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Dale Murphy Belongs In The Hall Of Fame, Sooner Than Later

Dale Murphy #3 of the Atlanta Braves swings a misses for a strike during a game against the San Diego Padres in 1987 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The wait continues for Dale Murphy, a former Major League Baseball player who calls Utah home, but he should be in Cooperstown sooner rather than later.

The Modern Baseball Era Committee elected Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The announcement came Sunday evening.

Dale Murphy was among 10 candidates on the ballot. The group of former 1980s stars like Don Mattingly, Dave Parker and Lou Whitaker who were passed over once again for enshrinement.

The more you look into the case for the enshrinement of Murphy – the more puzzling it becomes that he’s not in the Hall.

Critics will say his prime was too short, his dropoff in production in the final five years of his career too steep. They will point to his career batting average or lack of postseason success. It’s a case that baseball writers bought into and now the Modern Baseball Era Committee, which is comprised of some hall of fame players from the 1980s, seems to have done as well.

This is what he did accomplish:

  • Back to back MVP’s in 1982 and 1983
  • Seven-time All-Star
  • Five Gold Gloves
  • Four Silver Slugger Awards
  • 398 home runs and 1,266 RBIs
  • Five seasons with 30+ home runs
  • 12 seasons with 20+ home runs
  • Career WAR of 46.5

During an 8 year period between 1980 and 1987 Murphy was one of the 10 best players in baseball.

In January of 1990 Sports Illustrated chose their top 10 best MLB players of the 1980s.

  1. Mike Schmidt
  2. Dale Murphy
  3. George Brett
  4. Robin Yount
  5. Dave Winfield
  6. Jack Morris
  7. Nolan Ryan
  8. Wade Boggs
  9. Eddie Murray
  10. Don Mattingly

There are only two players on that list who are NOT in the Hall of Fame. Murphy and Mattingly. (I would have no problem with Mattingly being selected as well).

Roger Maris and Murphy are the only players to win consecutive MVPs and not gain Hall of Fame enshrinement after becoming eligible.

Only Mike Schmidt hit more home runs between 1980 and 1987 than Murphy. Only Rickey Henderson scored more runs. Only Schmidt and George Brett had a better slugging percentage. Only Schmidt, Brett and Eddie Murphy had a better OPS+ (140) and seventh during that era in WAR.

The six players ahead of him are all in the Hall.

I was born in 1977. My first sports memories come from the early 1980s. Baseball was still a big deal back then. I loved baseball and baseball cards. I grew up in Wyoming but thanks to cable TV we got WGN which broadcast Cubs games and WTBS which broadcast Braves games.

Murphy was one of the first sports icons of my lifetime.

He was a superstar. He hit home runs at the plate and made amazing catches in centerfield. He was a complete player. When I think of the great players of that era Murphy is among the first I think of – I’m not alone.

Ron Darling, who is now a TV analyst for the New York Mets and Turner Sports, was a pitcher in the 1980s. He faced Murphy many times. This is what he told the New York Times about him.

“Maybe because I faced him in his prime a lot more, but I never thought anything but ‘Hall of Famer’ whenever I played against Dale Murphy. He just looked like a Hall of Famer, played like a Hall of Famer, acted like a Hall of Famer. That was my thought about him my entire career. The thing about Dale Murphy is that whenever he’d hit a home run, he always had that ‘aw shucks’ kind of gait around the bases, like, ‘I’m sorry, bro, I’m just doing my job.’ You could never get mad at him when he hit a home run. If there’s an opposite of bat flipping, it would be Dale Murphy on all the home runs he hit.”

If you take a close look at the numbers and the awards it’s even more puzzling why he isn’t getting the respect his career deserves.

Compare his numbers to Alan Trammell and Harold Baines, two other stars from the ’80s, who have been added to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee recently. Murphy accomplished more than both when it comes to batting stats, Gold Glove awards, All-Star appearances and MVP voting.

The Hall of Fame voters seem to be punishing players like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and others from the steroid era for cheating yet they fail to honor a player of integrity like Dale Murphy who was clean, played the game the right way and played it as well as anyone for a decade.

He is one of the top 10 players of the 1980s.

If integrity and character matter no one was better than Murphy. He won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, Roberto Clemente Award and Bart Giamatti Community Service Award.

His exclusion from the Hall of Fame makes no sense.

The veteran’s committee will next consider candidates in 2022 for the 2023 induction year. I still believe sooner than later the Veterans Committee will do the right thing and put Murphy in the Hall of Fame where he belongs.

I just don’t understand why it’s taking so long.