“Murph” surprised by low Hall of Fame votes, still hopeful

Braves icon Dale Murphy knows that time has nearly run out on him to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by writers. After this one there will be just one more year on the ballot for “Murph,” who admits being surprised by the low percentage of votes he’s received in the past 13 years.

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Despite being a two-time MVP in the 1980s, Dale Murphy has received fewer than 25 of Hall of Fame votes in each of his first 13 years on the ballot.

With the 2012 HOF class to be announced Monday by the Baseball Writers Association of America, Murphy said he thinks he belongs in Cooperstown and remains hopeful of enshrinement. Fifteen years is the maximum on the writers’ ballot, but there’s always the Veterans Committee if he’s not voted in by writers. (It would require an unprecedented one- or two-year increase in votes for him to make it in via the BBWAA ballot.)

The reasons most often cited by writers for leaving out Murphy were his .265 career batting average and relatively brief period as one of the game’s elite players. A former catcher converted to center fielder, “Murph” was a two-time National League MVP (1982, 1983) and seven-time All-Star who won five Gold Glove and four Silver Slugger awards.

He led the NL in RBIs in 1982 and ’83, led the league in homers in 1984 and ’85, and made it in the “30-30” club with 36 homers and 30 stolen bases in 1983. He did it while earning a reputation as one of the nicest players in the game, a straight arrow never involved in a whiff of controversy on or off the field.

Murphy retired with a .346 on-base percentage, 398 homers and 1,266 RBIs in 18 seasons, the first 15 with the Braves. He was 12th or higher in MVP balloting six times.

His production declined in his last six injury-plagued seasons following his last great run in 1987, when he hit .295 with 44 homers, 105 RBIs and a .997 OPS for the Braves. After hitting .279 with 310 homers and a .362 OBP in 12 seasons through ‘87, he hit .234 with 88 homers and a .307 OBP in his last six seasons.

He had four consecutive seasons with 36-37 homers and 100 or more RBIs from 1982-1985, while played all 162 games every year in that span.

Despite being one of the top-tier players of the 1980s, Murphy hasn’t been named on as many as 25 percent of writers’ ballots in any year, and was named on fewer than 13 percent in 2011. Enshrinement requires 75 percent.

If he fails to get elected in 15 years on the ballot, a player can still be selected to the HOF by the Veterans Committee at a later date. But fewer are selected in that manner than by conventional election.

I caught up this week with Murphy, 55, while he was en route to Florida with family. A Utah resident and father of eight, Murphy traveled a lot of weekends this fall his wife, Nancy, to see son Jake play football for the University of Utah. Another son, Shawn, has played in the NFL for Miami, Tampa Bay and Carolina.

It may surprise folks to know the elder Murphy is an avid fan of Wilco and other alternative-rock bands, after being introduced to the music by oldest son Chad. During our chat, Murphy discussed his Hall of Fame situation and association with the Braves, as well as a little football and left-of-the-dial rock ‘n’ roll.

Q: So you’re just back from seeing Jake and the Utes beat Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl? Did you go to a lot of his games this year?

A: Yeah, we went down to El Paso. I think I went to every one but Washington State. The forecast was getting dicey for that one and it ended up being a blizzard. Pullman’s not the easiest place to get to. But he went to everything else. He’s a freshman this year, went on a [Mormon] mission to Australia and then last year redshirted. So he’s a redshirt freshman; he’s 21 or 22. He’s looking forward to playing a little more next year. It’s been fun.

Once the boyish face of the Braves, Murphy is now a father of eight, including a son who's played for three NFL teams and another who's currently playing college football.

Once the boyish face of the Braves, Murphy is now a father of eight, including a son who's played for three NFL teams and another who's currently playing college football.

Q: Is Jake the one who influenced your musical tastes and got you into so many hip current bands including Wilco? You’ve seen Jeff Tweedy and the boys [Wilco] in concert, right?

A: Yeah. My oldest, Chad, got me listening to Wilco. We’ll have to talk about it more sometime, because I know you talk a lot about music on your [AJC Braves] blog and I keep up with that. It’s interesting — one of the things I find interesting is that 50-plus-year-olds, they kind of give up on [new] music, and there’s so much good music out there. I think the Ipods and accessing it and things like that got a little, I don’t want to say intimidating, but…

Q: So do your music tastes these days run more to alternative rock?

A: It’s been really fun to explore this new music and move on from America and Bachman-Turner Overdrive drive and stuff. [Laughter.] Not that that’s not good music, but there’s so much new stuff that’s so good and interesting. It’s tough to keep up with it all.

Q: Probably not a lot of 50-something former MVPs can say they’ve been getting into Wilco and other bands, huh?

A: Well it’s been fun, and I think that’s the fun of Twitter – this intersection or cross-section of diverse people and interests, and you connect in ways … it’s been fun. In fact, I did a [online interview] with Peter Moylan, and he was asking me about music I listen to. And he and Chipper [Jones] were wondering who half the bands were that I named…. [Laughter.] I’m going to have a contest on Twitter and say the first hitter that walks up to [to the plate] with Wilco or something like that playing, I’m going to get him [a prize].

