Chuck Murphy finished a professional journey most people would have been more than satisfied with when he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years in the U.S. Army. Then, in 1975, he began a life in baseball destined to span four decades.
The longtime Florida State League president died on Saturday at the age of 83.
"If you were his friend, he was a friend for a life," Murphy's daughter, Laura LeCras, told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. "I've had so many texts and calls from people that have known him for a long time, and all have stated what a great man he was."
Murphy served as general manager of the Daytona Beach Islanders from 1984-86 and, after a stint as Daytona Beach city parks manager, rejoined the FSL as the league's 21st president on Jan. 1, 1990.
Along with his wife, Emo, who passed away in 2013, Murphy was the driving force behind the establishment of the Florida State League Hall of Fame in 2009.
Under Murphy, FSL attendance surpassed 1 million fans in the 2006 season and continued to climb. The league attracted a record 1,296,962 fans in 2011 and surpassed 1.2 million again last season.
In 2011, Murphy was named the recipient of the Warren Giles Award, honoring him for outstanding service as a league president. He also took home the Giles Award in 1991 and was one of only four men to win the honor twice.
Former Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley, a member of the FSL Hall of Fame, told The News-Journal his best memories of managing came in the FSL during Murphy's tenure.
"Chuck Murphy was a very special person and a tremendous friend," Trembley said. "He is from the era of the greatest generation. He served his country, and he was very proud of that. I thought Chuck probably made more of a contribution to professional baseball in Daytona Beach as anyone.
"This one really hurts."