Murton with the Hanshin Tigers
|Born: October 3, 1981|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
|MLB: July 8, 2005, for the Chicago Cubs|
|NPB: March 26, 2010, for the Hanshin Tigers|
|MLB: October 4, 2009, for the Colorado Rockies|
|NPB: October 4, 2015, for the Hanshin Tigers|
|Runs batted in||112|
|Runs batted in||417|
Matthew Henry Murton (born October 3, 1981) is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, and Colorado Rockies. Murton also played in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Hanshin Tigers.
In 2001 and 2002, Murton played collegiate summer baseball for the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL). Murton led the Gatemen to the league title in both seasons, being named the league's MVP in 2001, and in 2002 batting .400 and winning the league's all-star home run derby. He was inducted into the CCBL hall of fame in 2008.
Murton was drafted out of Georgia Tech baseball in the supplemental first round of the 2003 MLB draft by the Boston Red Sox. Murton played a total of 155 games in the Red Sox organization for the Lowell Spinners and the Sarasota Red Sox.
Murton was acquired at the 2004 trading deadline by the Chicago Cubs along with Red Sox star shortstop and fellow former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Nomar Garciaparra as part of a four-team blockbuster deal. He spent the rest of the year with the Class A-Advanced Daytona Cubs.
He started 2005 with the Double-A West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, but was called up to the major leagues for the first time on July 8, along with Adam Greenberg, to replace the struggling Corey Patterson and Jason Dubois. On the same day, he went 2-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly against the Florida Marlins in his major league debut. He continued his success in the majors over the rest of the season, hitting .321 with two stolen bases, seven home runs, and an on-base percentage of .386 in 51 games in 2005.
In 2006, Murton became the Cubs' starting left fielder. On August 3, 2006, Murton went 4-for-4 with 4 doubles and 5 RBIs in game 2 of a doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks, matching a major league record for doubles in a single game. He finished the year with the second-highest mark on the team in batting average, at .297, with 13 home runs and 62 runs batted in.
For 2007, Murton saw his playing time reduced when the Cubs signed Cliff Floyd to play in left field. When center fielder Alfonso Soriano switched back to left field in April, Murton switched to right field. On June 13, after hitting only one home run with eight RBIs in limited playing time, Murton was optioned to Triple-A to make room for left-handed pitcher Clay Rapada.
In 2008, Murton saw his playing time diminish even further, playing in just nineteen games, and recording only 42 plate appearances in the first three months of the season for the Cubs. In those 42 plate appearances, he managed only two hits, and spent most of the first half of the season in the minors.
On February 4, 2009, Murton was traded to the Colorado Rockies for infielder Corey Wimberly. When stepping to the plate at Rockies home games, the song "Strong Tower" by Kutless was played over the speaker system.
In Murton's rookie season with the Hanshin Tigers he became only the fourth player in Nippon Professional Baseball history to have a 200-hit season. On October 5, 2010, Murton broke the NPB single- season hit record of 210, set by Ichiro Suzuki in 1994 (in 130 games), getting his 211th hit in game #142. He finished his first season in Japan with 214 hits, a .349 batting average, 17 home runs and 91 RBIs.
Murton played six seasons for the Hanshin Tigers, with a .310 career batting average and 1,020 hits. In 2015, Murton became the 16th foreign player to achieve 1,000 career hits in NPB.
On March 9, 2018, Murton retired and became an assistant in the Chicago Cubs front office.