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You can vote for Dale Murphy for the Hall of Fame. Just do it for the right reasons, OK?

Dec 29, 2011, 9:49 AM EDT

Dale Murphy AP

Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News just submitted his first-ever Hall of Fame ballot.  Included on that ballot was Dale Murphy.

I’m cool with that. I don’t think I’d vote for him myself because I really do like to see a mix of elite peak — which Murphy had — and longevity, which Murphy didn’t.  Your mileage may vary, and I will make some exceptions, but for the most part I think those non-MVP but still superior years helping teams win are important.

But that’s just me. I can totally get on board with people differing in that regard, and frankly, it would make me kind of happy as a fanboy to see Murph in the Hall.

But one thing I do believe: if you’re going to vote for Dale Murphy, at least make sure you’re accurate about his merits, OK?  Don’t say stuff like this:

During 1980-1987, Murphy was the BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL, I’m pretty sure. I remember thinking that throughout that time, and I don’t believe I was wrong … I think the HOF is about GREATNESS–about guys who affected every bit of every game they played in their primes. –That’s Murphy, to me. Most HRs in the ’80s, by the way. Most RBIs, too.

People can believe different things when it comes to “THE BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL,” but if you’re going to look at 1980-87 and conclude that Mike Schmidt wasn’t that, well, you need to show more work than Kawakami does here.

Oh, and you also need to not get things simply wrong.  Murphy did not have the most home runs in the 1980s, Schmidt did.  Nor did he have the most RBI, Eddie Murray did. I’m a stats moron but even I can figure that out fairly quickly.

Oh well. At least he votes for Jeff Bagwell and Alan Trammell. I just hope it’s not because Bagwell led baseball in saves in the 1990s and because Trammell hit in 57 consecutive games.

  1. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Craig: Over the last three years, our Braves fandom has already taught us not to put too much trust in a guy named Kawakami. This only solidifies the point.

    • foreverchipper10 - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM

      Exactly what I was thinking.

  2. 18thstreet - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphswd.aspx?teamid=0&pos=All&season=1989&season1=1980&grid=25 … a list of best players in the 80s.

    Hey, I loved Dale Murphy, too. But there’s plenty of competition for Best Player of the 80s; Murphy’s (at best) the 3rd best outfielder of the decade, behind Rickey and Raines.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      I spent a little more time on fangraphs, and using 1980-1987 as the parameters is really stacking the deck for Murphy. It’s his age 24 to 31 seasons, while Rickey Henderson was 21 in 1980 and Tim Raines and Cal Ripken were 20 (and barely playing). Dwight Evans was already 28, and Mike Schmidt was 30.

      I’m fine with the idea of looking at peak value, but even by that argument — what were Dale Murphy’s best eight years? — he’s right about where Dwight Evans was FOR THOSE SAME YEARS.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:21 AM

        I think it’s even more impressive that Schmidt – already playing in his 30′s – outperformed the younger Murphy in the same time period.

  3. Tribe&Browns&Cavs - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    Who needs stats when you have ” I’m pretty sure,” “I remember thinking,” and ” I don’t believe I was wrong”?

    • Kyle - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      Ha! Seriously, trust the gut!

    • cur68 - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      Gotta admit, I pretty much run the same way unless I’m commenting on here. Then, I do my homework unless I plan to employ the phrase: “I reject your reality and substitute my own”. I find that pretty much covers most of my “I want to believe something that isn’t really true” statements. I kind of hope Kawakami goes with that when he answers the charge.

  4. dl3mk3 - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    someone really needs to look at the criteria for getting a ballot, maybe have a test that verifies these guys can actually look up historical stats, or even flip over a baseball card. i really cant get behind anyone who votes with “feeling” or “their memories”

    • theolgoaler - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:29 AM

      One receives a ballot after ten years as a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Quoting from their website:

      Today there are more than 700 active members of the BBWAA working for newspapers, magazines and major web sites. The main requirement for membership is still that a writer works for a newspaper or news outlet that covers major league baseball on a regular basis. (Emphasis added.)

      I suspect “NBC Sports” would be considered a “major website”.