Q: OK, let’s change gears a bit. Murph, has this time of year become frustrating for you because of the annual Hall of Fame voting announcement? Or do you still allow yourself to be optimistic about your chances?

A: I’m always kind of optimistic. Not really frustrated, I think because my percentage [of votes] hasn’t really been knocking on the door, you know? I think if it’d been at 60 percent or something for five years, it might be different. I mean, I always try to be optimistic. I know my percentage is pretty low and you need 75. And I’m not really close. So in that way I’m not really frustrated.

To be honest, I thought my percentage would be higher over the years. It hasn’t been high. I tend to feel like I’ll get a bump this year. We’ll see. There’s been some talk about guys that played in the ‘70s and ‘80s, that there might be some revisiting of their careers [by voters], and I have some people that have been supportive. So we’ll see. I appreciate the support and I try to stay optimistic.

Q: Have you thought about it being your next-to-last year of eligibility on the ballot?

A: Yeah, a little bit. I usually do a few interviews when the voting comes out, but I’m doing a lot more now because the time is running out. I’m aware of that. Again, it’s not something I’m thinking about all the time, but I do think about it. I appreciate the chance to be considered. I’ve known for all these yeasr that if it was going to happen it would be a while before it did. [The HOF] is a tough place to get into, as it should be.

This year and next, and if it doesn’t happen then we’ll see what happens in the future.

Q: John Schuerholz emailed a letter on behalf of the Braves this year to Hall of Fame voters and other members of the BBWAA in support of your candidacy. Is there anything else that you think could be done or could have been done over the years, or do you believe election is just something that should sort of happen on its own?

A: That letter from John and the Braves was really nice and I really appreciated it. I’m in the camp that you let things happen. I’m a little uncomfortable in some ways campaigning and tooting your own horn. Even talking about it sometimes, you don’t know exactly what you’re supposed to say. But one of the requirements they list going in is to believe you belong. I think there’s a place for me in there. It’s got to kind of happen on its own. I appreciate the support, but there’s no feeling on my part that something should have been done before. I just appreciate the Braves’ support now and we’ll see what happens.

Murphy and the 1980s Braves became "America's Team" through TBS Superstation coverage.

Murphy and the 1980s Braves became "America's Team" through TBS Superstation coverage.

I think there’s a certain momentum right now and that it was probably an advantage for the Braves to come out now, as it gets more to the end [of his ballot eligibility], to come out more when there’s some revisiting of some guys’ careers. But I just appreciate the support.

Q: Do you think you’d have received more votes if you’d played in a larger market, or even if you’d played for the Braves during their run of division titles as opposed to the team’s struggling 1980s era when you were in Atlanta?

A: I have said before and I think it that postseason play is an advantage for guys being considered. Your career gets imprinted more there, and I was only there once — it was ’82, a long time ago. That would have helped to have been [in more postseasons]. But I think there’s some comparables [among players in the Hall of Fame].

Q: Would getting into the Hall change the way you’re viewed or even the way you view your own career? Or are you satisfied with what you accomplished regardless of whether you can ever put that “HOF” next to your signature?

A: It’s one of those things — obviously what a great thing to be able to be a part of. But there’s the career that stands and there’s really no going back. Are there some things I’d do differently? Oh, I’ve always felt I can think of things I wish I’d done – played in more postseasons. But as far as what I did, I just tried to approach every year the same way, to work hard at it, do the best you can.

The one thing that kind of challenged me at the end was injuries. Those are things that just happened. There’s really no going back. I gave it my best shot. I think that’s all you can ask for in anything you do.

Q: You’ve maintained a close association with the Braves, coming to spring training in recent years, stopping by to see Bobby Cox and his team sometimes on the road. Even though you played for Philly and Colorado at the end of your career, do you still consider yourself a Brave?

A: Oh, yeah, definitely. I had a great experience in Philly and Colorado. It was great to be able to go to experience other organizations and cities. But I came up in Atlanta. They gave me a shot… I love showing up at [Braves] spring training; it’s a blast. The Braves have always been very accomodating, and we show up whenever we can on the road. I’m definitely a Brave.

Q: Having said that, how tough was it for you to watch the Braves’ September collapse? Were you keeping tabs on the team every day during that season-ending skid?

A: I was heartbroken just like everybody was. That was a tough stretch. Back in ’82 when we won the division we had a tough August. If we’d have had the same month in September as we had in August we wouldn’t have gotten in. It’s just one of those ups and downs. The Braves had a tough September and St. Louis had a crazy September. Just one of those things that happen. It was crazy week of baseball for a lot of teams. I was watching a lot and watched every pitch of the last game.

Q: What do you think of the state of the Braves, as far as the direction the organization is headed. Do you like their young talent?

Murphy maintains a close association with the Braves, including regular visits to spring training as a guest instructor.

Murphy maintains a close association with the Braves, including regular visits to spring training as a guest instructor.

A: I do. I love some of these young players. How can you not love them? And Chipper [Jones] has hung in there tough, looks like he’s still going strong. I love some of these guys, they’re fun to watch. I appreciate the Braves organization, how they do things. They maintain that strong commitment to young players and developing them.

Q: You mentioned Chipper. He’s nearing the end of his career, all of it spent with the Braves. What have you thought watching him over the years, seeing him grow up a Brave and experience so much success, but also deal with disappointment and adversity?

