Murphy: Steroid users don’t belong in Hall (but he does)

Dale Murphy's best chance to get into the Hall of Fame after this year will be via the Veteran's Committee.

Dale Murphy's best chance to get into the Hall of Fame after this year will be via the Veteran's Committee.

Dale Murphy gets a ballot in the mail every year. Well, not a real ballot, just a sample one, although somebody with a more devious mind than his probably would’ve orchestrated a ballot-box-stuffing or “dirty tricks” campaign by now. Where’s Charles Colson when you need him?

This is year No. 15 for Murphy on the Hall of Fame ballot. He will fall off after this season because 15 is the ceiling. The chance of leaping from 14.5 percent of the vote (which he received last season) to 75 percent (which is required for induction) is infinitesimal.

I don’t know if it’s sad irony or a cruel joke that Murphy’s final year of eligibility coincides with the first appearance on the ballot for three cover boys from baseball’s steroid era: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa. But it would be nice to see a player who never consumed anything stronger than a “Dodger Dog” on game day (Murphy: “I ate two before the game. I could smell the hot dog stand from the dugout.”) at least draw more votes than the aforementioned juicers.

Back to the sample ballot. It’s the last year. If you’re Murphy, don’t you at least try to fill it out, mail it back and pass it off as the real thing?

“That’s a novel idea,” he said by phone from his Utah home. “I should do that. Maybe make a few hundred copies.”

Murphy has strong opinions on the Hall. While he is not the greatest self-promoter in the world, he believes he deserves to be in Cooperstown. He also thinks any player who used performance-enhancing drugs during their career artificially enhanced their accomplishements and therefore aren’t worthy of the honor.

“I have a problem with guys who said they were on [drugs],” he said. “I respect them for admitting it, but I agree with what the voters have been doing, keeping those guys out. It’s a problem for me because the real issue is the integrity of the game and the numbers.”

Murphy won two MVP awards, two home run titles, seven All-Star honors and five Gold Gloves in an eight-year span.

Murphy won two MVP awards, two home run titles, seven All-Star honors and five Gold Gloves in an eight-year span.

So if he had a real ballot, would he vote for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa (who haven’t admitted PED use but have been connected to it with circumstantial evidence)?

“No.”

Murphy retired after the 1993 season. For the next five years, before he was on the ballot, he would make appearances, give speeches and often was introduced as, “Future Hall of Famer …” He called it, “Flattering.”

“You start to think, ‘Hey. that’s a good possibility,’” he said. “Then eventually, reality sets in.”

But he peaked at 23.2 percent of the vote in 2000, his second year of eligibility, and dropped to as low as 8.5 in 2004. Last season, he was named on 83 ballots (including mine), but that placed him only 12th overall (14.5 percent of voters).

“It’s a tough place to get into, I understand that,” he said. “But to get in, you ought to think you should be in, and I think there should be a spot for me.”

His children are running his campaign now. It started when his daughter, Madison, took a picture of the sample ballot and sent it out on Twitter with the message, “Put my dad in the Hall!” Son Chad wrote a long letter with statistical data that was emailed to Hall voters. Another son, Taylor, posted a petition on Change.org. And everybody is Tweeting.

“It hasn’t gone viral world-wide but it’s viral in our family,” Murphy said, laughing.

He knows it won’t get him in the Hall but he’s hoping it gets him “a bump” in voting. There’s also a chance he could be voted in the Hall one day by the Veterans Committee.

There is no doubt in this corner he belongs in. Murphy had an eight-year span in his career (1980-87) when he won two Most Valuable Player Awards, two home run titles, two RBI titles, led the league in runs scored, had a 30-30 season, won five Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and played in seven All-Star Games.

There has been too much weight given by some voters to the lesser seasons surrounding those years, and not enough given to the fact Murphy did all of this drug free and was one of the game’s greatest ambassadors.

“I’m hopeful,” Murphy said. “Maybe something will come around one day with the Veterans Committee. But I’m thankful for those who’ve supported me, and I’ve really been touched by what my kids have done.”

Cooperstown should have a spot for him.