  5. Detroit Michael - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    I don’t get tired of the Hall of Fame ballot articles, Craig: keep on linking!

    Wins Above Replacement (which of course attempts to measure total performance) for 1980-87:
    Baseball-reference.com shows Dale Murphy as 6th best.
    Fangraphs.com shows Dale Murphy as 10th best.
    Both leaderboards exclude pitchers, so we’re just comparing Murphy to other position players.
    Both leaderboards list Rickey Henderson first and Mike Schmidt second.

    For a guy looking forward to voting for the Hall of Fame for the first time, a guy who has enjoyed discussing HoF candidacies since he was in college in the mid-1980s, a guy who claims to read Bill James for decades, you would think that he would keep up with what’s happening in his field and not just go by his recollection.

  6. Francisco (FC) - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    This guy is smoking something. Schmidt had a much higher OPS+ throughout that same period, won 3 MVPs vs Murphy’s 2, 6 GG vs Murphy’s 5. Heck even the much storied WAR gives the edge to Schmidt by a mile from 80-87.

    Not to mention the fact that he was actually wrong about HRs: (Schmidt 295 vs Murphy 264 from 80-87) and the RBIs (Schmidt 839 vs Murphy 768 from 80-87 – heck Eddie Murray had more at 824 in the same time period).

  7. kopy - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    What a joke. I can’t believe that these are the guys who are in charge of picking the players that receive baseball’s highest honor. It’s a damn travesty.

    It’s been stated before, but there’s nothing wrong with choosing Dale Murphy as long as you are choosing him based on the criteria outlined by the BBWAA and not lies you’ve told yourself.

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      Correct. He can say Dale Murphy had fantastic peak years and despite not having the longevity is still HoF worthy. I think this guy’s column is better:

      http://www.cbssports.com/columns/story/12745964/remember-the-80s-murphy-destined-to-be-halls-latest-decade-diss

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        WARNING: I don’t mean to say it’s a great column. There’s still some quackery in there, but overall it’s better written and justified than what Kawakami wrote.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM

        Too late! We’re already holding every word against you.

  8. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    This could be just as relevant in the Vecsey thread, but at what point do we realize that we could all be collectively trolled by these ballots?

    Ken Davidoff makes a great ballot, everyone on twitter links to it, people read and that’s it. It’s forgotten as fast as it was written. Someone else makes an absurd ballot, claiming factually incorrect information, saying no to PED users but voting in Palmeiro, etc and we spend days, even weeks, linking and discussing it?

  9. Joe - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    That’s an OK ballot. I don’t think that Murphy and Morris belong, but I like that he came to the logical conclusion that there’s no real distinction between Larkin and Trammel. But his reasoning is just all over the place. This bit in particular vexes me:

    “And, to me, Murphy defines the set of players (let’s add Don Mattingly, Ellis Burks, Will Clark, Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry here) who precisely did NOT gain longevity by taking PEDs, and are being penalized twice now.”

    Are we really propping up Darryl Strawberry as a paragon of virtue, and (furthermore) a victim of same? Strawberry’s career is almost exactly concurrent with that of Jose Canseco, and his final years were firmly in the steroid era. I’m not accusing of Strawberry of doing PEDs – I have no idea – but to cite a guy with a well-documented willingness to partake of illegal chemicals to be someone who is (apparently) above suspicion for PEDs seems entirely ludicrous.

    • JBerardi - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:55 PM

      “Are we really propping up Darryl Strawberry as a paragon of virtue, and (furthermore) a victim of same? Strawberry’s career is almost exactly concurrent with that of Jose Canseco, and his final years were firmly in the steroid era. I’m not accusing of Strawberry of doing PEDs – I have no idea – but to cite a guy with a well-documented willingness to partake of illegal chemicals to be someone who is (apparently) above suspicion for PEDs seems entirely ludicrous.”

      C’mon man. We all know that players who used steroids used steroids, and players that didn’t use steroids didn’t use steroids. It’s not like this stuff is complicated or anything.

