Dale Murphy - Atlanta Braves

Murph is no square

Dale Murphy gets it. He’s not a bitter old ballplayer, or a one-dimensional, milk-drinking Mormon. Follow him on Twitter — he’s got good taste and measured opinions. He’s a cool guy.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that he has a refreshing take on the old school vs. new school debate.

Dale Murphy was the very essence of 1980s baseball. He was the center fielder on mediocre-to-terrible Atlanta Braves teams that Ted Turner dared call “America’s Team.” He was America’s Center Fielder. Nobody loved the game more. Nobody respected the game more. Nobody played harder. Nobody represented the time better.

And so when you talk to Dale Murphy, you might expect who lot of Gossage, a whole lot of Schmidt, a whole lot of “These kids today with their rock and roll music …” But, um, you actually get the exact opposite.

“I hear what Bryce Harper is saying,” Murphy says. “He’s not talking about bat flips and hair and those specific things. He’s saying the players don’t want all these unwritten rules from the past. They don’t want to play the game that way. They want to inject their personality into the game. They want to show their emotions. They want to express themselves.

“And I hear guys from my time — I get it, I understand — talking about when we played. Well, when we played was when we played. We’re not playing. They’re playing. Let them have their fun. Let them mold the game into what they believe it should be. It’s their game. Heck, maybe they’ll get more young people watching.”

Murphy laughs. “There are enough old people watching baseball. We need some younger fans.”

And we need Murph in baseball, in some capacity. He gets it.

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.

Happy birthday, Murph

Happy 57th, Murph! (that ain’t right). Glad to see No. 3 taking a more active role in the organization, one that will continue in 2013.

The Braves will celebrate one of their all-time greats on July 11 with Dale Murphy Night. The first 20,000 fans attending the Braves-Reds game will  receive a Murph bobblehead.


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.