In last year on HOF ballot, case made for ‘Murph’

Dale Murphy won back-to-back National League MVP awards in 1982 and 1983, something only Joe Morgan had done before him and only Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols have done since. He won as many MVP awards in two seasons as Braves greats Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones won between them in their entire careers.

“Murph” was a seven-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner, and he finished 12th or higher in the league MVP balloting six times during 1980-1987.

Fifteen of his first 18 seasons were spent with the Braves, a period when the ultimate Mr. Nice Guy played for a lot of bad teams and a few good ones. He played in front of a national audience that tuned in to watch the Braves on the cable SuperStation, most of it during a time when fans outside major league markets had only the choice of Braves or Cubs to view on TV on a daily basis.

And so he was a popular player not just in Braves Country, but across the country.

For a time, Murphy was one of the very best players in baseball, winning back-to-back MVP awards.

For a time, Murphy was one of the very best players in baseball, winning back-to-back MVP awards.

Seven seasons with 29 or more homers in an eight-year span, including four consecutive seasons (1982-1985) with at least 36 homers and 100 RBIs. Those happened to be the years when I was in college, so I don’t remember many particulars from Murphy’s performance during that stretch. (Actually I don’t remember many particulars from anything else during that stretch, but that’s another story…)

Unlike me at that time, Murphy had a reputation for clean living. Had it through his entire career, as straight an arrow as you will come across in professional sports (or any other line of work). Never a whiff of controversy on the field or off. Not before, during or after his playing days. Those milk adds that became popular in subsequent years would’ve been ideally suited for Murphy.

You catch where I’m going with this? His career began in a baseball era tainted by cocaine scandals and amphetamines in the clubhouse, and ended just before the era tainted by widespread steroid use. But Murphy? His character, his reputation were beyond reproach, and remain so to this day.

He makes appearances, signs autographs, suits up as a guest instructor at Braves spring training, and last year became a semi-regular in the Braves broadcast booth. And he’s still the guy fathers can point to and tell their sons to grow up and emulate – without those fathers being worried about that blowing up in their faces someday.

Mistakes? Slip-ups? Doing people wrong? Not Murph. Never.

Which is my long-winded way of making a point: If integrity and character are seriously taken into consideration when 10-year BBWAA members fill out their ballots for the National Baseball Hall of Fame – it says on the ballot I got in my mailbox last week: “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportstmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played” – then Dale Murphy belongs in the HOF.

Hear me out.

If integrity and character are going to keep out of the HOF the most accomplished hitter (Barry Bonds) and most accomplished pitcher (Roger Clemens) most of us will see in our lifetimes, then integrity and character should be enough to put Dale Murphy over the top.

If integrity and character (in the form of widespread steroid suspicions, and in Bonds’ case admitted use of “the clear” and “the cream”) are enough to nullify Bonds’ seven MVP awards, eight Gold Gloves, 762 homers, 2558 walks, and absurdly spectacular career .444 OBP and .607 slugging percentage, and enough to nullify Clemens’ seven Cy Young Awards, 354-184 record and 4672 strikeouts, then integrity and character should also be enough to be the difference-maker when it comes to Murphy and what most of us who cover baseball would consider an otherwise borderline HOF playing resume.

Bonds (above) and Albert Pujols are the only NL players to win back-to-back MVP awards since Murphy did it. If Rule 5 and suspected steroid use are going to keep the seven-time MVP Bonds out of the Hall of Fame, might that rule also boost Murphy's HOF case?

Bonds (above) and Albert Pujols are the only NL players to win back-to-back MVP awards since Murphy did it. If Rule 5 and suspected steroid use are going to keep the seven-time MVP Bonds out of the Hall of Fame, might that rule also boost Murphy's HOF case?

In other words, if the morals clause, or however you want to put it, listed as No. 5 on the BBWAA Rules for Election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame — it’s the sentence I quoted above — is powerful enough to keep out Bonds, Clemens and other suspected steroid cheats, not to mention keep out deserving Jeff Bagwell even though he’s never actually been connected to steroids, then that is one weighty consideration. And it’s inverse, as it were, should be enough to put Murph over the top.

And if it’s not, then it means voters only use Rule No. 5 as an excuse to keep players out, rather than it being a consideration for helping players get in. Which doesn’t make much sense, if you really think about it.

I mean, if Bonds and Clemens are kept out, the only reason is steroids. The only reason is Rule No. 5, the part about integrity, sportsmanship and character. Because if we’re just going on performance, Bonds and Clemens absolutely, positively must be elected on the first ballot. On that we can agree.

And if we’re not going based solely on performance, if we’re weighing character and taking into account moral turpitude and such, then don’t we have to give points to the guy who is the very embodiment of the other end of the spectrum, the one who is the polar opposite of the suspected steroid cheats, not to mention the many other doers of distasteful deeds who are already in the Hall of Fame? (Bigots, liars, cheats and scoundrels, the quaint building holds the busts of many who you would never have wanted your daughter to marry.)

This is Murphy’s 15th and final year of eligibility on the ballot. He was named on 23.2 percent of ballots in his second year of HOF  eligibility in 2000, and he’s been below 15 percent ever since. That’s just ridiculous.

If Murphy had played for the Yankees or Red Sox, I say he would’ve been named on at least 50 percent of the ballots by now. Consider ex-Yankee Roger Maris: a .260 career hitter and four-time All-Star with 275 homers, 850 RBIs and an .822 OPS, he was named on more than 40 percent of the ballots three times.

Given the recent backlash from the steroid era, and the sentiment that some voters might give a little more credit to the players who were never suspected of using anything other than skills and hard work, I believe Murphy might actually be close to HOF election by now if he’d played in one of those major markets.

Murphy finished his career with a .265 average (undoubtedly the biggest thing holding him back with voters), .346 on-base percentage, .469 slugging percentage, .815 OPS (also hurts him), 398 home runs and 1266 RBIs in 18 seasons. As I said before, he was a seven-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove winner, and finished 12th or higher in the league MVP balloting six times, and one other time finished 21st.

“I don’t vote for Murphy,” FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal said when I asked him a year ago. “I feel badly about it — if ever a guy met the ‘character, integrity, sportsmanship’ criteria in a positive way, it’s him. But his relatively short peak bothers me, and even though we’ve come to understand that batting average is not the best offensive measure, his .265 mark is simply not up to Hall standards.”

Boston Red Sox great Jim Rice was elected in his 15th and final year of eligibility, getting named on at least 50 percent of the ballots for 10 consecutive years including 72.2 percent in his 14th year and 76.4 percent in 2009 to make it in.

Rice (above) was named on more than 50 percent of the HOF ballots for 10 consecutive years and got in with 76 percent. Murphy's career numbers fell short of Rice, though he hit more homers, reached a higher individual peak, and had a better eight-year run than any Rice produced. Murphy has been named on fewer than 15 percent of the ballots for the past 12 years.

Rice (above) was named on more than 50 percent of the HOF ballots for 10 consecutive years and got in with 76 percent. Murphy's career numbers fell short of Rice's, though he hit more homers than Rice, won five Gold Gloves to Rice's none, and arguably had a better six-year run than any the Boston slugger ever had. Murphy has been named on fewer than 15 percent of the ballots for the past 12 years.

