Remembering Dale Murphy


I am a big Dale Murphy fan. I mean REALLY big. While I make no claim to be the biggest, I do own 144 distinct Dale Murphy baseball cards. It is actually my second collection of his cards as my first was stolen in 1992. I probably bought back at least one of my stolen cards in the course of rebuilding my collection.

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I bring this up to set the stage for the following statement…

Every single person who doesn’t believe steroid users or gamblers should be in the Hall of Fame should have voted for Dale Murphy.

Or to put is even more succinctly, Dale Murphy should be in the Hall of Fame for every reason that Pete Rose isn’t.

Purely by the numbers, Dale Murphy is a borderline Hall-of-Famer. When you factor in who he is as a person, you begin to realize that perhaps he is more than borderline. I was reminded of this reading Jerry Crasnick’s article on Dale Murphy’s kids campaign to get their dad into the Hall of Fame.

During the article, Crasnick referenced Rule 5 of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).

Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

I added the underlines to stress that 3 of the 6 characteristics seem to be written specifically for Dale Murphy.

Let me tell you my Dale Murphy story.

The Signing

After the 1993 season, Dale Murphy was retired. His last “season” in Colorado was extremely brief. Even though he had been gone from Atlanta for years, he was still widely admired and respected. In fact, he had promised to sit for a two-hour autograph session for the Chattahoochee Council of the Boy Scouts of America that year in Columbus, Georgia. All new scouts were invited to get his autograph.

At the time I was an Assistant Scoutmaster and helping out on the council level. I was able to get invited to the event as a staff member. Donning my uniform, I brought two things, my camera and my mint condition Dale Murphy rookie card.

I got there early and watched the huge line form. As I waited in line I grew anxious, I was going to meet my hero. As I got to the front of the line, he looked at his rookie card and remarked how he didn’t see many of those anymore. He then agreed to have his picture taken with me.

And then my camera failed to work.

I left the line disheartened but still happy that I had met Dale Murphy and gotten his rookie card signed.

Then a miracle. The council commissioner, knowing me, offered to use his camera to take the picture. I was ecstatic. Without having to wait in line again, Dale stood up with a smile and posed for two pictures, just to be sure.

I couldn’t believe my luck. I later came to believe it as I never actually received the pictures that were taken. That is okay because I had met my hero and he was as nice and generous as the stories said.

And I had my signed card. It is the one centered in the picture above. It is one of my most prized possessions to this day.

Reality

Now I know that votes have already been turned in at this point and that the odds of him going from appearing on 14.5% of the ballots to 75% of them is slim to none. After 15 years, Dale Murphy will have to wait. That doesn’t change who Dale Murphy is as a player and a person.

While he may make it into the Hall through the veteran’s committee one day, it doesn’t matter. I am going to tell my kids about Dale Murphy as they get older so they can appreciate one of the best human beings ever to pick up the bat.

I’m going to leave this off with Joe Torre’s quote about Dale Murphy,

If your a coach, you want him as a player, If your a father, you want him as a son. If your a woman, you want him as a husband. If your a kid, you want him as a father. What else can you say about the guy?

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