HOF ’09: Dale Murphy

“I’m a natural left-hander, but I bat and throw right-handed because that’s the way I learned. But, I eat left and drink left and write left. I’m amphibious.”

– Dale Murphy


First, how many of you remember Dale Murphy ending his career with the Colorado Rockies?  Not me. 

It can be argued that Murphy was a five-tool player.  He had speed (161 career stolen bases), power (398 homers), and was adept in the field (5 Gold Gloves).  While his career average is only .265, he managed to toy with .300 in his prime.  .

Murphy Facts
  • Drafted 1st round (5th overall) in 1974 by the Atlanta Braves
  • Played for Atl, Phi, Col (1976-1993)
  • 7 time All-Star
  • Back-to-back MVP awards in 1982-83
  • Won 5 straight Gold Gloves


Let me start with Murphy’s positives at the outset.  Between 1982-1987, he was one of the best if not THE best hitting outfielders in the game.  If he crunch the stats, he averaged 36 homers, 104 rbis, 110 runs and a .382 OBP over those six years.  On top of that, he played excellent defense, winning those Gold Gloves. 

dale_murphy1-full Murphy won back to back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983.  Ironically, it was in the next two years, 1984 and 1985 when he led the NL in homers with 36 and 37 respectively (His 36 homers in ’82 and ’83 placed him second).  Health and consistency had much to do with Murphy’s success in the mid-80s.   He played every game from 1982-1985 for the Atlanta Braves. 

After his great season in 1987 when he hit 44 homeruns and 105 rbis, something snapped in Dale Murphy and he wasn’t quite the same player.  The next three seasons, he suffered sub-.250 batting averages though he managed to hit 20+ dingers.  This prompted a trade from Atlanta to Philly where his offense continued to slip (.252 and 18 homeruns in 1991).  He finished his career in Colorado in 1993 after 18 seasons of service to the game. 

If I could base my decision on Murphy’s five or six years when he was at his peak, he’d be a shoo-in.  No doubt about it.  But that’s not how it works and I can’t ignore the rest of his career (I don’t want to hear any crap from anyone about Sandy Koufax either). 

CLuke, who is the Dale Murphy fan in our APBA league, sees things a bit differently.  I did offer CLuke a chance to write this profile but he’s a bit busy this week.  He did email this though:

If Jim Rice is in then Murph deserves it. (He won’t get in or even get as close to Rice’s votes due to the east coast media’s bias towards Boston/ New York players.In Bill James’ book What ever happened to the Hall of Fame- he puts Dale as having 42 of the necessary points for Hall of fame induction. Jim Rice has 43 points.

Yes, put him in.

Nice try, CLuke.  Next time, you’ll write the article. 

I’ll say it’s close but I’d vote no.


  Hall of Fame

Hall of Very Good

  Why is he even on the Ballot?


While we wait for January 12 ballot results, The Baseball Zealot will be profiling those players who are on the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.  Read the rest the of the profiles.

3 Responses to “HOF ’09: Dale Murphy”

  1. I remember Dale Murphy being called up to the Braves as a catcher, a very big catcher. He had a problem, for a time, throwing the ball back to the pitcher, similar to Steve Sax throwing to firstbase. Then he was shifted to centerfield, where he became a Gold Glover, you’re not going to see many guys move from behind the plate to centerfield. I remember Murphy ending his playing days in Colorado. But before that, Dale had a mole removed from his cheek, he was never the same after that. Never knew Murph was a natural lefthander.

  2. DUH, I just got it now, amphibious, that Murphy is one smart cookie!

  3. CLuke said, if Rice is in, then Murph should be there. Here’s what Dale had to say…

    Bert Blyleven gets passed up for enshrinement again and calls the process “complete crap.” Murphy gets passed up and drops into typical golly-gee-speak: “I’d love to get in, don’t get me wrong. But I’m OK with it.”

    Maybe he shouldn’t be OK with it. Two MVP awards. Five Gold Gloves. Four Silver Sluggers. Seven All-Star games. Seven seasons with 30-plus home runs, and 398 homers in his career (which ranks 46th all time). A six-season span (1982-87) in which he averaged 36 home runs and 105 RBIs.

    The strange thing about Murphy’s Hall candidacy is that it seems less relevant than ever. People debated the merits of his career in his last few seasons. Now he’s an afterthought.

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