Rice was an eight-time All-Star who didn’t win any Gold Gloves, won one MVP award, finished in the top five in MVP balloting five times, and two other times finished 13th and 19th. He closed his career far ahead of Murphy in batting average (.298), slugging (.502) and OPS (.854), and just ahead of him in OBP (.352), with fewer homers (382) and more RBIs (1451).

Rice was a very good player for a longer period than Murphy, but didn’t have a 7-8 year stretch that matched the peak years of Murphy’s career.

Again, Rice was named on more than 50 percent of the ballots for 10 consecutive years, and Murphy has been below 15 percent for the past 11 years. If Murphy doesn’t get in the Hall of Fame this year, then he certainly should at least be named on a hell of a lot more than 15 percent of the ballots.

Andre Dawson, who played much of his career in Montreal but played briefly in Boston and became a legend with the Cubs, is in the HOF with a .279 career average, .323 OBP, .806 OPS and 438 homers and 1591 RBIs.

We’re entering something of a new era of voting now, with Bonds and Clemens appearing on the ballot for the first time. And if voters are going to use Rule No. 5 as the reason to keep out the best hitter and best power pitcher of the past three decades, and the most feared hitter since Babe Ruth, then can’t Rule No. 5 also be used to strengthen the case for enshrinement for a two-time MVP whose on-field accomplishments alone were enough to warrant some consideration for election?

He had four consecutive seasons with 36-37 homers and 100 or more RBIs from 1982-1985, hitting above .280 with an OBP above .370 while playing all 162 games in each of those seasons. Yes, all 162. In 1983, he led the NL in RBIs (121), slugging (.540) and OPS (.933), and led the league in homers in 1984 (36) and 1985 (37). And he did it while being nice to people, being a great teammate, never getting into trouble or taking anything to help him perform at a higher level.

Hey, most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps, to borrow a line from Chuck D. And most of my favorite players as a kid weren’t straight arrows. I mean, Dave Parker was my man. And Pete Rose. And George Foster. Loved those guys. But we’re not talking about merely guys you loved watching, we’re talking the Hall of Fame here, and that Rule No. 5 was presumably put there for a reason. To be considered by voters. So consider it.

Playing every day took a toll on Murphy, who was undermined by injuries when he should still have been in his peak years. His career average and OBP declined significantly during his final six injury-plagued seasons, after his last great year in 1987 when he hit .295 with a career-high 44 homers, 105 RBIs and a career-best .997 OPS for the Braves.

After hitting .279 with 310 homers, a .362 OBP and .500 slugging percentage in his first 12 seasons through 1987, he hit .234 with 88 homers, a .307 OBP and .396 slugging percentage in his final six seasons.

In November 2011, Braves president John Schuerholz wrote an open letter to media members supporting Murphy’s HOF case. “Not only on the field, but off the field as well, Dale represented himself and the city of Atlanta with the class and professionalism consistent with the ideals of Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown,” he wrote. “Even today, he continues to be one of our game’s greatest ambassadors.”

That letter might have helped Murphy, but still he got only a bump from 12.6 percent of the ballots in 2011 to 14.5 percent in January. This year, the ballots arrived last week, and another emailed letter in support of Murphy arrived at about the same time. This one was from his son Chad, sent out to all BBWAA members.

Here it is, in its entirety:

An Open Letter to the BBWAA: Making the HOF Case for Dale Murphy, or, The Guy Who Changed My Diapers

Dear ___________,

My name is Chad Murphy. I’m Dale’s oldest son. ‘Tis the season for HOF voting, and this being the last year of my dad’s eligibility, I’d like to begin by reiterating the voting criteria, as per the Hall of Fame’s website:

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.

Next, let me just list a few of my dad’s accomplishments in his former role as an active MLB player. Here goes:

• Back-to-back NL MVP 1982, 1983 (1 of only 12 players—and the youngest in history at that time—to accomplish this)

• 7-time NL All-Star (top NL vote-getter in 1985 and a starter in 5 of those games)

• 4-time Silver Slugger award-winner

• 5-time Gold Glove award-winner

• 6th player in MLB history to reach 30 home runs/30 stolen bases in a single season

• Only player in history to compile a .300+ batting average, 30+ home runs, 120+ runs batted in, 130+ runs scored, 90+ bases on balls, and 30+ stolen bases in a single season, 1983

• Led MLB in total bases during the span of 1980-1989 (2,796)

• 2nd (only to HOFer Mike Schmidt) in total home runs from 1980-1989 (308)

• 2nd (only to HOFer Eddie Murray) in total runs from 1980-1989

• 1st in total home runs from 1980-1989 among all Major League outfielders (308)

• 1st in total RBIs from 1980-1989 among all Major League outfielders (929)

• 2nd in total hits from 1980-1989 among Major League outfielders (1,553)

• 2nd in total extra-base hits from 1980-1989 among Major League outfielders (596)

• Played in 740 consecutive games from 1980-1986 (11th longest streak in history at the time, and 13th today. Only missed 20 games total between 1980-1989)

• Reached base in 74 consecutive games, 1987 (3rd longest streak in Major League history)

• 398 career home runs (19th in Major League history when he retired, 4th among active players)

• 2111 career hits

• 1266 career RBIs

• .265 career batting average

• Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsmen of the Year” Award, 1987 (represented baseball as the “Athlete Who Cares the Most,” along with U.S. gold-medalist Judi Brown King, Kenyan gold-medalist Kip Keino, and others)

• Lou Gehrig Award, 1985 (given to the player who most exemplifies the character of Lou Gehrig, both on and off the field)

• Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award, 1988 (given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”)

• Bart Giamatti Community Service Award, 1991

• Jersey number “3” retired by the Braves, 1994

• Inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, 1995 (induction class with Roberto Clemente and Julius Erving. One of only 8 baseball players inducted in the Hall’s history)

• Inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence, 1995 (joining Mike Schmidt, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nolan Ryan, and others)

• Inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, 1997

• Inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, 1997

• Inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame, 2000 (joining Phil Niekro and Hank Aaron, among others)

• Founder of the IWon’tCheat Foundation in 2005, whose mission is to encourage character development among youth

Next, I really want to dive into his sabermetrics, starting with his JAWS, WAR, and WAR7, and then moving on to his JPOS, WPA, OPS, and—last but certainly not least—the all-important holy quadrinity of VORP, GORP, SCHLORP, and THUNDERCORK.

Oh wait, no I don’t.

Stand down, statistics nerds.

Look, I have no desire to get into some sort of cryptic mathematical argument for my dad’s induction into the Hall of Fame. The numbers are what they are—maybe they’re strong enough for the Hall on their own, maybe not. Whatever. The bigger issue, to me, is this: what happened to three of the criteria listed under the rules for election, namely, integrity, character, and sportsmanship? Gone but also forgotten? No doubt a player’s stats (i.e., “record” and “playing ability”) are a crucial part of the equation, but that’s just the point: we’re talking about an equation here, folks. And we’ve got a serious case of missing variables. Where’d they go, friends?