The Hall of Fame voting results from Dale Murphy’s previous 14 years on the ballot, with year, total votes (where he placed) and percentage of vote.
Year Votes (Place) Pct.
1999 96 (11) 19.3
2000 116 (10) 23.2
2001 93 (13) 18.1
2002 70 (15) 14.8
2003 58 (16) 11.7
2004 43 (17) 8.5
2005 54 (16) 10.4
2006 56 (15) 10.8
2007 50 (16) 9.2
2008 75 (14) 13.8
2009 62 (13) 11.5
2010 63 (14) 11.7
2011 73 (15) 12.6
2012 83 (12) 14.5

By Jeff Schultz

157 comments Add your comment

Skillet

December 11th, 2012
3:09 pm

Skillet

December 11th, 2012
3:09 pm

Skillet

December 11th, 2012
3:10 pm

I would like to thank the academy. Acting is wonderful, but what I really want to do is direct.

Jeff Schultz

December 11th, 2012
3:21 pm

Skillet — Funny.

Benjamin

December 11th, 2012
3:29 pm

LOL Skillet. I shall audition to be your agent, and we’ll do wonderful things together. Can you do commercials?

Regarding Murphy, anyone who knows me knows that I love him (childhood hero, clean-cut, et al, etc.), but the more I look at his numbers, the more I begin to feel like he isn’t the biggest snub of our era. His production steeply declined late in his career at an age where he should’ve still been productive, and I’m not sure his longevity is enough to warrant Cooperstown attention.

For 8 years, he was among the top five baseball players in the game. For the rest of his career, though, he was largely mediocre, at best.

Ostrich Racer

December 11th, 2012
3:29 pm

Murphy was one of baseball’s last true heroes. Before his knees went — a result, in large part, of playing every inning of every game for a team with no other weapons — he was one of the two best players in the game. In George Will’s “Men at Work,” Orel Hershiser called him the most feared hitter of his day. He was a 30/30 guy when that meant something. And he was the face of baseball during it’s period of greatest expansion. He belongs in Cooperstown.

Peter

December 11th, 2012
3:30 pm

Murphy was a very good player, but not Hall material……. Bonds, Clemens or Sosa are not either because they all cheated.

shameful

December 11th, 2012
3:34 pm

That he not already in the HOF.

Robards

December 11th, 2012
3:40 pm

I don’t necesarily think Murphy belongs in the HOF based on his numbers. However, Bill Mazeroski is in the HOF. Therefore, Murphy should be.

5150 UOAD

December 11th, 2012
3:52 pm

Great guy but not HoF worthy.

5150 UOAD

December 11th, 2012
3:55 pm

If people we should be in were in most players would be there.
The Greatest Player BO JACKSON should be in the MLB & NFL HoF but he didn’t qualify.
Bo Jackson was the Greatest to watch play for sure.

annette

December 11th, 2012
3:55 pm

Yes Murph should be in the HOF,he deserves and has earned it.I love him and if given the chance would vote for him myself

SMITTYSTHEMAN

December 11th, 2012
3:55 pm

Hey Jeff — If I remember correctly, Murph hit 398 homeruns. Where does stack up on the all-time list? Out of all the thousands and thousands of players that have made it to the majors over the years, there’s probably not that many who have accomplished that feat. Maybe 50 or so, I’m guessing.

upsetum

December 11th, 2012
3:55 pm

He should be in the brave h.o.f. thats it

The letter

December 11th, 2012
4:00 pm

The letter his son wrote was spot on. If he was with Boston or New York he would’ve been in by now. He is a perfect example of what you’d want from MLB player to act on and off the field.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

December 11th, 2012
4:00 pm

I bet there are many players below him on the all-time career homerun list that are already in the hall.

Mike

December 11th, 2012
4:01 pm

There is no mention that for several of the years he was with the Braves, they were awful. It is hard to have good numbers when the pitchers can get around you because of the poor team supporting you.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

December 11th, 2012
4:02 pm

One player I’m sure he hit more homeruns than is Joe DiMaggio!

MC

December 11th, 2012
4:03 pm

If Andre Dawson is in the HOF, Dale Murphy should be a shoo in.

T-Bone

December 11th, 2012
4:04 pm

Schultz, just so you’ll know. The answer to your question, Where’s Charles Colson when you need him? He died in April.