A: I think Chipper obviously has had an amazing career. You’ve seen a young kid grow up right before our eyes as Braves fans, and he’s had a tremendous career and given it all to Atlanta. Speaking from personal experience, that’s something you don’t see. And having him here, one of the great third basemen in the history of the game — I’ve loved watching Chipper. One of the premier hitters in the history of the game.

He’s matured and he’s been able to do things that a lot of players have not been able to do, to maintain production at the end of his career, like Mike Schmidt did. That’s the problem when you get to his age, just staying 100 percent. But I think it’s been fantastic to see what he’s been able to do.

Q: Are you thinking of going to Cooperstown in a couple of years to see Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and probably Bobby Cox all get inducted together?

A: Oh, man, that would be fantastic. I hope I’m there, definitely. I’ve been there on other occasions. If I’m around I’m definitely putting that down on my calendar.

Q: I would imagine Bobby’s pretty special to you?

A: Oh, for sure. He gave me a chance to play. Got me in the outfield. Hung with me through some tough times I was having. He saw something in me. I’ll never forget that.

164 comments Add your comment

Plate Appearance

January 4th, 2012
11:45 am

Dale deserves The Hall!

Glenn

January 4th, 2012
11:46 am

Great interview; always love hearing from Murph.

As a side note, it’s Mormon, not Morman.

Sharkfinhat

January 4th, 2012
11:51 am

Great conversation with a class act that I think has earned a place in the hall.

Sharkfinhat

January 4th, 2012
11:52 am

Oh, and on the music side of things, the great Centro-Matic dedicated a song to Murph when they played at the Earl last year.

David O'Brien

January 4th, 2012
11:52 am

Thanks for the catch, Glenn. Guess I had former minor league slugger Russ Morman on the brain. Russ was a real-life Crash Davis, for those unaware. Spent more than a decade in the minors, retired as the minor league homer leader if I’m not mistaken.

Rayman

January 4th, 2012
12:06 pm

Great Interview! Murph deserves to get more attention this time of year. The low percentage of votes he keeps gettting is such a disappointment for me. Good luck Murph!

b

January 4th, 2012
12:09 pm

DOB, have you EVER interviewed a more likeable and pleasant guy than Dale Murphy?
IT’s always a pleasure to read or hear anything about Dale.

abby normal

January 4th, 2012
12:09 pm

Murphy is and always has been a class act, but in my opinion he just does not have the numbers for the HOF. As one of the AJC writers said not too long ago if there were a Hall of Very Good, he would already be in.

Kris Medlen's Hat

January 4th, 2012
12:09 pm

From Hammerin’ Hank to Murph to Chip, great Braves that will live forever. How can an icon to all of America like Murph not get in the Hall? Aaron is. Chipper will be. Sad that Dale isn’t. Get it right voters!!!
Great piece as always, DOB.

How'd that '80 S.I. cover work out for the Braves?

January 4th, 2012
12:11 pm

keep dreaming….if you don’t have hope, what do you live for?

jambee3

January 4th, 2012
12:11 pm

“After hitting .279 with 310 homers and a .362 OBP in 12 seasons through ‘87, he hit .234 with 88 homers and a .307 OBP in his last six seasons”. Which is about the time the Andre Dawson got on the juice and extended his career. Cheaters win and the good people lose.

Fred Sanford

January 4th, 2012
12:13 pm

the guys from his era did NOT use steroids

USMC DAWG

January 4th, 2012
12:15 pm

Why are Hall of Fame candidates voted on by sportswriters who never played the game? People like Tererance Moore, (and a ton of others not worth mentioning), have no business deciding who derserves to be in the HOF. Leave it to current HOF’ers to elect them…

Rayman

January 4th, 2012
12:17 pm

abby I think you are missing the point. Dale Murphy was great on a poor team most of his career and years of playing gold glove caliber centerfield on some of the worst playing surfaces of all time, ruined his knees. The NL was full of astro turf fields and he rarely if ever missed a game in his best years. I gaurantee that if you asked the players that faced him everyday about Dale Murphy they would not say he was “very good”. He was a great player and one of the best of his generation.

How'd that '80's S.I. cover work out for the Braves?

January 4th, 2012
12:23 pm

Braves were only America’s Team because people in podunk, Iowa and bumf–k, bama didn’t have any other team and cable broadened their “culture”.
Watching the Braves lose every night was better then being bored with cow tipping or putting a new cement block underneath their pickup truck outside their trailer.
The power of the Superstation kept the Braves in Atlanta. Otherwise they would have been long gone to Canada like the Flames.

Don Battingly

January 4th, 2012
12:25 pm

Murphy played 18 seasons and had only a career .265 avg with less than 400 homers…..Hammering Hank averaged over 30 bombs a year for his whole 20+ career with a higher avg……..Dale needs to face the same facts that Don Mattingly is looking at…..5 or less good/great years does not make a hall of famer!

jambee3

January 4th, 2012
12:25 pm

You are wrong, Fred. Do the names Mark McQuire and Jose Conseco ring a bell? That probably began around 1990, about the time Mr. Dawson was extending his career when other people his age were winding it down.

