Dale Murphy's career
All-Star 1980, 1982-87.
Gold Glove 1982-86.
National League MVP, 1982, 1983.
Led NL in slugging% in 1982,
NL leader in home runs in 1984,
Led NL in RBIs in 1982, 1983.
End of catching
>> Visit the
Dale Murphy biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
By DEAN LOLLIS
Dale Murphy's presence in
the Atlanta outfield often served as undeniable evidence that nice guys
finish last. True, the Braves were actually pennant contenders a couple
of times during Murph's career in a Braves' uniform. For the most part,
however, the Braves clubs he played on were stuck in the cellar.
Early in his career, the
Braves thought Murphy was going to be their answer as a catcher. However,
the parts of the 1976 and 1977 seasons he played as a catcher proved one
thing -- Murphy simply didn't have the arm to be an effective backstop.
He even had problems throwing the ball back to the pitcher.
With the catcher experiment
faltering, the Braves gave Murphy some time at first base. From 1976-1979,
Murphy committed 52 errors. He also had some problems with his offense.
Murphy led the National League in strikeouts in 1978 with 145 and again
in 1980 with 133.
Murphy was also splitting
time at first base with Bob Horner. Things changed in 1980 when the Braves
traded Barry Bonnell for Chris Chambliss.
This opened a spot in the
outfield for Murphy. He responded by hitting 33 home runs in 1980, driving
in 89 runs and batting .281.
Murphy vaulted from a good
outfielder to an Atlanta star in 1982. He hit 36 home runs, drove in 109
runs and stole 23 bases. Murphy was an All-Star that season and one the
Gold Glove for his defense in the outfield. Atlanta won the pennant that
season and Murphy was named the National League's MVP.
In 1983, he became the youngest
player in National League history to win back-to-back MVP honors. He hit
36 home runs, drove in a career-high 121 runs and stole a career-high 30
bases. He also led the league in slugging percentage. Even as the Atlanta
teams tumbled talentwise over the next few seasons, Murphy continued to
display his skills. In 1985, Murphy was the top vote-getter for the All-Star
Game. He also was presented the Lou Gehrig Award.
Murphy was in Atlanta's opening
day lineup for every season from 1978 to 1988. From Sept. 27, 1981 until
July 9, 1986, played in 740 consecutive games. He was a member of the elite
30-30 club in 1983. He won five straight Gold Glove honors.
For Murphy, 1986 was one
of the worst years of his career. Murphy hit .265 with 29 home runs and
83 runs batted in. The next year, he came back with a vengeance. Murphy
hit a career-high 44 home runs in 1987.
In 1989, the Braves dealt
their long-time player to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Tommy Greene
for relief pitcher Jeff Parrett and two other prospects. The move wasn't
without controversy for Atlanta fans.
Murphy's last season of glory
came in 1991 when he hit 18 home runs for the Phillies. He was sidelined
off and on with knee problems over the next few years. In 1992, he signed
with the expansion Colorado Rockies, but hit just .143 in 42 at-bats before
deciding to retire.
Atlanta honored their former
star by retired Murphy's No. 3 during a ceremony in 1994. At the time he
retired, Murphy held 13 Atlanta franchise records. Murphy is still waiting
to see if he will be elected into baseball's Hall