Murph’s Babe Ruth impression, 30 years ago today

(via the NYT)

Dale Murphy, the Atlanta Braves outfielder, may not be William Bendix, but he has apparently borrowed a page from the Babe Ruth legend. The way they’re telling it in Atlanta, Murphy paid a call at a local hospital a while back to help cheer up Elizabeth Smith, a 6-year-old girl who had lost her arms and legs in a power-line accident.

On Sunday, Elizabeth was taken by a nurse to an Atlanta game against the Giants, and when Murphy stopped by to give her a T-shirt and cap, the nurse suggested that he hit a home run for his young friend. Murphy, evidently embarrassed by the request, mumbled, ”Well, O.K.” But, as he explained later, ”I wish that I could hit home runs on request, but I can’t.” He hit two that day.

Murph’s 16th and 17th homers accounted for all 3 Braves runs. The Giants only managed two off Pascual Perez, who improved to 8-1.

NY Times makes the case for Murph

Nice piece by baseball scribe Tyler Kepner on Murph’s last chance to be voted into Cooperstown before going to the veteran’s committee. The story points out a couple interesting factors not often considered in HOF debates, including this:

The ballot lists integrity, sportsmanship and character among the factors for voters to consider. Chad Murphy says that if voters apply the clause to keep some players out, they should also use it to let others in.

…and this:

But if offense had not exploded as it did in his retirement, Murphy might have had a better chance. As steroid users enhanced their records, they seemingly diminished those from the previous era.

Murph picks up vote for HOF (but it should’ve gone to McGriff)

SI’s Jon Heyman posted his HOF ballot today, saying he’s changed his mind on Murph:

” A clean homer hitter who twice won the NL MVP award and was an iconic player for a while. A converted catcher, he turned himself into a Gold Glove defender in centerfield. He also brought a lot of honor to the game. I finally switched to a “yes” vote this year.”

I wouldn’t object to #3 entering the Hall, thought I wouldn’t vote for him. Another Atlanta Brave, whom Heyman listed as a “close call,”  is more deserving.

HR: McGriff, 493; Murph, 398

RBI: McGriff, 1550; Murph, 1266

BA: McGriff, .284; Murph, .265

Murphy was better defensively and has two MVP awards. But McGriff finished in the Top 10 in MVP balloting six times, twice more than Murphy. And in 50 postseason games, the Crime Dog batted .303 with 10 homers and 37 RBI.