The Truth

January 4th, 2012
12:27 pm

If Dale Murphy is elected to the Hall of Fame they would have to triple their square footage in Cooperstown because there are hundreds if not thousands of players before and after Murphy that would have to be elected!

Talk about the '90's era in MLB.....

January 4th, 2012
12:28 pm

But don’t be so naive about ’60’s and ’70’s era of pill poppers in MLB. And coke heads of ’70’s and ’80’s. Those extra rushes “enhanced”.

blazerdawg

January 4th, 2012
12:30 pm

Played multiple positions, well.

Despite being about the only bat in the lineup many years, performed at a high level and was clutch.

Let the league in many batting catagories multiple seasons.

Despite being 6′6″ he gained 30/30, before that kind of player was more common.

Still, 30 years later, one of the most popular (FAME) athletes in one of America’s greatest cities.

TWO TIME MVP.

For heaven’s sake baseball writers, give-up your regional bias and do the right thing –

MURPF in the HOF.

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

January 4th, 2012
12:30 pm

Nice feature. Thanks DOB.

ho hum

January 4th, 2012
12:32 pm

Isn’t being in the Braves HOF enough for anyone?

'60-'70's

January 4th, 2012
12:35 pm

“hey, pass me a greenie, I’m going to the Hall”

ChillyMutt

January 4th, 2012
12:40 pm

Love John Boy / Murph. Best player in the game for several years. Unfortunately I don’t think he is a HOFer.

MTV was the ruin of civilization

January 4th, 2012
12:44 pm

Whatever happened to “Dough Boy” Horner? He must weigh something like Jabba the Hut now, and still holding out for a new contract, while counting his millions, huh? Piece of sh–

Chief Noc-A-Homa

January 4th, 2012
12:46 pm

Me deserve HOF

Gwinnett Fred

January 4th, 2012
12:46 pm

Classiest player I ever knew.

Back in ‘78 I was in college and got press credentials being the Sports Director at the radio station. A complete nobody. But one day I was coming out of a store at old North Dekalb mall and Dale coming out of one across from me. He called out to me and said “hi”.

I’ve always belived in the line of thinking of a person is only as “great” as he treats those “below” them in stature. Well, Dale, along those lines is simply the greatest.

I’ll always remember in the Bravaes clubhouse the cooler had a shelf of coke, one of diet coke, one of beer and 3 gallon jugs of milk at the bottom. I’m sure you can guess the milk drinker.

Best of luck getting to Cooperstown Dale, you deserve it!

disbot3000

January 4th, 2012
12:47 pm

I love Murph and grew up with him as my model of what a ballplayer should be, but I do not think that his career stands up to being in a TRUE Hall of Fame. Having said that, they’ve already allowed in many players who really belong in a Hall of Very Good instead of Hall of Fame, so why not let Murphy in too? I mean, if guys like Blyleven and Mazeroski can get in, then surely there is room for Murph.

Skip Caray

January 4th, 2012
12:49 pm

Oh boy, there’s a cutie in 114 our producer Diamond needs to get on in a hurry…..She’s HOF material!

Rockin' the Casbah!

January 4th, 2012
12:52 pm

Gwinnett Fred, Just like Dekalb used to be all white, those times have changed.

K.Conway

January 4th, 2012
12:53 pm

Nice guy but not Hall of Famer!

Gwinnett Fred

January 4th, 2012
12:58 pm

Rockin’:

I think you are tight on all fronts. A player of his stature wouldn’t be caught dead at a shopping mall these days, certainly wouldn’t say hello just because they noticed you first and I doubt there has been many jugs of milk in clubhouse coolers in recent decades!

And all of that is just plain sad!

Danno

January 4th, 2012
12:58 pm

I cant remember how many times I was at Fulton County Stadium and watch Murph smack the ball over the center field fence. People flocked there just to see him hit the ball. If anyone did more for the Braves in the 80’s than Dale Murphy, I would like to know who it was. He deserves a spot in the hall, just for what he did for baseball during his time in Atlanta.

A classier guy would be hard to find. Good Luck Dale, and thanks for the memories.

There's gonna be an onslaught....

January 4th, 2012
1:00 pm

In a short time there is gonna be a bunch of Braves going in HOF….the rewards of the ’90’s are about to be reaped for many Atlanta Braves.

I used to like

January 4th, 2012
1:06 pm

being able to pronounce half the names on the roster in baseball.
base-a-ball used to be berry, berry, good to me.

62-39-5

January 4th, 2012
1:07 pm

who cares about the K’s Reggie Jackson had more than 2500 and is in HOF

Rich T

January 4th, 2012
1:14 pm

Sandy Koufax’s run at the top was no longer than Murphy’s, and he’s in.

PMC

January 4th, 2012
1:19 pm

Whatever, the Hall of Fame is for old yankee sportswriters.

PMC

January 4th, 2012
1:20 pm

Murph was a better player than a lot of guys already in.

They’ve made it the hall of very good already as long as you play in a yankee city.

Richmond Braves Fan

January 4th, 2012
1:23 pm

Dave any idea why your brethren does not give more importance to all of the voting requirements?

“5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” As I read it there are five clear criteria on which to judge a players candidacy.