To be fair, I’ll grant the nerds this: In most cases things like “integrity” and “character” and “sportsmanship” are mighty difficult to quantify. I get that. Other than, say, creating a variable along the lines of “number of arrests for drug possession” or “number of ejections from a game,” it’s not exactly clear yet how to go about measuring those attributes. As a consequence, this so-called “character clause” does a real number on our quest for objectivity, which makes us uneasy. And so it makes sense that collectively we’ve emphasized the part of the voting criteria that is easier to measure and largely beyond subjective interpretation, namely, on-field statistics. Fine.

But hold on, maybe not fine. The character clause isn’t just totally MIA. In fact, it seems to come roaring back into the conversation every so often when certain players are mentioned, as if judging character weren’t so difficult after all. And, mysteriously, this only seems to happen in cases where the point is to keep someone out (see: Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, the ‘Roid Boys). Indeed, then it gets easy: Gamblers? Out! Cheaters? Be gone! Vehement racists? Well, okay, you can stay (lookin’ at you, Cap Anson). Of course, the obvious question here is from whence this biased, one-way application of the character clause?

Here’s one possibility. In psychology there’s a well-known and well-established finding known as the “bad is stronger than good” principle. In 2001, Roy Baumeister and colleagues reviewed a large number of studies and found overwhelming evidence that negative events figure more prominently in our minds—and are hence easier to recall—than positive ones. For example, the authors cite a 1978 study by Brickman and colleagues where they interviewed people who one year previous had either won the lottery (a supposed “good” event) or had been paralyzed in an accident (a bad event). What they found was that the intense negative feelings associated with being paralyzed had not abated a year later, while the positive feelings from winning the lottery had almost totally disappeared and the details of the experience entirely forgotten. The upshot here is that we, as human beings, adapt very quickly to good events, so quickly, in fact, that it doesn’t take long for us to forget those good things completely. And isn’t the uneven application of the character clause perhaps an illustrative example of this quirk in human memory and reasoning? Bad behavior (some of which—e.g., Joe Jackson—happened, er, nearly 100 years ago) appears to occupy a more central place in the minds of voters than the exemplary behavior of players like Dale Murphy.

These two facts—1) the difficulty of objectively quantifying qualitative characteristics about a player; and 2) our deeply-ingrained negativity bias as human beings—have led to a troubling scenario where we either ignore the character clause altogether, or we use it to keep people out, citing their public sins. But let’s be honest: you can’t have it both ways. Either we apply the character clause for all eligible players, equally, allowing for both negative and positive evaluations to count toward a player’s HOF case, or we toss it out completely. If the latter, then say goodbye (probably) to my dad’s HOF chances at the same time you say hello to Mr. Rose and Mr. he-of-no-shoes Jackson. Oh, and might as well roll out the red carpet for Mr. Bonds, too.

As the voting criteria currently stand, however, there’s no doubt that a fair, holistic assessment of my dad’s playing years would reveal that he is exactly the type of player we should want to represent the game of baseball for future generations. As the criteria suggest, HOF membership is not the equivalent of a career-long MVP award; rather, it’s an honor bestowed upon players for the legacies they’ve left behind. In my dad’s case, that’s a dang near unimpeachable legacy indeed.

Chad Murphy

While he’s certainly not impartial, Chad made some good points, no?

If Murphy isn’t named on at least 50 percent of the votes in his final year, and given strong consideration later by the HOF Veterans Committee, it’ll be a shame. And Rule No. 5 might as well be omitted.

• Leftovers and thoughts from Nashville: While the Braves continue to look for a left fielder, preferably one who hits leadoff – hello, Emilio Bonifacio? – the deeper we get into the winter the more the possibility grows that they could go with what they have and re-assess during spring training or the early season, if necessary.

If the Jays don’t trade Bonifacio, and the Braves don’t settle for a one-year stopgap – or as Wren put it, a “Calipari” – they might consider going with some combination of Martin Prado, Reed Johnson, Jose Constanza and possibly others (Jordan Schafer will try to win a 25-man roster spot this spring).

Part of the reason they’ve got more confidence that might work is the winter performance of third baseman Juan Francisco, who is not just having a strong showing in the Dominican Winter League – .315 with seven homers, seven homers, 26 RBIs in 29 games, ,375 OBP and .940 OPS – but also has hired a personal trainer and gotten himself in better shape.

He’s moving so much better, the Braves have even noted that Francisco played some left field in the minors with the Reds. Not that they would play him there unless in a pinch, but the flexibility is always a plus.

General manage Frank Wren, manager Fredi Gonzalez and a few other front-office officials went on what Wren called a “fact-finding mission” to the D.R. this past weekend, a day after returning from the Winter Meetings in Nashville. They were eager to see Francisco, catching prospect Christian Bethancourt, Constanza and pitchers Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado, all playing for Licey.

Teheran is on a roll in the Dominican Republic winter league, having allowed just two hits in 16-2/3 innings overe his past five starts. Braves GM Frank Wren saw him pitch Sunday.

Teheran is on a roll in the Dominican Republic winter league, having allowed just two hits in 16-2/3 innings overe his past five starts. Braves GM Frank Wren saw him pitch Sunday.

Teheran was dominant in front of the Braves team brass, allowing one hit and striking out eight to run his scoreless streak to 16-2/3 innings over three starts, with only two hits allowed in that span.

“We’ve seen him make good progress down there,” Wren said last week, before heading down to the D.R. to see him in person.

Teheran and Delgado are penciled in to compete for the fifth spot in the Braves’ rotation, “because the other four spots are full,” Wren said.

And when I mentioned to him that some Braves fans were a little worried about trading Teheran or Delgado because of what it might do to the pitching depth after Tommy Hanson already got traded, Wren said, “We worry too. Depth is a good thing. It’s a really good thing. At the same time, when you have what you feel is a team that can challenge for a championship, you’ve got to sometimes make tough decisions.”

I mentioned that teams can’t keep pitchers in Triple-A forever, that it’s tough to send a top prospect back there for a third season (Teheran has 50 starts at Gwinnett over the past two seasons).

“No, and that’s why we’re really motivated to get Teheran and Delgado out of Triple-A for 2013. Because you don’t want them kind of dying on the vine there.”

Wren said that was the main impetus for the Hanson trade, to open a spot for one of the younger pitchers.

The Braves wouldn’t consider trading Teheran or Delgado if they didn’t have other starting-pitcher prospects coming up behind them. But they do, including Sean Gilmartin, a 2011 first-round pick who is on a similar career climb through the organization as the one taken by another lefty first-round pick, Mike Minor.

“He’s right there,” Wren said of Gilmartin, who had a 3.84 ERA in 27 starts in 2012, the last seven after a promotion to Triple-A. “And [Zeke] Spruill. Spruill really had a great fall league and he’s continuing to grow and mature. And J.R. Graham is just behind that group.”

• More on Graham: The hard-throwing 22-year-old’s stock is on the rise. A fourth-round pick out of Santa Clara in 2011, Graham went 12-2 with 2.80 ERA in 26 starts in his first full season of pro ball, with 110 strikeouts and 34 walks in 148 innings and a WHIP of 1.061.