BB

December 11th, 2012
4:07 pm

Why do the votes fluctuate so much? How can someone vote him as HOF one year, but not the next? Seems like his total should have risen some over the years.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

December 11th, 2012
4:12 pm

MC — agreed! They were two best players in the league for several years.

blazerdawg

December 11th, 2012
4:17 pm

Agreed. Well written. Please convince your fellow scribes, particularly in the NE and MW. Thank you!

gfc

December 11th, 2012
4:21 pm

<<>>

You can’t have it both ways. If Bonds, Clemens and Sosa don’t deserve to get in because they cheated (i.e. substandard integrity that significantly offset their performance accomplishments) then Murph deserves to get in because his far above standard integrity offset this supposed mindset of his substandard accomplishments. Do Murph’s numbers stack up to Bonds or Sosa? Absolutely not. But if you could quantify integrity, his “score” would far exceed Bonds, Clemens, Sosa – even Chipper – and be the push that got him in. O’Brien’s blog yesterday was spot on.

kimmer

December 11th, 2012
4:32 pm

No he should not be in the hall. Nice fellow but no.

Regarding the steroid age players being undeserving for cheating, how about the likes of Don Sutton, Whitey Ford, and Gaylord Perry who all doctored baseballs during their careers?

Pepe Frias played here.

December 11th, 2012
4:33 pm

One thing you forgot Jeff, didnt he play in over 800 consecutive games during that stretch. I mean if there was any argument to be had , it would be who was the player of the decade during the ’80’s. I would have to say it would be Murph or Andre Dawson.

Dawson is in , Murph should be too.

l jones

December 11th, 2012
4:36 pm

If you compare Murphy’s career with Jim Rice, yes Rice had better numbers, but not so much better that Rice is a Hall of Famer and the voters spit on Murphy year after year (not even 15% of the vote).

Ken

December 11th, 2012
4:39 pm

Dale Murphy should be in the Hall of Fame!! This guy is a real class act and represented baseball honorably on and off the field. He should be honored by baseball by being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

davis

December 11th, 2012
4:41 pm

definitely in!

Mr_Buckhead

December 11th, 2012
4:41 pm

I’ve always felt that if they keep Pete Rose out of the Hall Of Fame because he’s such a low life, they should vote Murph into the Hall because he’s such an outstanding class act and ambassador for the game. Also had many great seasons while he carried a bunch of awful teams on his back.

Powder Blue

December 11th, 2012
4:45 pm

If the Hall of Fame has room for Bill Mazeroski and Ron Santo, Dale Murphy deserves enshrinement.

W Reid Whitaker, Jr.

December 11th, 2012
4:46 pm

Great guy, but I have never thought his numbers were good enough for HOF. Home Runs are not the only stat considered.

itpdude

December 11th, 2012
4:49 pm

More than any other year previously, with Sosa, Clemens, and Bonds on their first year of eligibility, the Hall voters should send a message that character counts and vote for Murphy.

He played without cheating, was an exemplary role-model, and had a damn good run. His 398 HR’s may seem small now, but it was a different era. It was an era before steroids. If Murph did steroids, he would have hit 500-plus HR’s, no problem. The injuries he suffered later would have healed more quickly. And if he played on better teams, with a decent supporting cast, he would have done much better.

But those are excuses. His numbers alone are borderline. His character, and this years ballot should be about character more than any other time in the history of the Hall, puts Murphy over-the-top.

bowwowdawg

December 11th, 2012
4:50 pm

murph belongs,do the right thing voters!

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 11th, 2012
4:51 pm

I question some of the voters integrity and their interpretation of rule #5.

I mean some voter is not going to vote Greg Maddox as a first ballot HOFer simply so they can say they prevented a unanimous vote.

Dale’s legacy will be his decency. The Veteran’s Committee will right this wrong.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone’s legacy were like his.

Until then, Murphy Plaza at Turner Field has a nice ring to it don’t cha think?

Powder Blue

December 11th, 2012
4:52 pm

“More than any other year previously, with Sosa, Clemens, and Bonds on their first year of eligibility, the Hall voters should send a message that character counts and vote for Murphy.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

W Reid Whitaker, Jr.

