Dale Murphy is on the Hall of Fame ballot for the 13th time this year, and received 63 out of 539 votes last year (11.7%). The highest vote percentage he has ever gotten was 23.2% in the 2000 balloting.
1982, 1983 National League Most Valuable Player
5 Gold Gloves
4 Silver Sluggers
7 All Star Appearances
6 seasons with 33 or more home runs
5 100+ RBI seasons
4 100+ Runs seasons
398 career HR
6 seasons with 130+ OPS+
6 seasons with 5.0+ WAR
1 30 HR/30 SB season
The Case for Murphy
Murphy was an elite level outfielder from 1981 to 1987 (7 seasons), providing league leading power numbers (averaging 36 homers per season from 1982-1987) and was a solid defensive outfielder as well.
The Case Against Murphy
His career path tailed off dramatically after the 1987 season, never posting an OPS over 744 after the 1987 season despite playing for 6 more seasons.
Murphy seems like he should be a better candidate that he actually ends up being. He was one of the more prolific power hitters during his elite years, but the numbers seem a bit small in comparison to the generation of hitters who came afterward. He was the face of the franchise for some truly horrendously bad Atlanta Braves teams in the 80′s, and was traded just before they really started seeing success again. He seems to be one of the lightning rod candidates who has clearly had a very good career, but doesn’t necessarily stand out as a sure-fire candidate. I think that Murphy seems to get hurt by the fact that he spent so much time playing for such bad teams, and gets hurt in the comparison between himself and the other elite players of his era.
The Hall of Very Good’s article about Murphy from last year had an interesting point:
The following players have had 390+ HR, 160+ SB, and 5 Gold Gloves in their career – Barry Bonds, Mike Schmidt, Ken Griffey Jr, Willie Mays, Carl Yastrzemski, Dave Winfield, Larry Walker, and Dale Murphy.
Murphy was an overall well rounded player who was clearly elite for a substantial portion of the 1980s, and would probably have been a slam dunk candidate had he played for a slightly more competitive team during his career, and to me he stands out as someone who belongs in the Hall of Fame.
MY VOTE: YES