He finished the year at Double-A, going 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in nine starts with 42 strikeouts in 45-1/3 innings, and this week Graham was named the Braves’ No. 2 prospect by Baseball America, behind Teheran. (Delgado had too many MLB innings to qualify for the rankings.)

I asked Wren if Graham had surpassed expectations in his first full season.

“We had a good sense based on that first season after he was drafted,” he said, referring to Graham’s performance at Danville in short-season rookie ball in 2011, when he had a 1.72 ERA with 52 strikeouts and 13 walks in 57-2/3 innings. “We liked him a lot, and he’s done nothing but get better and continue to impress. He’s a premium talent.”

When I asked if it would be long before Graham was considered a truly elite pitching prospect, Wren smiled and said, “No. He is one of those guys. He’s absolutely one of those guys.”

The top pitching prospect in the organization?

“He’s up there close,” Wren said. “There’s not many guys in the game that pitch consistently above 95 [mph], and he’s one of those guys….

“He’s probably Huddy’s [Tim Hudson] size. Built like Huddy. Maybe a little stockier than Huddy. In the game where I saw him, he sat 96-98 [mph], and his last pitch of the game, in the seventh [inning], was 97. He’s got a real good breaking ball and developing change. His fastball is electric.”

What about the mental side, work ethic and all that?

“Great kid. One of the hardest workers, one of the best athletes,” Wren said. “He’s an impressive young guy.”

When I asked where Graham would be in 2013, Wren joked, “We’ll have to ask him where he wants to go….

“He’s going to be in Double-A or Triple-A, one of those. Depends on if we think he needs to work on anything. But I think he did enough at Double-A that he’s going to get a good look anyway.”

• If don’t spend it now: After signing Reed Johnson to a one-year, $1.75 million contract that includes a $1.6 million salary in 2012, the Braves have less than $10 million remaining to spend for next season, near as I can tell. If they don’t add a left fielder, they should have most of that to spend at some point during the season, either early on if they realize they have to make a move, or at the trade deadline.

Pence, a July addition by the Giants, is an example of an impactful player acquired before the trade deadline by a team that hadn't reached its payroll limit.

Pence, a July addition by the Giants, is an example of an impactful player acquired before the trade deadline by a team that hadn't reached its payroll limit.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean has mastered in recent years the strategy of saving some money to add a big piece during the season. Pat Burrell, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro all were added mid-season by the Giants and played a big part in stretch runs and/or postseason success.

Just something to think about if fans out there are fretting over the possibility the Braves might not spend what modest cash they have, in the first offseason in some time when they actually had the ability to add a couple of significant salaries to the payroll.

“The way we look at it is, every dollar you save going into the season, you can double [on a mid-season acquisition],” Wren said. “So if you save $5 million, that allows you to go get a $10 million player [before he’ll only be owed about half of his salary]. And at the trade deadline, if you save $5 million that really lets you get a $15 million played [since he’ll only be owed about one-third of his salary after July 31]. So that money is valuable at the trade deadline. If you’re able to take on salary [in a trade], you may not have to give up as much in talent. It really pays you both ways.

“So having money going into the season is a good thing. Especially if you don’t find the exact right fit.”

• Finally had a chance to watch the last three episodes of this season’s Treme on HBO, so I’m going to close with a tune from one of New Orleans’ musical treasures, the mighty Neville Brothers. You can hear it by clicking here.

3640383e-02-190920331am3755-neville-brothers

“YELLOW MOON” by the Neville Brothers

Oh, yellow moon, yellow moon
Why you keep peeping in my window?
Do you know something
Do you know something that I don’t know?

Did you see my baby
Walking down the railroad tracks?
You can tell me, oh, if the girls
Ever coming back

Is she hid out with another
Or is she trying to get back home?
Is she wrapped up in some other’s arms?
Or is the girl somewhere all alone?

Can you see if she is missing me
Or is she having a real good time?
Has she forgotten all about me
Or is the girl still mine all mine?

With your eye so big a shiny
You can see the whole damn land
Yellow moon, can you tell me
If the girl’s with another man, man?

Oh, yellow moon, yellow moon, yellow moon
Have you seen that creole woman
You can tell me
Oh, now ain’t you a friend of mine

With your eye so big a shiny
You can see the whole damn land
Yellow moon, can you tell me
If the girl’s with another man, man?

Oh, yellow moon, yellow moon, yellow moon
Have you seen that creole woman
You can tell me
Oh, now ain’t you a friend of mine

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

5,330 comments Add your comment

NV049

December 10th, 2012
2:49 pm

Nice article Than,ks DOB . Murphy is a great person .

Chief Knock-A-Homa

December 10th, 2012
2:49 pm

PuddyCat

December 10th, 2012
2:50 pm

I’ve linked useful info to help folks out here maybe 20-22 times, but never will I help anyone out ever again. Keep your snarky attitudes and find things yourself from now on. Jerks

http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=I%20am%20too%20lazy%20to%20look%20for%20the%20Mike%20Minor%20for%20Wil%20Myers%20trade%20rumor

ncgary

December 10th, 2012
2:50 pm

wouldn’t you know it joe polish and richard branson are in atlanta tonight, now theres who liberty needs to sell too

Tumbledown

December 10th, 2012
2:51 pm

While his career falls short of gaining entry into Cooperstown, Murphy definitely would get in the “Hall of Great Character” if there was such a place. I really enjoyed watching him play in the 80s.

Murph

December 10th, 2012
2:52 pm

Thanks for the new blog DOB.

I wish Murphy had a fighting chance to make the HoF, but I don’t think he does. Too bad, really, but his numbers are what they are.

Chief Knock-A-Homa

December 10th, 2012
2:52 pm

DOB

Anything on the possibility of a Corey Hart trade??

I think it would be a huge pickup even though it’s not the leadoff bat we’re looking for…

What are your thoughts on what it would take to make a deal to get him??

ncgary

December 10th, 2012
2:52 pm

my girlfriend knows them and i told her it looks like stem cell is the only thing that will save me, so shes got them investigating it for me

Rick C

December 10th, 2012
2:54 pm

“I’ve linked useful info to help folks out here maybe 20-22 times, but never will I help anyone out ever again.”

Translation: I have no source for the Minor for Myers trade.

Atlanta Mom

December 10th, 2012
2:55 pm

I have often wondered what kind of numbers Murphy would have put up, if he’d had anyone hitting behind him.

cc

December 10th, 2012
2:55 pm

He belongs in the Hall, plain and simple. For his integrity if nothing else. They don’t make him like that anymore.

ncgary

December 10th, 2012
2:55 pm

weii i guess when your dad owns ac controls and sells to every military fat cat around you tend to meet the movers and shakers. hopefully they can move and shake me back to normalcy

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 10th, 2012
2:55 pm

Thanks Chief!

No wonder Lew and 10-12 others jack you all the time

Don’t play like that….

Fredi Gonzalez

December 10th, 2012
2:55 pm

You have to tip your cap to Murph

ncscoots

December 10th, 2012
2:57 pm

Translation: I have no source for the Minor for Myers trade.