  10. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    This kind of thing makes you wonder whether being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is actually the highest honor a ballplayer can receive anymore. Buffoons like this have no clue and can’t even bother to look things up(“I’m pretty sure. I remember thinking that throughout that time, and I don’t believe I was wrong” and “Murphy had the most HRs and RBIs BY THE WAY”). And THEY are the Hall of Fame voters. THEY are the ones who decide who gets Baseball’s “highest honor”? Nah, I’ll pass. The Hall of Fame is NOT baseball’s “highest honor” anymore. No more than a guy who plays his position 28 times during a season wins the honor of being the best fielder at that position for the year.

    It’s time to put to rest the myth that being inducted into the Hall of Fame is anything more than what it is…a popularity contest where guys who were nice people, and were great players, who kept the same relative build and talked to the media members every night are voted in by said media members. Period.

  11. thomas2727 - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Kawakami blocked me on Twitter last Summer for calling him out for being a very lazy writer. I said I expected more from a paid professional in a large market. Maybe I asking too much for not wanting to read a hack? Do some research Tim.

    There are people that put their heart and soul into studying baseball history that will never get a HOF vote.

    Meanwhile we have hacks like Tim saying I think I remember. Really Tim. If you don’t want to put the work in you should cease voting in the future.

  12. mtm1321 - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Without getting into the geek arena of stats, which I love. Let’s be realistic, there are plenty of guys who are in the same boat as Dale Murphy. For example Dwight Evans?!? Why is Murph getting all this attention? Why the comparison to guys like Schimdt, Murray, Brett, Rice…..Murphy isn’t even close. He was great for the short time he played but he just couldn’t pull the load over time.
    I was/am a Dale Murphy fan but I don’t think he’s a HOF!

    • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM

      It’s likely the 2 MVP awards. There are 29 multi-MVP award winners, and, steroids aside, only 3 are not Hall of Famers…Juan Gone, Roger Maris and Dale Murphy. Evans sniffed an MVP a couple times, but never won the award. That’s the only reason I can see for all the Dale Murphy for HOF hubbub. I don’t think he deserves to get in either…but I do see Craig’s point above with the comparison to Puckett, who I also don’t think deserves to be in. But I’m more of a small-hall guy.

    • bozosforall - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Short time that he played? He played more years (18) than Jim Rice (16), with more games played in that time span and just 18 less plate appearances. Try a better approach than that next time, dude.

      And 18 years is the same number that Schmidt played and hardly that much less than the 21 of eitiher Murray or Brett.

      • mtm1321 - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:44 PM

        Well “DUDE” all I can say is Jim Ed Rice is a HOFer and Murphy is not and unfortunately probably will never be in the HOF.
        Remember the HOF is not just based on numbers, it’s also a popularity contest and good ol’ boy club. Rice had a lot of the Boston contingent politicking for him along with his peers(pitchers he faced) telling writers he deserves in. There isn’t to much noise coming from the Murphy camp about trying to get him in…………?

  13. mtm1321 - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Oh and Kawakami is a BUM, a hack writer. To bad MLB wasted a ballot on this guy.

  14. bozosforall - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    If Jim Rice got in, then so shoudl Murphy. 2 MVPs to 1, 5 Gold Gloves to none…Murphy was the all-around better player, playing over 1000 games in center field, with a higher fielding percentage by far than Rice ever had in Fenway’s tiny left field.

    So, if the HOF REALLY does value fielding prowess rather than just hitting, they will put Murphy in. Otherwise, it’s just a political crapfest.

    • Detroit Michael - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      There are a large number of players eligible but not in the Hall of Fame who are better than Jim Rice.

      It’s not a persuasive argument to reason that:
      - Murphy is better than Rice.
      - Rice is in the Hall of Fame.
      - Therefore, Murphy should be in the Hall of Fame
      when the comparison player (Rice in this case) is a weak selection for the Hall of Fame.

      • bozosforall - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Agreed that Rice was a weak selection but he still got in (mostly due to the sympathy vote and the intense politiking by the Boston contingent). Therefore, if the bar was lowered (very recently, I might add), then all those who are above it (like Murphy) should also get in.

  15. bigmacmantle - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    “Most HRs in the ’80s, by the way. Most RBIs, too.”

    “Murphy did not have the most home runs in the 1980s, Schmidt did. Nor did he have the most RBI, Eddie Murray did. I’m a stats moron but even I can figure that out fairly quickly.”

