Should Dale Murphy be Elected into Cooperstown?
Sam Evans: Dale Murphy was one of the best baseball players of the 1980’s. He played in 2180 games, hit .265, with 398 home runs. Now, after twelve years of eligibility, Murphy still has not been voted into the Hall of Fame.
Dale Murphy was not a dominant player during his era. He was a very good player, he won two MVP’s and five straight gold gloves. However, when you look back at his two “peak” years, he only posted a 6.1 WAR in those years combined. We can’t fully be sure of WAR’s (wins above replacement) ability to fully show the defensive prowess of players, but either way that is not impressive enough for a Cooperstown candidate.
On the field, Murphy was an inspiration to others. He truly looked like he wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in the world. Off the field, he wasn’t any different. Just ask Joe Torre, who had this to say about Murphy, “If you’re a coach, you want him as a player. If you’re a father, you want him as a son. If you’re a woman, you want him as a husband. If you’re a kid, you want him as a father. What else can you say about the guy?” Murphy truly was an American hero as evidenced by his Lou Gehrig award and Roberto Clemente award.
From 1980 to 1989, Murphy had more total bases than anyone in the majors. He had a perplexing career in terms of statistics. He never dominated any one category. A typical season from Murphy would look along the lines of: 30 HR, 90 RBI, 130 K, 15 SB, and a .265 AVG. That is a pretty good year by all standards. The player that was most similar to this stat line in 2011, was Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds.
Let’s make one thing clear. Based on his statistics alone, Dale Murphy is definitely not a Hall of Famer. A 44. WAR is not enough for a Hall of Famer. That is in fact less than Red Sox fourth outfielder J.D. Drew. However, if you want to make a case for Murphy’s election by including his contributions to the game of baseball off the field, I can see a stronger case for his candidacy.
Last year, Murphy received only 12.6% of the BBWAA voted for the Hall. He has a long ways to go, in terms of voting, and not a lot of time to do it. I really am indifferent to whether or not Dale Murphy is Hall of Famer. If he makes it in, I will be pleased that his great character and steady numbers had been noticed. The bottom line is that regardless of whether he is eventually elected into Cooperstown, Dale Murphy should always be remembered as a tremendous player that truly was a role model to kids and adults who followed his career. Even if he does not fit the Cooperstown mold, he was one of the top players of his generation and should be regarded as a strong role model for future wave of Major League Baseball players to come.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter.***
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Posted on November 20, 2011, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged 1980's, Atlanta Braves, baseball, bruce, cooperstown, Dale Murphy, drew, hall of fame, national league, reds, redsox. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.