In fairness, he did say “Look it up.” :-)

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 10th, 2012
2:57 pm

not seeing anything Ward….

Georgia Sports Report

December 10th, 2012
2:58 pm

Dave, this is the best blog you’ve ever written. Really enjoyed it.

ncscoots

December 10th, 2012
2:58 pm

not seeing anything

It’s a joke link, man. Read the URL he posted.

Murph

December 10th, 2012
3:00 pm

Never ever never click a link posted by an angry person who goes by the name PuddyCat. Never.

It’s in my manifesto, page 612. You have read the manifesto, right? Then you should know that.

Tumbledown

December 10th, 2012
3:01 pm

Anyone think there is a match between the Rangers and Braves involving a trade of Teheran or Delgado for Olt? Rangers have not been able to land a truly “premium” starter. Maybe they would be willing to take a chance on Teheran to compete for the No. 4 or 5 starter position. Just a thought. Please do not skewer me as I welcome knowing why this might be a bad idea.

raleighbravefan

December 10th, 2012
3:01 pm

PuddyWard – No need to get huffy.

njbraves

December 10th, 2012
3:03 pm

Great guy, heck of a player, not a HOF’er. Sorry.

Real Talk

December 10th, 2012
3:03 pm

Murph is a HOF’er for sure!! I think DOB another thing that should be taken into consideration when evaluating players is who was around him in his career and when you look at Murph, you see outstanding #’s when he had anyone else in the lineup, but for most of his career at the end the Braves were abissmal!!!

Steve from OH

December 10th, 2012
3:03 pm

Murph’s son writes pretty well.

Bud

December 10th, 2012
3:03 pm

I whole-heartedly agree that Murphy should be in the Hall. You never know with the voters though. And as far as the character and integirity issue go, two players, who smuggled illegal narcotics after they retired, won election to the HoF.

LJ

December 10th, 2012
3:05 pm

Future looks good even if no LF is signed

DAP

December 10th, 2012
3:05 pm

i love murphy and think he should get in the hall. i admit he is a borderline case, but ive said that if a guy like andre dawson or jim rice can get in, murph oughta get in.

njbraves

December 10th, 2012
3:05 pm

I thought Frank Wren was going after “premium” players this off season?

smallmouth6

December 10th, 2012
3:05 pm

I was in college for much of Murphy, too, but I did watch him a lot. For two years NOBODY was better than him. He will always be among my favorite players, HOF or not.

Kid Handsome

December 10th, 2012
3:07 pm

You have to wonder how many of the 90’s crop of HGH’ers and Roiders would stack up against Murph if they hadn’t had chemical advantages. Not that Murph would ever think it, but you have to imagine that the knee problems that helped hasten his retirement would have been delayed seven or eight years if he’d taken steroids like many of the players during that time. Without steroids and the wild number swings they brought, his 30/30 seasons would have much more meaning, as would his 2 MVPs.

Murph

December 10th, 2012
3:08 pm

Tumbledown, I don’t know that just Teheran or Delgado would be enough to get Olt, not after the return the Royals got for Myers. Maybe.

That being said, it sounds like Teheran is finally putting things together with the new delivery… I doubt the Braves trade him now. Couple that with the fact that they won’t have him competing for the 5th rotation spot with Gilmartin and I’d say chances of Delgado getting dealt are now slim, too.

No, I think the team is what it is… some questions remain around Francisco/Gattis and Teheran/Delgado, but I seriously doubt they add any big-time players before February.

Mike A

December 10th, 2012
3:09 pm

In an old Bill James study, Murphy actually hit better without protection. Protection has by and large been debunked as a myth, by those same ’statistical nerds’ that Chad Murphy unfortunately dismisses. I don’t think Chad’s caustic article is going to help Dale’s case.

Loved Murphy growing up, and though part of me selfishly wants him in the Hall of Fame, I realize that he doesn’t match up with the greats. Sure, he’s comparable to Jim Rice, but Rice is considered a poor selection by most. And we can’t compare players like Murphy to ‘bottom-of-the-barrel’ Hall of Famers, else we start letting every very good player in the Hall. Come on down, JD Drew, Chuck Knoblauch, and Mark Grace!

It’s a shame Murphy’s knees went out, else he’d be a HoFer for sure. But so be it.

Real Talk

December 10th, 2012
3:11 pm

@DOB Dont you think his numbers would be even greater if he had anyone batting behind him in the late 80’s, also how many players who have had their number retired by their team that they play for are not in the HOF, would be interesting to know? GREAT ARTICLE!!

raleighbravefan

December 10th, 2012
3:20 pm

I am sick of people moaning and whining that Wren said he was going after “premium” players this Winter…some even going so far as to call him a liar. It takes 2 to tango…He cannot force free agents to sign with us, and cannot force teams to trade with us. Furthermore, he would be a fool to way overpay. Add that to the fact that there is a dearth of “premium” players, and….well….as I said, I’m sick of hearing it.

wag

December 10th, 2012
3:21 pm

Hey DOB, would the Braves be interested in Brett Gardner? He doesnt k much, has a good obp, is fast, steals bases and has a good arm. The Yanks could use someone like Fransisco.

Tumbledown

December 10th, 2012
3:22 pm

Thanks Murph. I think Wren is generally content with the players he has now, while open to deals at the right price. Those deals probably will not be forthcoming though.

Ralph

December 10th, 2012
3:22 pm

Brian McCann ($12mil) plus BJ Upton ($15Mil) = $27Mil, could’ve had a V8, ops I meant Josh Hamilton.

bill

December 10th, 2012
3:25 pm

If Murph played first for the big Red Machine he would already be in the hall. Perez got in because he played on that underachieving team with all those other HOF’ers.

old man

December 10th, 2012
3:27 pm

PuddyCat:

I hit the link, and the Google thingy was actually pretty funny, but none of the results came up with the actual story/rumor of the offer. I’m dead serious about loving to have some info on it.

Yes, we were snarky. They’ve been snarky to me before too. Just get over it and come out an play.

Brown

December 10th, 2012
3:27 pm

Growing up in Atlanta as a kid, Murphy was my first favorite baseball player. He was the biggest reason (other than location) that I got into Braves baseball, and probably the player most people would think of as the face of the ‘Atlanta’ Braves before Smoltz and Chipper came along.

I think a lot of people in my generation can thank Murph for us becoming Braves fans, and that’s a great legacy, even if the baseball writers don’t help him with a greater legacy.

I know his numbers are borderline for the Hall, but so were several others that got in. DOB and Murphy’s son make great points about the ‘character clause’, and it should swing both ways. Of course I hope he gets in, and really think he deserves at least get a significant amount of votes. He deserves far better than 15%.

Murph

December 10th, 2012
3:27 pm

Brian McCann ($12mil) plus BJ Upton ($15Mil) = $27Mil, could’ve had a V8, ops I meant Josh Hamilton.

With Jordan Schafer in CF and Bethancourt at C…

I kinda think they’ll be better with BMac and Upton.

Tumbledown

December 10th, 2012
3:27 pm

I fully believe that Wren was going after premium players. Upton, arguably (remember, I said arguably), may be considered one or at least premium-lite! :) The Braves just do not have the financial resources or the prospects to land those premium players we all covet.

