty by the name of Lester. In 2004, a short kid from Arizona State called Pedroia. Those would be the players who ultimately turned Boston's plan for player development into a second championship in 2007. Murphy? Well, his role in the story is far less glamorous, being sent to Texas for none other than Eric Gagne. Yes, through no fault of his own, Murphy did more to hurt Boston's playoff push than help it.

Still got a ring for it--and a June triple against the Padres--when he made his way back to Fenway, though.

In Texas, Murphy carved out a career as a third/fourth outfield type, finally making his way back to Boston back in March. One wonders if he'd still be playing now if the Red Sox had figured out what they were going to do with Rusney Castillo earlier. As is, they could use a guy like Murphy on the bench--that they're even toying with the idea of Blake Swihart, outfielder is proof enough of that. But with no spot immediately available to him, Murphy chose to head to Minnesota, where his time in the minors was apparently discouraging enough to leave him headed for retirement.

With Murphy retired, there are only eight players left who played for the 2007 Red Sox: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Brandon Moss, Coco Crisp, and Jonathan Papelbon.