Madison Murphy: “My Dad is a Super Hero”

dale murphy

Madison Murphy: “My Dad is a Super Hero”
Everyone has already said it, so allow me to be the next…this year, it’s likely that Dale Murphy will become the 35th player to drop off the Hall of Fame ballot after 15 years.

But not if his family has anything to say about it.

Murphy has eight kids…and, to help their father collect the 75% of the vote needed for enshrinement (the two-time National League MVP fared best in 2000, when he garnered 23.2%), they’ve taken to the internets.  Hard.  The Murphy bunch has even set up a petition to help get the word out.

In this Hall of Very Good exclusive…this is what his lone daughter, Madison, has to say.

Madison Murphy: “My Dad is a Super Hero”
Understanding exactly who my dad is, has been a lifelong process.

Growing up primarily in Utah, my childhood was far away from the legacy he left in Atlanta. Basically, the only thing I knew about my dad’s baseball career is that he had one. I had no knowledge of awards or statistics. My dad never displayed his memorabilia. We didn’t have pictures lining our walls or framed jerseys in our family room. Anybody walking through our house wouldn’t even know a baseball player lived there.

Baseball fans always know that my dad is modest, and sometimes people even ask me, “Is he really THAT humble?”

Yeah. He really is.

I cannot remember one time where my father boasted about his career. He never gathered us all around to talk about an amazing game he had, or what a great guy everybody thinks he is. He was never his first priority – and neither was his career. Our family never slipped from the top of his list. Because of this, I never looked at him as Dale Murphy the “Baseball Player”, he was always just my Dad.

Because I was born a few months after my dad retired, my childhood wasn’t filled with trips to the ballpark and people bombarding my dad for autographs. Up until my teenage years, I never looked deeply into who exactly my dad was during his career.

I remember being 14 years old and searching “Dale Murphy Stats” and “Dale Murphy Highlights” on Google and YouTube. I did this often, and tried to learn as much as I could about my dad’s career. I wanted to know what he really had accomplished, because I knew if I asked him directly, he would downplay his talent, calling himself “average” or “lucky.”

That’s just who he is.

He’s not one to admit he was one of the greats, even if everyone around him knows it.

I could watch highlights and read statistics for hours, but my father’s career was more than numbers.  My father left a legacy, not only for the Braves but for the world of baseball. I sit here trying to give you all a picture of what my dad is like as a baseball player, but more importantly a person. The words that come first to my mind: humble, kind, respectful, strong, talented, caring, full of integrity and character, just to name a few.

I know, I look like a little girl talking about her daddy like he’s a super hero. But I’ll be the first to argue it – to me, my dad is a super hero.

And this is where the Hall of Fame comes in. This is where I write to you, Baseball Writers. There are going to be people who argue that my father’s numbers are just flat-out not good enough. With the help of my eldest brother Chad, I am able to give you said numbers.

Here goes:

  • Back-to-back MVP in 1982 and 1983. One of only 13 players to accomplish feat and, at the time, the youngest ever to do so.
  • Seven-time National League All-Star. Top National League vote-getter and started in five of those games.
  • Four-time Silver Slugger award-winner.
  • Five-time Gold Glove winner.
  • Sixth player in MLB history to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season.
  • In 1983, he became the only player in history to compile a .302-plus batting average, 30-plus home runs, 120-plus RBI, 130-plus runs scored, 90-plus walks and 30-plus stolen bases in a single season.
  • Led the Majors in total bases during the span of 1980-1989: 2796
  • Second only to Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt in total home runs (308) from 1980-1989: 308
  • Second only to Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in total runs from 1980-1989.
  • First in total home runs from 1980-1989 among all Major League outfielders: 308
  • First in total RBIs from 1980-1989 among all Major League outfielders: 929
  • Second in total hits from 1980-1989 among Major League outfielders: 1553
  • Second in total extra-base hits from 1980-1989 among Major League outfielders: 596
  • Played in 740 consecutive games from 1980-1986. 11th longest streak in history at the time, and 13th today.
  • Only missed 20 games total between 1980-1989.
  • In 1987, reached base in 74 consecutive games. Third longest streak in Major League history.
  • 398 career home runs. 19th in Major League history when he retired, fourth among active players.
  • 2111 career hits
  • 1266 career RBI
  • .265 career batting average
  • Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsmen of the Year” Award: 1987.
  • Represented baseball as their “Athlete Who Cares the Most” for his charity work, along with U.S. gold medalist Judi Brown King, Kenyan gold-medalist Kip Keino and others.
  • Lou Gehrig Award: 1985. Given to the player who most exemplifies the character of Lou Gehrig, both on and off the field.
  • Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award: 1988. Given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”.
  • Bart Giamatti Community Service Award: 1991
  • Jersey number “3” retired by the Atlanta Braves: 1994
  • Inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame: 1995.
  • Induction class included Roberto Clemente and Julius Erving. One of only eight baseball players inducted in the Hall’s history.
  • Inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence: 1995. Joining Mike Schmidt, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nolan Ryan, and others.
  • Inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame: 1997
  • Inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame: 1997
  • Inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame: 2000. Joining Baseball Hall of Famers Phil Niekro and Hank Aaron, among others.
  • Founder of the IWon’tCheat Foundation in 2005, whose mission is to encourage character development among youth.

Now, aside from the fact that those numbers are numbers few have touched, I’d say there are well beyond enough to have him inducted. But, of course there will be those who disagree.

But then there’s this, from the Baseball Hall of Fame website:

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.

Integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions?

You’d be hard-pressed to find another man who emulates every one of those attributes better or more frequently than Dale Murphy. Take one look at the fans in Atlanta, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Almost every jersey worn at Turner Field reads number 3. I believe it’s because Braves fans know truly what what my father’s career was. They wear that number 3 with pride, knowing that the man who once played in that jersey was not only talented, but a genuinely good, humble, honest person.

He was one of the rare bright spots for the Braves in the 1980s. He was their franchise, and he did it with pride, character, and without performance-enhancing drugs.

My father was a clean player – and I mean squeaky clean. No tobacco, no alcohol, not even a puff of a cigarette. More importantly than that, no steroids. Heavy-hitters like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds became the talk of baseball only a few years after my father’s retirement.

America lost sight of what baseball was. The purity and love of the game that my dad had so well emulated had begun being overlooked, and the Steroids Era bombarded the world of baseball.

Because of this, I believe my father’s statistics (and his character) have been overlooked.

Of course, 700-plus home runs is an amazing feat, but it’s time the Baseball Writers see what truly makes a man Hall of Fame worthy. It’s time they follow their own rules, by inducting a man who has integrity, sportsmanship, character, and made incredible contributions to the team(s) on which he played.

This is my father’s last year on the ballot. He’s not campaigning himself. He’s not out showing off his statistics or career to anybody. So we, as his kids, have taken it into our own hands. It’s time the Writers and fans of baseball see what an incredible player my father was, and the great man he is every single day.

My dad is everything a Hall of Famer should be.

It’s time to put him in.

Madison Murphy: “My Dad is a Super Hero”


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