Alex Remington

December 10th, 2012
3:29 pm

There ARE statistics nerds who support Dale Murphy’s candidacy, the late Mac Thomason among them. He wrote a number of sabermetric posts favoring Dale for the Hall, comparing him favorably to Dawson, Rice, and other contemporaries. If you’re looking for stat-based arguments for Murph’s candidacy, you could do worse than to start here: http://www.bravesjournal.com/?p=2171

“The question of Dale Murphy‘s Cooperstown candidacy is primarily a philosophical one. There is no question that his peak years were of a Hall of Fame caliber; no player with a clearly superior peak is not in, and those with roughly equal peaks who are not are not in for readily evident reasons. At the same time, there is no question that his career statistics, other than home runs, are not Hall of Fame numbers.

So we have a player who under the “traditional” peak value/career value dichotomy does very well on one and poorly in the other. If your bias is for peak value players, Murphy should be in. If your bias is for career value, he should not.

You see, most Hall of Famers have a career path similar to Dale’s through about 31. It’s just that then they have a phase of being average that lasts a few years and builds up their stats. Murph didn’t do that. Personally, I can’t see keeping a guy out of the Hall of Fame because he didn’t have enough average years.”

Brian B.

December 10th, 2012
3:31 pm

Dave,

While we’re on the topic of Hall of Famers, what are the chances that Pete VanWieren and the late Skip Caray will ever be recognized with the Ford Frick Award, given to broadcasters ??? Every year I see announcers who couldn’t call home win this award, while Pete and Skip were essentially broadcasting baseball games nationally, long before ESPN and the MLB network. Name two other announcers who did more to popularize the game during the 70-80’s. It truly takes talent to make some of those Braves teams watchable, yet Pete and Skip did it year after year. These days every team in baseball has a regional cable network. Pete and Skip did it first, and did it best.

Steve From Dalton

December 10th, 2012
3:33 pm

Two things not mentioned about Dale Murphy: First, he played catcher for the early part of his career. That must have taken its toll. Second, Murphy played in the strike shorten season of 1981. Major league baseball lost almost 40% of the games due to the work stoppage. 1981 was when Dale Murphy was in his prime. One year removed from his back to back MVP years.

Kevin

December 10th, 2012
3:33 pm

Murphy is my favorite baseball player of all time, one of two of my childhood heroes (Herschel is the other). Along with Mike Schmidt, he was one of the two most-feared hitters in the NL throughout the 80’s. Murphy got started a little late and fell off a little early. If he’d had a couple more seasons like 82-87, he’d probably be a no-doubter. It was obvious how he quit in the middle of 1993 with Colorado at age 37 that he just didn’t care about baseball or stats enough. He needed 2 more HR’s for 400. Says a lot that he didn’t hang around just for 2 more HR’s. Playing in Colorado. Pinch hitting for a team that lost a ton of games and used a ton of pitchers. Baseball wasn’t everything for him. And that’s a good thing.

Riles

December 10th, 2012
3:33 pm

Murph is the reason I became a Braves fan, along with 2 of my sons. In the early 80s we got this thing called cable TV with the Superstations. Since TBS was one of them, we live in the Portland Metro area, and Murph was a local boy, it all added up to a now 30 year love affair with the Bravos. Would love to seem him enshrined in Cooperstown.

DAP

December 10th, 2012
3:33 pm

Mike A though part of me selfishly wants him in the Hall of Fame, I realize that he doesn’t match up with the greats.

which greats? Murphy certinly does stack up with guys like Jim Rice and Andre Dawson…both of whom are in the HOF.

what id really like to see from Murph HOF opponents like rosenthal, is why rice and dawson gets in, but murphy doesnt. maybe rosenthal didnt vote for those guys either, i dont know. but id like to know from someone.

Comfortably Dumb

December 10th, 2012
3:34 pm

As much as I want to see them go ahead and make a big trade now, Wren has a point about waiting until mid-season. Getting an impact player in the middle of the dog days always gives a team a shot in the arm. If we can’t get a Bonicaio or someone like that now, let’s see what we can do with what we have until the deadline. We don’t have a perfect lineup, but it’s pretty good. Good enough, coupled with our pitching, to keep us in contention.

ncscoots

December 10th, 2012
3:36 pm

DOB and Murphy’s son make great points about the ‘character clause’, and it should swing both ways.

I’m sorry to say that my first reaction to this line of thinking is, “No, it shouldn’t.” I guess because I expect integrity to be a given, not looked upon as a bonus. A requirement, if you will, not a surprise. I’m fine with Rule 5 keeping players out who fail this requirement, not so fine with it being used to award bonus points.

But I’m one of those guys with a fairly simple HOF criterion: any doubt, he’s out. That tends to rule out a lot of players in my mind, including some who are actually in the Hall, for that matter.

He ain't gonna make it........

December 10th, 2012
3:36 pm

Doesn’t matter how many complain & gripe about it……Murphy ain’t gonna make into the Hall and that is fine by me…….Good guy but being a good guy doesn’t make you a Hall of Fame’er or he would already have made it in………Thanks for trying Dale, but you are out of there.

Ralph

December 10th, 2012
3:36 pm

DOB – Any news on the other players Wren and Co went to see?

Kevin

December 10th, 2012
3:38 pm

One more comment – how many of these voters had to PITCH to Dale Murphy in the 1980’s? I think that’d change their mind. I know HOF’s get a vote, so there are a few voters who actually did pitch to him in his prime. But clearly not enough. When you’re one of a handful of players to dominate a decade, you’re a HOFer.

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 10th, 2012
3:39 pm

According to Bill James…. (and as of now, I’m assuming Prado to LF, Juan to 3B)

Prado LF .291/.347/.425/.772, 11 HR, 63 RBI (10 SB, 6 CS)
Upton CF .248/.329/.436/.765, 23 HR, 75 RBI (35 SB, 11 CS)
Heyward RF .272/.360/.483/.843, 26 HR, 82 RBI (20 SB, 8 CS)
Francisco 3B .272/.308/.502/.810, 12 HR, 41 RBI (1 SB, 1 CS; just 235 PAs, note low avg/obp seperation)
Simmons SS .289/.351/.416/.767, 10 HR, 62 RBI (18 SB, 5 CS)
Uggla 2B .238/.341/.439/.780, 28 HR, 87 RBI (3 SB, 2 CS)
Freeman 1B .282/.358/.481/.839, 24 HR, 95 RBI (3 SB, 2 CS)
McCann C .266/.347/.467/.814, 23 HR, 84 RBI (3 SB, 2 CS)

Bench-

Laird- .243/.307/.350/.657, 4 HR, 25 RBI (284 PAs)
Janish- .221/.293/.308/.601, 2 HR, 16 RBI (227 PAs)
Rev- .273/.322/.378/.700 3 HR, 23 RBI (8 SB, 4 CS; 254 PAs)
Mejia- no projections
Johnson- .272/.325/.382/.707 4 HR, 27 RBI (296 PAs)

unbelievable

December 10th, 2012
3:39 pm

Good enough, coupled with our pitching, to keep us in contention.

