Hall of Fame Debate – Dale Murphy

Feb 12, 2009

Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor and I are back to debate Dale Murphy’s Hall of Fame worthiness.

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)

References
Baseball-Reference.com

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 Murph did just enough to get in.

Rotoprofessor’s 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.

Previous Debates
Mark McGwire (Hall of Fame)
Tim Raines (Hall of Fame)
Bernie Williams (Hall of Fame)
Ryan Dempster (2009 Season)
Jack Morris (Hall of Fame)

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4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Evan "McSpazz" Edwards
    February 12th, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    In era before roids and HGH, Murph was an exceptional player for a stretch who suffered, because of the teams he played on. If he was in a larger market at the time I don’t think this debate would even need to be brought up. With exactly the same numbers in New York, Chicago, Boston, etc. Dale would in or going in very shortly. Players of Murph’s caliber should be let in way before anyone of this current generation of players. As for the veterans commitee, let somebody in for christ sake, I’m tired of hearing Ron Santo cry about it.

  2. LestersLegends
    February 12th, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    Totally agree on the VC. They’re ridiculous.

  3. Dan Wiginton
    August 20th, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    For a full 10 years (1978-1987), Murphy was one of the 2-3 most feared batters in the major leagues. As proof of that, at the end of that period, he led the NL in intentional walks in 1987. In addition, as a 6’4″ former catcher he was the best defensive centerfielder in the NL over that full time. He was also a 30-30 man when those were counted on one hand. I have been watching major league baseball for over 50 years and he is in the top 10 among players during that time for all-around ability. If 10 years of greatness is not enough, lets kick people out of the HOF like Sandy Koufax.

  4. LestersLegends
    August 20th, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    Strong words, but I like it. He belongs.

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