William H. Murphy
- Bats Left, Throws Unknown
- Height 5' 11", Weight 198 lb.
Gentle Willie was from Massachusetts and his minor league career was mostly with teams in the Northeast.
Sporting Life on June 29, 1887 reported that Murphy had been released by Bridgeport, but that shortly thereafter Minneapolis asked to pay a small amount if Murphy would be released to them. Bridgeport then re-signed Murphy and released him to Minneapolis. However, Sporting Life noted, Murphy was playing with the Renfrew Club in North Adams, MA and didn't immediately go to Minneapolis.
The March 19, 1898 issue of Sporting Life expressed skepticism about a report that Gentle Willie Murphy had struck it rich in the South African gold fields, getting at least $50,000. The magazine felt it was probably another Murphy. His date and place of death remains unknown. He did marry one Katie Mulloy in April of 1883, in Ludlow, MA and had two children, but the mariage apparently did not last. He had several siblings, and when two of them died in 1919 and 1921 respectively, he was listed as a survivor, living in Newark, NJ, but it was no longer the case when another sister died in 1930, making it likely he himself passed away at some time between 1921 and 1930.
Through 2008, the only other major leaguer with a nickname "Gentle" has been Pud Galvin, one of whose nicknames was "Gentle Jeems".
Willie Crawford's full name is Willie Murphy Crawford.
- "Gentle Willie Murphy", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, September/October 2019, p. 3.