Thats best case scenario though. Its always easy to say lets add a bat at the deadline. However, more and more teams are in the “hunt” with the new playoff system in place. Prices on trades then will be at a premium. The Braves cant afford to have that mindset, every game is crucial for a ballclub constructed this way. We need an impact player from Game 1.

Steve From Dalton

December 10th, 2012
3:40 pm

Brian B,well said.

Ernie Johnson is overlooked. He had little time to set up the largest radio network in pro sports

Real Talk

December 10th, 2012
3:41 pm

@Dumb I am not a big Bonafacio fan and would rather us go into the season with a Reed Johnson/ Martin Prado/ Juan Francisco situation and do agree maybe waiting might be the best thing to see how the team plays and what we really need and with that much money we should be able to address any situation that comes up!!

unbelievable

December 10th, 2012
3:41 pm

Id love to see that projected line from Simmons, Im skeptical. He’d arguablly be the 2nd or 3rd best SS in all of baseball if he had those offensive numbers. Tulo is about the only person who could outproduce that.

Mike

December 10th, 2012
3:41 pm

If Dale does not get the HOF all I can say it WILL BE A SHAME.

Kevin

December 10th, 2012
3:43 pm

And now a question for Braves fans only, and only if you were old enough to enjoy both of these players: If you could only choose one, would you rather Dale Murphy been a Brave, or Chipper Jones?
I choose Murphy.

Brown

December 10th, 2012
3:44 pm

But ncscoots, it’s written into the voting criteria that the person’s character is part of the equation. There point is that thus far, it’s only been used to be exclusive rather than inclusive, so why isn’t it both ways.

Further, integrity is never a given, as much as we all would like it to be – especially when we’re talking about people that get paid extremely and idolized for playing a sport.

Brown

December 10th, 2012
3:45 pm

*Their point

Murph

December 10th, 2012
3:45 pm

How many AB’s does it take to qualify for RoY? I’m assuming that Simmons won’t be eligible next season, right? Played too much?

ncscoots

December 10th, 2012
3:45 pm

Id love to see that projected line from Simmons

No kidding. All-Star, Gold Glove, NLCS MVP…

OK, so I got a little carried away with that last one. But you’re right, .770 OPS and that leather? Be hard not to call him elite.

Real Talk

December 10th, 2012
3:45 pm

@Kevin If I could only choose one it would be Chipper because when it comes down to it, it is about winning and Chipper gives you the better chance because he was a better player.

Hoosier Aaron

December 10th, 2012
3:47 pm

I do this every year when they talk about how “Murph’s greatness was very short-lived”.

Sandy Koufax had 165 career wins in 12 seasons.
The first 6 years of his career he was 36-40 with an ERA around 4.10.
The last 6 years of his career he was 129-47.
His GREATNESS lasted just SIX YEARS. Some say the greatest lefty of all time.
Braves fans might disagree but we will not say that Koufax wasn’t great.

Am I saying Koufax does not deserve to be in Cooperstown?
No!
I am saying that by today’s voting standards…he would not get in.
Murph was the best all-around player for the decade of the 80’s…Chad’s numbers prove it.

A.P.

December 10th, 2012
3:47 pm

Just once I want a Brave to hit 100 RBI’s. I think Heyward or Freeman will get it this year. I like Freeman’s projections, but I think Bill James under projected Heyward

Comfortably Dumb

December 10th, 2012
3:47 pm

DOB

Why are so many people, including the Braves, thinking Bourn’s speed will just disappear? Ichiro stole like 40 bases in his age 38 season if I’m not mistaken.

tony austin

December 10th, 2012
3:47 pm

I remember the old TBS Commercial with Murphy at bat, “Curve ball, hit to deeeeep left field, how do like it, homerun murph! Stand and cheer for our great nation, supersports on the Superstation.”

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 10th, 2012
3:49 pm

on the pitching side…

Medlen- 14-7 (190 IP, 30 starts) 2.94 ERA
Minor- 11-10 (189 IP, 30 starts) 3.76 ERA
Hudson- 12-9 (193 IP, 29 starts) 3.36 ERA
Maholm- 10-12 (198 IP, 31 starts) 4.00 ERA
Delgado- 7-9 (137 IP, 25 starts) 4.20 ERA
Teheran- 7-9 (149 IP, 25 starts) 4.23 ERA

Kimbrel- 65 IP, 39 Saves, 1.38 ERA
EOF- 57 IP, 3.00 ERA
Venters- 63 IP, 3.57 ERA
Walden- 36 IP, 3.75 ERA
Avilan- 58 IP, 4.03 ERA
CMart- 71 IP, 3.30 ERA
Gearrin- 34 IP, 3.44 ERA

Efrim

December 10th, 2012
3:49 pm

Oh boy. Money to spend during the trade deadline? They have rouhgly $77 million in 14 players, and probably around $83 million as the projected payroll for 2013. Are they really going to trade for a player making $18-20 million or two players making that amount? I mean, really? I doubt it. I hope they can at least acquire for the full season of 2013 which provides a lot more value than 50-60 games or whatever.

Brown

December 10th, 2012
3:49 pm

Is it Murphy vs. Chipper, or Murphy vs. Chipper + backup 3B that will play the other 33% of the games?

PuddyCat

December 10th, 2012
3:50 pm

Lmao this is put on a tee

This app is way too much fun. Enjoy it

http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=I‘m%20stupid%20please%20help%20me%20.%20How%20many%20AB%E2%80%99s%20does%20it%20take%20to%20qualify%20for%20RoY?%20I%E2%80%99m%20assuming%20that%20Simmons%20won%E2%80%99t%20be%20eligible%20next%20season,%20right?%20Played%20too%20much?%20

ncscoots

December 10th, 2012
3:50 pm

Further, integrity is never a given, as much as we all would like it to be – especially when we’re talking about people that get paid extremely and idolized for playing a sport.

If integrity is not a given, not a requirement, then why exclude players who lack it? That would seem to punish players for weakness in an area in which they are not expected to be strong. Penalizing Ozzie Smith for his HR total, for example.

1776

December 10th, 2012
3:51 pm

Murph should have been in the HoF years ago. He was a better player than mugs like Dawson.

Brian B.

December 10th, 2012
3:51 pm

Steve from Dalton -

Thanks … I should never have forgotten “The Old Right-Hander” Ernie Johnson. Don Sutton often talks about how he came down from Milwaukee a year before the Braves, and drove all over the southeast, signing up little 5 watt radio stations for the Braves radio network. Talk about service to the game of baseball.

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 10th, 2012
3:51 pm

Id love to see that projected line from Simmons, Im skeptical.

I’d love to see that as well, but still quite skeptical… only played 49 games, and supposedly his bat was a question. Can’t really see him posting about the same line he did in parts of last year. But if he does, oh boy!

How many AB’s does it take to qualify for RoY? I’m assuming that Simmons won’t be eligible next season, right? Played too much?

123? or 132… Simmons got 182 last season, he’s out of contention this year. Unfortunate.

