Hall of Fame Debate – Dale Murphy

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.

The Numbers
2180 Games
7960 At Bats
.265 Batting Average
.346 On-base %
.469 Slugging %
1197 Runs
2111 Hits
350 Doubles
39 Triples
398 HRs
1266 RBI
986 Walks
161 SBs

The Awards
1982 MVP
1983 MVP
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)


My Take:
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.

Lester’s Take:
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?


  1. IzzyFranchise says:

    I’d like to see Dale Murphy in the HOF. I was always a fan of his. Almost 400 HR, 2-Time MVP, 5 GG and 4 SS…that’s a pretty nice career if you ask me. Of course he does fall short of other similar players but I could see him in there.

  2. Brad says:

    The most total bases in the 1980s, second most home runs, second most RBIs.
    5 gold gloves. 2 MVPs. The Hall of Fame is a joke if Murphy does not get in.

  3. jay snyder says:

    Murphy is a Hall of Famer, if character can keep you out then in Mr. Murphys case it should be the one thing that puts him over the hump. Wouldn’t be nice if the sports writers showed people that if you are a person of class and integrity you can be rewarded. Wouldn’t that teach young ballplayers something great? His numbers warrant it his class demands it!

  4. Don Thompson says:

    Dale Murphy was such an outstanding player for six years that he deserves HOF recognition. How many great years did Sandy Koufax and Dizzy Dean have? Besides he was one of the classiest people ever to play the game.

  5. Bryan says:

    Dale Murphy was the best all around player in the league for the 80’s. The hall of fame writers are jokes if they don’t put him in. I this area when people are taking steriods and getting in trouble, it is time to show that things can be done clean and still make a great career. VOTER PUT HIM IN.

  6. Bobby says:

    Dale Murphy should be in the Hall.He is on of the top players of the 80s .Really people voting should be asking teh players and managers of the teams he played agaist ,they would tell you …put Murphy in !

  7. erik says:

    are the top 5 everyday players of the50’s 60’s 70’s in the HOF…. then why should the 80’s be any different, put Murph in!!!!

  8. mike d says:

    If Ryne sandberg got in, Murphy should be in too.

  9. Phil says:

    Dale Murphy is the epitomy of a role model baseball player on and off the field. I find it crazy he hasn’t received more votes and been inducted into the HOF already. Maybe if the Braves had a winning team when he played for them he would be in there. It really is a shame he isn’t in there.

  10. Mary Ellen says:

    In a day and age where steroid sluggers are getting in, Dale Murphy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Murph was an excellent player, the youngest player to have back-to-back MVP seasons and he kept the game genuine and fun. Put Murph in the Hall of Fame – he deserves it!!!!!

  11. Dale Murphy should be in the Hall of fame. He not only showed how to be the ultimate player on a very woeful Atlanta Braves’ team in the 1980’s but Dale Murphy also was a true gentleman off the baseball diamond, too. This year’s 2011 HOF class: DALE MURPHY!

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