Murphy left a mark on and off the field
As the MLB Hall of Fame announcement approaches, there are many articles regarding players chances of being voted in. One of those players is Dale Murphy.
The case for Murphy has been looked at and dissected from every possible angle. Murphy's children have even gone on a campaign in an effort to get their father into the hall.
Despite their best efforts it appears that it will be up to the veterans committee to get Murphy the enshrinement many feel he deserves.
It is not for me to try and convince anyone on the merit of Dale Murphy's candidacy. I could rehash all the stats, the MVPs, and the impeccable character of Murphy, but that has been done hundreds of times before by people who are better at it than I am.
What I can do is give my personal opinion on what I feel Dale Murphy meant to baseball and the legacy he has left.
As a child growing up in a small Midwestern town, my first memories of baseball on television came when we got cable in 1981. With the choice of the Cubs on WGN and the Braves on TBS, I gravitated towards the boys from the south.
I remember being enamored with Murphy hitting long home runs and climbing the wall for some incredible catches in center field. Dale Murphy quickly became one of my favorite players and I continued to follow him throughout his career.
Living in a cornfield in Indiana, I was surrounded by Cubs, Cardinals, and Reds fans. Despite my friends following different teams, when the discussion of who is the best player came up, Murphy was always a part of it.
I can remember us discussing who the hitter you did not want to face as a pitcher was, and Murphy was always the unanimous answer. This continued through most of the 1980's.
We may have been a bunch of kids who watched a lot of baseball, but in many ways kids view things in a more simple black and white approach. We did not need pages of metrics to tell us who was a Hall of Fame type player, we believed our eyes.
Murphy retired and baseball moved on. The Braves were winning, and my attention had turned to college and women (not necessarily in that order).
Fast forward nearly 20 years and my career brought me and my family to the Atlanta area. Tickets in hand, I took the wife and kids to Turner Field for a game against the Cardinals. The thing that opened my eyes that day was the amount of Dale Murphy jerseys being worn by those attending.
I was not surprised that there were Murphy jerseys, rather the fact that they seemed to outnumber the Chipper Jones jerseys.
As we became acclimated to life around Atlanta, I had several conversations with baseball fans in the area. The number of Dale Murphy stories were incredible. Even more incredible was the number of stories associated with off the field actions.
In my time in Atlanta, it has become ever so clear that Murphy left a huge imprint on the minds of baseball fans with his play, but he left an even bigger imprint on people's hearts with how he went about his business. That imprint is a legacy that will last.
After all these years, his achievements have only been falsely diluted by video game numbers that were the norm in baseball during a decade of rampant steroid use.
When a player is a dominant force with the bat and the glove for nearly a decade, that is an incredible feat. Consider for a moment the numbers he put up from 1981 to 1988 with the players who surrounded him in the lineup, and that he did it with integrity.
Baseball is built on lasting images and legacies. Few have built the type of lasting image Murphy has built in Braves country.
Dale Murphy, Hall of Fame player, Hall of Fame person.