    Maybe he meant 1981 to 1990 as the ’80s since the first decade was year 1 to year 10 although most references in popular culture refer to 198* as the ’80s.

    If so Murphy had 299 homers to Schmidt’s 265! (I didn’t check any other players for 1981 to 1990) but Murray still had 975 RBIs (vs 996 for 1980 to 1989) compared to Murphy’s 923 :(

  16. mtm1321 - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    I disagree with the Rice comparison to Murphy.

    I truly believe RIce was a better hitter and more dangerous then Murphy. (I’m not looking at numbers)

    Yes, Murph played longer but by playing longer he hurt his overall numbers. Rice recognized the skills were degrading so he left. I dont believe that Rice was a weak HOF pick at all. The guy was one of the most lethal hitters during the late 70′s & 80′s.

    Yes, the boston contingent did a lot of rallying for RIce for the Hall but a lot of Rice’s peers came out and said (mainly pitchers who pitched against him) he deserves to get in because the guy was such a dangerous hitter. Gees the Goose after he got in made a personal campaign to get Rice in.

    I think we all forget that Jim RIce had a horrible relationship with the boston media and sportswriters in general and they held it against him for a long time. Almost keeping him out of the HOF.

    My two cents…..

    • bozosforall - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:32 PM

      Rice was overrated, particularly given that he was basically one-dimensional. No glove, no arm, no wheels.

      • mtm1321 - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:40 PM

        I can see your point, BUT, he is a HOFer.

    • JBerardi - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:02 PM

      “I truly believe RIce was a better hitter and more dangerous then Murphy. (I’m not looking at numbers)

      Yeah, of course you’re not. The best way to build a HOF case for Jim Rice is to ignore as much of the actual evidence as possible.

      • mtm1321 - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM

        From 1975 though 1986, Jim Rice dominated the American League. He was the premiere offensive force in the junior circuit, and it wasn’t even close. Rod Carrew and George Brett may have been better pure hitters and Dave Winfield a better all-around player, but nobody could put on the one-man wrecking show that Rice did. During that 12 year period, Rice led all AL players in games, at-bats, runs, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging, total bases, extra base hits, multi-hit games and go-ahead RBIs. From 1977 through 1979, he became the only player in major league history to record three straight seasons with at least 35 homeruns and 200 hits. In 1978 he became the first American League player since Joe Dimaggio in 1937 to collect over 400 total bases in a season, a feat that has yet to be matched again in the almost 30 years since.
        Of the 19 left fielders currently enshrined in the Hall, only five hit more homeruns than Rice’s 382 and only eight recorded more RBIs. When the fact that he was the dominant hitter in his league for over a decade is factored in, Rice’s place in Cooperstown should be a no-brainer. The only nine retired players with both more homeruns and a higher career batting average than Rice are all Hall of Famers: Hank Aaron, Jimmie Fox, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
        What else should I say…….I think thats enough.

  17. kappy32 - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    This is why the baseball hall of fame induction process is a borderline joke. You have a guy here who is voting for players to be enshrined, yet he doesn’t even know their statistics. On the other hand, you have other writers who stick their nose up in the air at the so-called “cheaters” and won’t vote for them because they did what the majority of their peers did during the same time period: take drugs to enhance performance. These are the same guys who are going around getting arrested for felony stalking charges, i.e. Jay Mariotti. Too much weight and power are given to a bunch of pencil pushers who haven’t picked up a bat and glove since their mid-30′s beer league softball games. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the induction process.

  18. mylife4iron - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    This reminds me of the voter, can’t remember who it was, who didn’t even notice Jeff Bagwell was on the ballot last year…

    Random rambling: even if he was right about DM being the best, in my opinion, that doesn’t necessarily equate to HOF. Jack Morris was the winningest pitcher of the 80′s and a Game 7 legend, yet compiled a fat 3.90 career ERA. Dave Stieb was probably the best pitcher of that era and Saberhagen had 2 Cy Youngs, yet both ended up with less than 200 wins. I wouldn’t vote for any of them, although I’m apparently in the minority on Morris.

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