Lew

December 10th, 2012
3:51 pm

I saw them both play, Hank, too and a bunch more before they ever moved to Atlanta. I’m glad all of them – Chipper, Murph, Niekro, Hank, Spahn, Mathews (Eddie and Sarge), Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz and a lot more – wore the Tomahawk on their unis.

TheOnlyBravesFan

December 10th, 2012
3:53 pm

I’d love to see those pitching lines from Huddy and Medlen though… skeptical there as well, but that’d be real nice.

Mike A

December 10th, 2012
3:55 pm

As I noted, Murphy matches up to Rice, but Rice is arguably the worst BBWAA elected Hall of Famer of the post-1950 crowd. The baseball writers can, frankly, be pretty clueless at times. There are a ton of players that deserved to go in before Rice. And Dale is closer to the bottom of those players than the top. I don’t think there’s any question players like Trammell and Raines deserve to go in before Dale.

Murphy does not match up well to Dawson. Dawson is at 60.6 bWAR, Murphy 42.6 (roughly the same as the great JD Drew). Granted, bWAR dings Murph defensively, which I don’t think is entirely fair. I felt Murphy was close to average defensively, but even if you give Murphy credit for good defense, he still falls short of Dawson and the Hall statistically.

The best arguments for Murphy are on peak performance and character. Peak performance you can make a reasonable, though flawed, argument. But character…let’s just say Kirby Puckett got in the Hall in part due to his high character, which turned out to be a sham. So I’m not sure voting players in based on character is a good idea (not that I think Murphy will turn out evil like Puckett – by all accounts Murphy is a great guy – but goes to show you never know).

A.P.

December 10th, 2012
3:57 pm

I know I am one of the few, but i genuinely believe Meds wins 20. He is such a competitor and keeps us in games.

Lew

December 10th, 2012
3:57 pm

Simmons hit .299, .352, .397, .749 in the minors. Then he came up and hit .289, .335, .416, .751 in the majors.

My question is why was there a question about his offewnsive abilities? He makes contact, doesn’t strike out and doesn’t walk. Seems to me he hitting about like we could have expected, but with a touch more power. I’d expect more of about the same from him.

Lew

December 10th, 2012
3:57 pm

Simmons hit .299, .352, .397, .749 in the minors. Then he came up and hit .289, .335, .416, .751 in the majors.

My question is why was there a question about his offewnsive abilities? He makes contact, doesn’t strike out and doesn’t walk. Seems to me he hitting about like we could have expected, but with a touch more power. I’d expect more of about the same from him.

Finchdawg

December 10th, 2012
3:57 pm

I think DOB just won the contest for the longest single sports blog in AJC history.

Lew

December 10th, 2012
3:58 pm

And the insane blog strikes yet a again. It was somewhat relevant, but hardly worth two postings.

Efrim

December 10th, 2012
3:58 pm

Simmons SS .289/.351/.416/.767, 10 HR, 62 RBI (18 SB, 5 CS)

He does this and we will be having a discussion about him being the MVP of the league in 2013. At least, the folks over at Fangraphs, Keith Law and every other supporter of Wins Above Replacement will be putting him #1 in the National League. Hands down. A .767 and best defender we’ve seen in the last decade at the SS position? 8 win player. Boo-yah.

Efrim

December 10th, 2012
4:00 pm

Law said he’s an All-Star type, so Keith is again on the Braves side. ;)

Lew

December 10th, 2012
4:02 pm

bWAR? Two ways of figuring WAR weren’t enough? And here we thought it was the definitive new stat. Last week.

ncscoots

December 10th, 2012
4:02 pm

The baseball writers can, frankly, be pretty clueless at times.

Uh-oh. Clueless as opposed to what other segment of the baseball industry?

Murphy does not match up well to Dawson. Dawson is at 60.6 bWAR, Murphy 42.6

HOF decisions should require more than sorting a column.

George P. Burdell

December 10th, 2012
4:04 pm

Great article and I could not agree more with your points. I think when Murpy retired, he was 27th on the all-time HR list. After the steroid era, he barely stays in the top 60. I think he will be the only person to be the HR leader in a decade not elected to the hall of fame. All that being said, his character and integrity should be more than enough to put him in and if he doesn’t get in, its more of a probelm with the Hall than it ever will be for him. It says a lot about what has become of pro baseball, and really pro sports in general.

ncscoots

December 10th, 2012
4:04 pm

8 win player. Boo-yah.

Geez, yes, you’re right, that would put him there, wouldn’t it? Assuming he doesn’t start forgetting to take his glove to the field.

nolie

December 10th, 2012
4:04 pm

He belongs in the Hall, plain and simple. For his integrity if nothing else. They don’t make him like that anymore.

maybe then we could get Mother Thersa elected too, I hear she played a bit of ball as a kid……

Brown

December 10th, 2012
4:05 pm

The ‘integrity, sportsmanship, and character’ aspect is hard to measure on the good side. Obviously it has to be extremely bad/good character to make it a determining factor for a Hall vote, and I think it’s easier to check the box for bad character (cheating, steroids, etc.) that it is for high integrity. But it should still be considered, and possibly get someone like Murphy in the Hall if they are right on the bubble with their stats, if the opposite can knock someone out who is a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Rose, Bonds, Clemens.

ncscoots

December 10th, 2012
4:06 pm

bWAR? Two ways of figuring WAR weren’t enough?

That’s baseball-reference WAR, Lew. fWAR for Fangraphs WAR. No new versions today. :-)

nolie

December 10th, 2012
4:07 pm

He belongs in the Hall, plain and simple. For his integrity if nothing else. They don’t make him like that anymore.

maybe then we could get Mother Thersa elected too, I hear she played a bit of ball as a kid……
and she is almost as nice as Dale

PDOG

December 10th, 2012
4:07 pm

DOB like the idea of getting Bonaficio. How about the Terd and Malhom for him? I like the idea of both Tehran and Delgado being the 4th and 5th starters this year.

Efrim

December 10th, 2012
4:08 pm

HOF decisions should require more than sorting a column.

Well said.

TheCedartownConvention

December 10th, 2012
4:08 pm

Great article… We made a website to support Dale’s case for the HOF please check it out and share it, there’s a link at the bottom for a petition created by Dale’s son Taylor… please go there and sign the petition to get Dale into the HOF. http://www.thecedartownconvention.com/murphhof.html

Efrim

December 10th, 2012
4:08 pm

Tom (Atlanta): I’m curious whether you feel the pace at which Bethancourt is being pushed through the system will ultimately hurt or help him? To avoid being relegated to a defense-first backup catcher, it would seem that he’d really benefit offensively from repeating a level.

Bill Ballew: The Braves have tried not to push him but his offense has definitely lagged behind his defense. When motivated, his defense is outstanding, and his catch-and-throw skills compare favorably to any other receiver in the minor leagues. Scouts believe he has some raw power, but that has been evident only occasionally to this point in his career. Bethancourt doesn’t need to be a .300 hitter but he must be able to handle the bat reasonably well in order to succeed in the big leagues.

Groundhogday

December 10th, 2012
4:08 pm

Effective argument for Murph….I hope it happens for him.
FWIW, If i ever get locked up, I’m hiring DOB and Chad Murphy as my defense lawyers.

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