1. Player’s record
2. Integrity
3. Sportsmanship
4. Character
5. Contributions to the team(s) on which the player played

Despite there being five criteria it seems the writers only use number one. Obviously an argument can be made that the other should not be on the ballot BUT they are and therefore should either be considered or if the writer feels that strongly abstain from voting.

Integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions; I challenge anyone to name a baseball player with higher credentials than Murphy. Maybe Clemente but that is it. I have seen some writers try to claim they do not want to judge a man’s personal life. I do not understand the confusion. It is the baseball hall of fame. Thus criteria such as integrity should refer to play on the field not tax returns and marital vows. The hall of fame is all about meeting certain criteria for example Ozzie Smith whose defense alone might not have done the trick. However combined with other things he makes the hall of fame while Omar Vizquel will not. Dale Murphy was a DOMINANT player with back to back MVPs He played excellent defense (5 straight golden gloves), ran the bases well (30-30 club and 161 career SBs) and yes 398 home runs are low but I remind you he has more than Hall of Fame outfielder Ralph Kiner who also had a dominant but injury shortened career. Integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions should either have Murph in the hall of fame or should be removed from consideration. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis added “the integrity clause” (as some refer to it) for a reason and Selig should insist it be considered or removed. I would love to hear any thoughts you have on this Dave. Also love the article it is great to hear about Murph the person and his love of Wilco. You hear about his wonderful charitable work so much it is nice to hear about the normal things.

And if this is not enough perhaps Scherholz should include the story of Elizabeth Smith in next year’s letter. He promised her a home run and his integrity and character would not let him fail.

coachx

January 4th, 2012
1:25 pm

Dale is a class act and Braves legend.

He was the hero of every Braves fan who grew up in the 80’s.

The steroid era ruined it for Murph. I believe in voting the best players into the HOF from each era and Dale Murphy was without doubt one of the top 5 MLB players of the 80s.

robdawg08

January 4th, 2012
1:27 pm

I was always a big Dale Murphy fan. He & Mike Schmidt were the best players in the NL for about a 10 year span. I think not getting the 400 home runs has hurt Murph. He’s definitely a HOFer though.
Its cool that he likes alternative music. If Murph reads this check out Avenged Svenfold,Three Days Grace,and Seether. More great alternative rock music. My son got Murph’s autograph at the softball game late this year between the greats and the World Series Braves 95 team. I didn’t know that Murph wrote left-handed since he hit right-handed.

VolBrave

January 4th, 2012
1:34 pm

Great interview DOB! Thanks for getting that to us.

Murphyforthehall

January 4th, 2012
1:35 pm

One thing that bothers me now is that the SABR geeks and ESPN statheads like Jayson Stark have turned the Hall of Fame into the Hall of Statistics, where long careers and compiled numbers mean more than the quality of the player’s career. Murphy may not have had the 15-20 year career with 500HR, but in his seven season run from 1982-1988 there were few better in the majors, and he is still identified as an elite player of his time. The HOF should be for the players that fans identified with the game in their respective eras. Murphy was certainly that player in Atlanta and was throughout the country as seen by his consecutive ASG appearances. Unfortunately, Murphy likely won’t get in and will have to wait for the veterans voting rotation to come back around to the post-expansion era in 2014. Hope the vets do the right thing and he goes in with Smoltz. Cox and Glavine should give him some pub in 2013 in their induction speeches.

KB

January 4th, 2012
1:35 pm

Dave – Do you know if John Shuerholz and the Braves wrote a letter to support Fred McGriff’s candidacy?

Bill

January 4th, 2012
1:55 pm

Love Dale, he always was one of my favorite. I have ball, bat and picture of Dale and my son together….Old Victer told the picture and Dale signed all three items. Super person and player..we need more like Dale.
Pray he get in BHF.

Ken Stallings

January 4th, 2012
2:15 pm

I have already laid out my arguments for why Murphy belongs in the HoF. I’m just very happy you were able to secure this interview and help him get the word out there that he does care and does legitimately believe he has earned the election. He’s such a humble man that many have unfortunately interpreted his previous comments to mean even he doesn’t think it’s important or he doesn’t think he deserves to be in. Neither is clearly the case.

Santa

January 4th, 2012
2:17 pm

I will send some of my elves and see if they can get this oversight fixed. He deserves to be in.

joeinnc

January 4th, 2012
2:22 pm

Richmond Braves Fan great post. I never knew that was the stated voting criteria the BBWAA. I agree this should absolutely be considered or removed. I looked up the part about Elizabeth Smith and thought everyone should read it.

“Before a home game against San Francisco on June 12, 1983, Murphy visited in the stands with Elizabeth Smith, a six-year-old girl who had lost both hands and a leg when she stepped on a live power line. After Murphy gave her a cap and a T shirt, her nurse innocently asked if he could hit a home run for Elizabeth. “I didn’t know what to say, so I just sort of mumbled ‘Well, O.K.,’ ” says Murphy. That day he hit two homers and drove in all the Braves’ runs in a 3-2 victory.”

I know Ruth was famous but I bet as much as he did visit kids he probably promised more than he hit.

