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Dale Murphy's children going for ultimate Christmas gift

By December 24, 2012

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The "integrity" clause in the Hall of Fame ballot is needing some interpretation from baseball writers this winter. The ballot states:

"Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."

So to some writers, that means Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others won't get votes. But will it work the other way around? Meaning, will players whose character was exemplary get them more votes?

Exhibit A in this year's voting will be a player who has languished at the bottom of the ballot for the past 14 years: Dale Murphy. It's his 15th and final shot on the writers' ballot, and the meanest thing you can say about dear old "Murph" was that his career didn't have staying power after leaving Atlanta for Philadelphia.

And for a few years in the 1980s, Murphy was one of the best players in the game, hitting for power and showing his speed every night on the Superstation. He hit .265 in his career with 398 home runs, and if I were a voter, I might just vote for him. (Perhaps partially because he was my favorite baseball player as a youngster.)

And if the fans were the ones voting, Murphy would have a reasonable shot.

Murphy's I Won't Cheat foundation is front and center at the Little League World Series, and it goes beyond baseball. There are several social media campaigns, a petition at Change.org and Murphy's eight children are a big part of the campaign to maximize his candidacy, showing plenty of intelligence and creativity. Daughter Madison wrote a blog about her humble father and son Chad -- a PhD candidate in organizational behavior at Penn State -- wrote a letter and sent it to every Hall of Fame voter. Son Tyson, an artist, drew a cartoon.

"It's been like Christmas and Father's Day times 100," Dale Murphy said to MLB.com. "It's just an emotional and tender feeling of what the kids have put together in their efforts. They've just gone the extra mile for me. 'Thanks' does not sound like the adequate word."

But does he really have a chance? The most votes he ever received in a year was 23.2 percent in 2000. He had 14.5 percent last year.

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote Monday that he will vote for Murphy, but not for Bonds, Clemens or even Jeff Bagwell, who was never linked to any performance-enhancing drugs case. John Canzano of the Oregonian will vote for Murphy. So will Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle. And several others.

Yet Murphy's chances to make it to 75 percent are extremely slim. But here's a pretty easy prediction: He'll get more than Clemens or Bonds. Perhaps combined.


December 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm
(1) Steve B says:

Murphy was a good player but not great.He had a lifetime avg of .265.He was a great character but he’s not a HOF player

January 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm
(2) Guillermo Alzuru says:

I want to support your opinion about Dale Murphy. I don’t think he’s a clear hall-of-famer, it’s one of those that I’d be happy if he gets selected but would not mind if he doesn’t. My problem is the comparison with other ball players, who are lucky because their class is not very good.

Take Barry Larkin, for example. Like Murphy, he’s a very player but not exactly a super star. I do not oppose Larkin getting in, but I do think it’s very unfair for him to get 86% of the votes while Murphy received 14%. There’s no way Larkin is a 5 times better player.

Larkin has better batting average and scored more runs but Murphy has many more HRs and many more RBI. And on the field, Larkin won 3 gold gloves while Murphy got 5. Larkin was MVP once; Murphy twice.

January 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
(3) Carolina Acosta says:

Dale Murphy belongs in the HOF, I have no doubts about that. I highly recommend reading his son Chad’s letter! This is about more than statistics, it’s about our cultural mechanisms, about the fabric of our society.

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