December 11th, 2012
4:53 pm

The reason Murphy had more home runs that DiMaggio is because DiMaggio spent 3 years in the middle of his career in the Armed Forces.

Reebok

December 11th, 2012
4:54 pm

Hall of Fame isn’t for nice guys, or guys who had a handful of really good seasons. It’s for players who are the absolute best of the best, and Murphy never was. Classy, nice, honorable…all those things are true about him, but those don’t make him a HOF contender.

Powder Blue

December 11th, 2012
4:55 pm

I’d also like to see the Braves step up and put up a long overdue statue of Murphy at Turner Field. The story of the Braves goes from the years of Spahn, Mathews, Aaron, and Niekro….TO DALE MURPHY…to Cox, Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, and Jones. Let’s not forget the only reason worth watching the Braves during the 1980s.

Contrarian

December 11th, 2012
4:56 pm

A lot of haters here, but no one is sharing their opinion as to ‘why’ Dale Murphy should not get in. As Jeff pointed out, it was all but a given back in the day.

Murphy has three roadblocks that the voters can’t get around: 1) his 398 HR total is two shy of acceptable; 2) he played in an era where hitters didn’t have the stellar numbers that we’ve seen before and since; and 3) he played for the Ted Turner-owned Atlanta Braves.

All three are more of a reflection of the voters’ bias against 80’s baseball than Murphy’s performance. It’s a shame that he has been punished more for when he played than how.

kbl

December 11th, 2012
4:56 pm

While he was in a slump in about 82 or 83 I tried to sell him a new bat, he didn’t buy it. He deserves to be in the HOF because of the type of person he is, and the way he played the game.

Mr_Buckhead

December 11th, 2012
4:58 pm

I forgot something in my post above. Murph joined the Braves as a young man. He couldn’t fulfill his church’s requirement to do a couple of years of missionary work. After he retired, he did that missionary work overseas…for peanuts. How many retiring Major Leaguers, with millions in the bank, would do that??? A Class Act !!!

DH

December 11th, 2012
5:00 pm

Dale Murphy absolutely belongs in the Hall of Fame. He is the epitome of class and integrity, and they don’t make them like him anymore. And I totally agree with him. Any player who has jeopardized the integrity of the game doesn’t belong there.

Stony Stonerson

December 11th, 2012
5:04 pm

“Dale Murphy absolutely belongs in the Hall of Fame. He is the epitome of class and integrity, and they don’t make them like him anymore. And I totally agree with him. Any player who has jeopardized the integrity of the game doesn’t belong there.”
———————
The HOF is not about “classy” players. There are plenty of jerks in there. It is for the absolute best players of all time and Dale Murphy is not one of them.

Wow

December 11th, 2012
5:05 pm

Murphy supporters should be mad at the local media for not pushing him more, not Clemens, Bonds, etc. Being nice isn’t a reason to allow you into the hall of famer.

Not familiar with his career. What else did he do besides 398 HRs? There are alot of nice guys in baseball.

Stony Stonerson

December 11th, 2012
5:08 pm

Murphy has three roadblocks that the voters can’t get around: 1) his 398 HR total is two shy of acceptable…
———————
There are plenty of players with fewer than 400 HRs in the HOF. Murphy just wasn’t good enough for a long enough period of time. If Murphy wanted an automatic invitation, he’s actually 102 HRs short. Fred McGriff isn’t getting in either and he has 100 MORE home runs than Murphy.

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 11th, 2012
5:09 pm

“Stony Stonerson”

Sounds like a co-worker of Fred Flintstone.

bruce

December 11th, 2012
5:10 pm

Charles Colson is in heaven

TonyH

December 11th, 2012
5:12 pm

Murph should be elected into the HoF. If either of the aforementioned juicers even get on the ballot for the HoF (I hope not), so should Pete Rose. Pete should be on the ballot and be elected into the HoF.

j

December 11th, 2012
5:13 pm

Lets not forget to mention he won those MVP awards on terrible teams. This makes them that much more of an acomplishment. There was no better Center Fielder in the game in 80’s. If you are the best player at your position for a decade you deserve to be in the Hall.