The voters don’t seem to think Dale Murphy belongs in the Hall of Fame, giving him just 11.5% of the vote this past season. Are they right? Ryan Lester of www.lesterslegends.com and I return with our newest Hall of Fame Debate to analyze just that.
7960 At Bats
.265 Batting Average
.346 On-base %
.469 Slugging %
1985 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
1988 Roberto Clemente Award
Five Gold Gloves (1982-86)
Four Silver Sluggers (1982-1985)
Seven All-Star Appearances
Received MVP votes in seven seasons
Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Twice
On-base % – Five times
Slugging % – Six times (Led league in 1983 & 1984)
OPS – Six times (Led league in 1983)
Games – Seven times (Led league in ‘82, ‘83, ‘84 & ‘85)
At Bats – Four times
Runs – Six times (Led league in 1985)
Hits – Three times
Total Bases – Seven times
Doubles – Four times
Triples – Once
HRs – Nine times (Led league in 1984 & 1985)
RBI – Six times (Led league in 1982 & 1983)
Walks – Seven Times (Led league in 1985)
Extra Base Hits – Eight times (Led league in 1984)
Hit by Pitch – Once
Intentional Walks – Five times (Led league in 1987)
Hall of Fame Yardsticks
Black Ink: Batting – 31 (55) (Average HOFer ? 27)
Gray Ink: Batting – 147 (91) (Average HOFer ? 144)
HOF Standards: Batting – 34.4 (200) (Average HOFer ? 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting – 116.0 (123) (Likely HOFer > 100)
From 1982-1987 he was one of the best sluggers in the game, hitting 218 HR and 629 RBI en route to winning a pair of MVP awards. Those are spectacular numbers but at just 31 years old, when he should have still been capable of putting up big seasons, he all but disappeared. In 1988 he hit 24 HR with a .226 average. In 1989 he hit 20 HR with a .228 average. After that he stuck around for parts of 5 more seasons, hitting a total of just 44 HR.
Those were 6 years were fantastic, but not enough to convince me that we should honor his entire career. He was good prior to the outburst, and terrible after it. For me to consider him for the Hall, he would have to really have had a blow away stretch. He just didn’t provide that, being overshadowed by superstars like Mike Schmidt, Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield. He was a very good hitter, but not the preeminent slugger of the period. Given the mediocrity of the rest of his career, that causes him to fall short in my eyes.
Right out of the gate I’m going to use the yardsticks to support my claim. Three of the four yardsticks support the inclusion of Dale Murphy into the Hall of Fame. He’s a two-time MVP that was excellent in the field. He was easily one of the best players in the league for a six-year stretch (1982-1987) where he averaged 36.3 HRs, 110 Runs, 104.8 RBIs, and 17.5 SBs while winning two MVP, six Gold Gloves, and four Silver Sluggers. The rest of his career wasn’t brilliant, but was good enough with his long stretch of greatness to be a Hall of Famer. The knock on him is his Batting Average and his Strikeouts. Those numbers are less than desirable, but he got the job done. He had the misfortune of playing on some pretty bad Brave teams. In the end I think Murphy did just enough to get in.
What does everyone else think?