Also Dave or Carroll I know the ajc prohibits you from voting. I assume that despite the ban you are a member of the BBWAA and still receive an annual ballot. Does the ban affect potential HOFers since the vote is based upon percentage? Is it the percentage of ballots ie writers or the percentage of ballots submitted? Would also love to know your thought on the voting criteria?

Mark (another one)

January 4th, 2012
2:26 pm

For a lot of Murphy’s career, I was a Dodger fan living on the west coast. I loved it when we played Atlanta because it seemed we could pitch around Murphy and get the win. Look at the complaints of the modern player stating they need a good hitter behind them so they will get good pitches to hit. Murphy didn’t need that. He hit what was thrown and he was a five tool player.

How many two-time MVPs aren’t in the HOF? Who had more homers or RBIs during the ten seasons of 1981-1990? No one. Don’t hold against him the fact that he is a good man, too good to be complaining about the slight. He deserves to be in the Hall. Vote him in now.

PoliticalMan

January 4th, 2012
2:31 pm

It would be interesting to see commentary on some other players who may have squeaked in or have been left out who have similar credentials to Murph to gain some perspective.

swright

January 4th, 2012
3:03 pm

Great article. Great guy. Murph will always be HOF in my book!

MitchC

January 4th, 2012
3:03 pm

Thanks Dave. I’ve been a Braves fan since 1983, so I got to watch Murph during much of the heyday or his great career.

When I saw him play, I had always thought he was a shoo in for the Hall. The problem, I guess, was three things. His rapid decline in stats and injuries from 1988 on, the fact that the Braves were the leagues doormats from 1985 to 1990, and his 265 career batting average. Chipper, if he retired tomorrow, has a career average of 35 plus points higher, more homers, a World Championship, and has been to the playoffs a dozen times.

I’d love to see Murph get in, but. as much as we all admire Dale Murphy, it seems the writers consider his stats short of enshrinement status. Maybe the Vet committee will see it differently. I hope so, for his sake, and for the sake of all people who have been long time Braves fans, like myself, who had the pleasure of seeing him play, and what kind of a great person he is.

Steve From Dalton

January 4th, 2012
3:13 pm

Always good to catch up Murph. Good Story DOB. That is one guy that we know was not on the juice.

jw

January 4th, 2012
3:46 pm

Enter your comments here

fordcobra

January 4th, 2012
3:54 pm

I covered the Braves for a local newspaper back in 1986. I went to spring training, it was Chuck Tanner had just been hired, I met and interviewed a lot of players from many teams, but none was nicer than Dale Murphy, I still have a framed picture of Dale and me together (Mutt and Jeff) he had some of the largest hands I had ever seen. I will always treasure my interview with him, almost as much as my interviews with Luke Appling, and Ernie Johnson Sr. God Bless you Dale and I hope you receive your just rewards.

Dawged

January 4th, 2012
3:56 pm

Thanks DOB for the update. I hope Murph gets in the HOF -he deserves it.Maybe the voters will take a second look at players who did not juice and put up a lot of great numbers on a consistant basis.More important was the great role model he was for kids of that era to follow.Both my boys were Dale Murphy fans and I was so happy they picked such as class act to be their hero.He was mine as well.Best of Luck-Murph!

Bo Diddley

January 4th, 2012
3:59 pm

I am one of the biggest Braves fans ever. I rooted enthusiastically for Murph, Rafael Ramirez, Claudell Washington, Chris Chambliss, Pascual Perez, Hub, Rick Camp….I could go on and on. Even through the down years. But I cannot honestly say that Dale Murphy belongs in the Hall of Fame, as much as it pains me to admit. Don’t get me wrong…I loved the guy and still do, but I don’t think the numbers warrant it. He did, however, mean the world to me and the rest of Braves country and for that he will be forever cherished.

jw

January 4th, 2012
4:01 pm

It’s great to know Murph reads the blog – it’s pretty simple.

A man who has similar stats – Jim Rice is in the Hall and Murph isn’t. Had Dale Murphy played for any other team but Atlanta – he would be sitting up there for all of us to behold. He gave his heart and soul to Atlanta – everything he had – he never held back – NEVER – good times, bad times – a star player, like Neikro, who had to absorb many years of losing. You don’t win back to back MVP’s without being a great player.

On other teams, Murph could have been MVP more than twice – only the folks who sat in Fulton County and watched understand how hard he played for our town. The man cuts his hand in the fence – pinches it together, comes back and plays the next night – that won’t happen today.

Mr. Baseball in the 80’s – The BEST player from 80 to 90 – led the majors in homers, youngest back to back MVP guy – 740 game iron man streak – in ATL – not baseball heaven at the time.

I had the honor of watching a lot of Dale Murphy baseball games in my life and I always remember that bright eyed, take it all in, give it his all style. He was the one we wanted at the plate for those magic moments – more times than not – he delivered. Just wish he and Horner could have been team mates a little bit longer – wow!

The Hall will be calling one day – enjoy it when it happens – there are a bunch of us that really appreciate everything you did to keep baseball alive in Atlanta!

Marc Spoor

January 4th, 2012
4:06 pm

Thanks for the interview DOB…Dale Murphy was my hero growing up…Does he ever talk about trying to coach as a hitting instructor or manager? I could never understand why he never went into coaching.

Thanks.

Marc

Businessnega

January 4th, 2012
4:22 pm

Murph – As far as we’re concerned you’re already HOF.

That fat lady has sung

January 4th, 2012
4:32 pm

The guys a nice guy….2 great years and some really good years don’t make HOF.
Don’t take it so personal. He had a nice career and is just sugary sweet. We all get that.

James Harley

January 4th, 2012
4:32 pm

Great interview. Murph’ was always my favorite growing up and he made some very painful seasons more watchable. He is a class act and that should certainly mean something with the ballot. You don’t get many role models like that anymore. To put it in perspective for the younger set, imagine it this way. If he played in the NFL he would be the one calmly handing the ref the ball after scoring a touchdown. No flaunting. Hard to fathom. Hope he makes it!!

That fat lady has sung

January 4th, 2012
4:34 pm

Time to move on…….

JSS

January 4th, 2012
4:37 pm

For the person who cracked on Horner… He’s still living in Texas… Dallas/Ft. Worth area…
No, he just looks like a middle aged man…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDchojXo7oM from 2009.
Dale Murphy is a fine man… I wish him the best when he comes before the Veterans Committee eventually…

Patrick

January 4th, 2012
4:40 pm

Dale is one of a handful of Braves that is in the same company as Henry, Eddie, Warren, Phil ,Bobby, and a very few others. Nothing but a class act and a fine ball player that respected the game and the fans.
We need more guys like him today and less of the current breed . He is HOF material if ever there has been one. Thanks for the memories.

Scottbravesfan

January 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

How was murph not MVP in 87?

Peter

January 4th, 2012
4:44 pm

Dale i bet is the nicest guy out there, but .265 life time average, is not a Hall of fame number.

Sorry !

techgirl

January 4th, 2012
4:50 pm

great guy, but he doesn’t have the numbers of a hall of famer. sorry, it’s not gonna happen.

Nathan

January 4th, 2012
4:52 pm

How many other two-time MVP’s are not in the Hall? It does not seem right, but I guess there has to be a few. Murph belongs in Cooperstown.

Bro

January 4th, 2012
4:56 pm

There are too many non-players controlling the voting. Just because some guy is a writer it does not mean that he is really qualified to vote. There are a number of fairly recent inductees into the hall that do not deserve it due to their off field activities. A few well know individuals with drug and alcohol related problems as well as personal indiscretions. If Murph is voted in by the players association it will be a lot more meaningful.

indigo

January 4th, 2012
4:58 pm

How many MVP or Cy Young winners did not make the HOF? Are there many- or is Murph one of only few?

rc35

January 4th, 2012
5:08 pm

I agree with Rich T about Koufax. I know arthritis cut his career short, but injuries cut short a number of careers. Obviously, Mark Fidrych’s one season wasn’t enough for the HOF, but how many IS enough? The Hall of Relativity will always be with us, I suppose.

BRAVES FANATICUS

January 4th, 2012
5:10 pm

Atlanta’s favorite Brave and a outstanding family man – yes !

Baseball Hall of Famer? No !

His career stats, losing teams and a near-empty stadium don’t help.

He had 2 consecutive MVP awards. So did Roger Maris who is STILL Baseball’s single season HR CHAMP; but Maris is not in the Hall of Fame.

Like Underground Atlanta and hockey in Atlanta, GET OVER IT !

Yankee Fan

January 4th, 2012
5:13 pm

Like anything, anymore; the H of F is a Hall of Shame. I suspect the .265 average hurts, but “Murph” was an elite player on a not-so-elite team – as he points out, one post-season appearance. He’s Atlanta’s Don Mattingly. Frankly, with Kirby Puckett IN the Hall of Fame; Mattingly, Murph and others are better off being on the outside.

JM

January 4th, 2012
5:15 pm

He was 2-3 more good years shy of Hall consideration. Odd to hear him tooting his own horn now.

Jim Rice

January 4th, 2012
5:16 pm

Hey, if you let Dale Murphy in, then you might as well induct me too.

What’s that?

I did?

Awesome!

rico43

January 4th, 2012
5:25 pm

Murphy was the best player in the NL at his position for the decade of the 80s. Hard to imagine a lot of people who met that kind of criteria getting so little support.

Bake McBride

January 4th, 2012
5:29 pm

To be honest about it, didn’t you just hate seeing him come to bat with 2 outs and runners in scoring position?

Yankee Fan

January 4th, 2012
5:30 pm

Again, BA (.265) is but one facet of a player’s skill. The post-season? Seems to me this is a “team” accomplishment. And “techgirl” let’s be honest, do we want sportswriters telling us when “numbers” mean something, and when they do not? If MLB wants to set benchmarks for “Hall of Fame Numbers” x number of 20 wins seasons, .300 BA, 400 HR, 3000 hits, etc., it might be worth consideration, but how do they (dipsh*t writers) account for smaller ballparks and diluted pitching (HRs) and of course, there is the matter of Raphael Palmero, who most certainly had the “numbers” (300 hits and 500 HR).

Les Wilson

January 4th, 2012
5:32 pm

Dale Murphy was probably the all-time most popular Brave while the Braves have been in Atlanta-he has always been sigificant because of his demeanor and his example to the younger fans(something you cannot always say in the present era)-there have been few favorites worth all ages adoration as there was for Dale Murphy-May the HOF for sure be in his future.

Steve

January 4th, 2012
5:50 pm

Compare Murph’s numbers to other HOF’s from that period and earlier and they stand up well. Compare Murph’s numbers to current players and soon to be HOF candidates and they don’t look as good.

The problem is, the meathead’s doing the voting are too enamored with the ridiculous numbers of the steroid era. Quite frankly, if Dawson got in, Murph should be in.

You want a reason why steroids are bad for the game .. this is it.

roge

January 4th, 2012
5:50 pm

Struck out to many times. Curve balls .

MountainDawg

January 4th, 2012
5:54 pm

Murph most definitely should be in Cooperstown.

Fan of the Game

January 4th, 2012
6:55 pm

Dale Murphy deserves the Hall of Fame. Maybe he should have been caught with dope and he would have been inducted. I am sick of all this hype for idiots that abuse the game. Dale deserves to be in the Hall. So many times they tried to pitch around him because he had no one hitting behind him, especially when Horner was hurt. He could have gone free agent and played on better teams but no he was loyal to the Braves because they had been loyal to him. His character should carry weight in getting him in the Hall along with his talent. Character issues are keeping Rose out so it should help get The Murph in. He will always be in my Hall of Fame.

Matt the Brave

January 4th, 2012
6:58 pm

I understand that Murph likely wouldn’t want to go on the road for an entire season, but why haven’t the Braves thought about him as hitting coach? I mean, at least hitting specialist.

Same Ole Sheet

January 4th, 2012
6:59 pm

I think Mike Scmidt would tell you that Dale Murphy belongs in the HOF. They battled for MVP’s for about 6 years…

Fan of the Game

January 4th, 2012
7:01 pm

That is who should be voting, the players that competed against these guys.

Dogham

January 4th, 2012
7:40 pm

I’m a Dale Murphy fan and hope to see him get the nod into the HOF someday by the Veterans committee. Atlanta being a National League city where the pitchers bat most of the fans missed the career of Edgar Martinez in Seattle who is the best DH of all time and he isn’t in the HOF. Just sayin’…

Newt

January 4th, 2012
7:43 pm

This Mormon gets in when the other one from Massachusetts gets into the white house.

Dave

January 4th, 2012
7:44 pm

I’d like to see him in; but, he probably doesn’t really have the stats to justify it.

BravesfaninWis

January 4th, 2012
8:00 pm

Murph deserves to be in Cooperstown no doubt about it. The only reason he is not there is because he played on some horrible teams in his career that never did anything. In that respect, I feel bad for him.

Now on to what he said about the Braves, is he really going to say anything else other than he is excited about them? Truth is, the Braves had a huge collapse and have done NOTHING about it but sit by and watch every other team in the division besides the Mets get stronger. Here it is going into the 2nd week of January and the Braves haven’t done one single thing to improve their team. How can you feel good about that if you are the owner of the team, the GM, the manager, a past player, a current player, or a fan?

The Braves will be lucky if they finish 4th in the division this year as it stand. If the Nats land Fielder and after the Marlins just landed Carlos Zambrano, it will damn near be a guarantee. So I ask this question, why should we fans care about this team and spend our money on them when they do nothing to try and compete? If you all want to spend your money on them this year, then that is on you, but I won’t spend a single cent on this team until they prove to their fans that they are in it. Trading away a player like Prado or Jurrgens to get Seth Smith won’t cut it for this guys. If they can’t get more creative than that, then they deserve to lose their jobs because of their stupidity and cheap ways.

jim

January 4th, 2012
8:45 pm

Murphy and Maris had similar career paths — 2 MVP years but a relatively short time at the top. Koufax had only 5 peak years, but those 5 years were 5 of the best ever by a post-deadball era pitcher. Other stars of the Murphy era were Gwynn, Brett, Schmidt, Yount, Molitor, Henderson, and Ripken — all HOFers who had a longer period of dominance. Others — Guidry, Parker, Valenzuela like Murphy had a shorter period of top level performance and are not in the Hall

jim

January 4th, 2012
8:55 pm

Other Hall of very Good players of the era include Cecil Cooper, Steve Garvey, Greg Nettles, Tommy John, Al Oliver, and if we move the clock forward a bit — Fred McGriff

Brave Fan

January 4th, 2012
9:35 pm

Great person and I enjoyed watching him play but he was not a hall of fame player. How many people can go from catcher to centerfield. He was really good but not that good. However, he is as good as some they let in. Way too many get in. It should be for the very best and it is not now>

CIA-Anti American Activites Department

January 4th, 2012
9:57 pm

Who are these people voting against Dale Murphy? We need to investigate them. They may be communists.

CIA-Anti American Activites Department

January 4th, 2012
10:00 pm

Even worse than communists, they may be French.

cosmo

January 4th, 2012
10:19 pm

GRAIG NETTLES

Playoffs!!!

January 4th, 2012
10:20 pm

If Ron Santo is in the Hall of Fame now, then Dale Murphy absolutely should be in

cosmo

January 4th, 2012
10:28 pm

Murph was a heckuva player but ala Andruw that low outside pitch became his Achilles heel, too

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