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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Dale Murphy and the Hall of Fame: BBWAA Needs to Observe and Honor Their Own Voting Guidelines

And, like lambs to the slaughter, the Dale Murphy fans take the HOF petition.

His career statistics are comparable to (if not better than) many players already in the Hall, not to mention that everything he accomplished was done with utmost respect for the game and without performance-enhancing substances of any kind. His legacy continues to draw unmatched respect and admiration from players, coaches, and fans alike. Despite being overshadowed by the artificially-inflated numbers of the steroid era, Dale’s statistics alone have helped him receive enough votes to stay on the HoF ballot for 15 years. Moreover, his off-the-field achievements are just as impressive as those he accomplished on-the-field, creating immeasurable goodwill for the game during the 1980s and inspiring young people everywhere.

This year presents a critical turning point for Hall of Fame voting. Players who used (or who were suspected of using) steroids will likely fall short of induction due primarily to the “character clause” (i.e., failing to show good character, integrity, and/or sportsmanship). If character flaws can hurt a player’s case by diluting the potency of their on-field numbers, then by that same token, high integrity should help a player’s case. We believe that if such a holistic judgment of every eligible player’s career cannot or will not be made by the voters, then the “character clause” should either be modified or removed. Even if the clause hasn’t historically been given much attention in HoF voting (except in certain cases), this doesn’t negate the fact that the clause still exists and can and should be used to give select players like Dale Murphy the boost they need for induction. Importantly, Murphy’s induction would not in any way lead to the oft-cited “slippery slope” of inducting “very good” but not “great” players: as yet there are very few (if any) eligible players with both inordinately high levels of integrity *and* strong career statistics that would alone put them above the threshold for serious HoF consideration.

Dale Murphy is a special case, and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Repoz Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:35 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, rockies

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   1. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:13 AM (#4319850)
Dale was my childhood hero but he's not a HOFer in my book. But once you let it in Rice and Dawson, Murph's phone should be ringing. I'm calling BS on Dale's -7.6 dWAR on B-Ref. He was a fine, rangy fielder with a strong arm.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:43 AM (#4319857)
Did Obama declare National Pick on Andre Dawson day? You'd think he'd be a fan. Anyway, one of these is not like the other:

Murphy 42.6 WAR
Rice 44.3 WAR
Dawson 60.6 WAR

Even if you give Murphy and Dawson equal dWAR, Dawson wins by 10. Even on peak, Dawson's best 6 year run was 36, Murphy's 32 although that is a dWAR difference.

EDIT: now if you want to point at Perez and Puckett, be my guest.
   3. BDC Posted: December 08, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4319871)
Comps for Murphy:

Player            Rfield   PA OPS+  SB       Pos
Andruw Jones         236 8664  111 152   
*897D/3
Ichiro Suzuki         96 8723  113 452    
*98/D7
Jose Cruz             81 8931  120 317   
*798/D3
Jimmy Sheckard        77 9118  121 465 
*79/85643
Jim Rice              24 9058  128  58    
*7D/98
Enos Slaughter        21 9086  124  71     
*97/8
Carlos Lee           
-18 8787  113 125     *73/D
Dale Murphy          
-33 9041  121 161    8937/2
Bernie Williams     
-139 9053  125 147    *8D/97 


There are not a whole lot of comparable outfield careers. And there's nothing to make Murphy leap off the list and into the Hall. He wasn't a postseason hero. He won two MVPs, but deserved maybe one of them, maybe not even that. He caught a little early on, but he wasn't a great CF, and he moved naturally off the position as he aged. Jim Rice, as Walt mentions, is actually a very good comp: a short-peak candidate whose career isn't really in the HOF range.
   4. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4319879)
I sincerely thought from the headline this was going to be about Dale and the HOF teaming up to call out the BBWAA and the whole thing seemed pretty weird.
   5. donlock Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4319891)
not to mention that everything he accomplished was done with utmost respect for the game and without performance-enhancing substances of any kind.

And we know this because...?
   6. DA Baracus Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4319898)
Dale Murphy fans are an interesting lot. They are, as you can see, fanatical about him. If you encounter one, just walk away.

His legacy continues to draw unmatched respect and admiration from players, coaches, and fans alike.


Hyperbole much?
   7. Transmission Posted: December 08, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4319909)
What # 6 said. I've no doubt Murphy is a decent human being, though I personally wouldn't want to associate too much with a guy who his sorts of views on drinking and personal modesty. But I think I've finally figured out what bugs me about his fans: they so casually use the word "integrity" to describe him that I feel like it's cheapening the word. It ought to suggest some sort of fortitude and incorruptibility greater than a ballplayer resisting the temptation to juice, or drink, or cheat on his wife. Those are things that, I suspect, the majority of players also succeed at, and, whatever the unusual temptations of being a ballplayer may be, still just aren't a very high threshhold in my book. Congrats to Dale for being a decent man with a good career, congrats to his fans for picking a good guy to cheer on. Leave it at that.
   8. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 08, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4319911)
Joe Posnanski on "age-outs," non-HOFers who hung in for the full 15 years on the ballot.
   9. dejarouehg Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4319939)
It ought to suggest some sort of fortitude and incorruptibility greater than a ballplayer resisting the temptation to juice, or drink, or cheat on his wife. Those are things that, I suspect, the majority of players also succeed at,


No disrespect, but how many professional ballplayers do you know? If the above were a litmus test for the Hall or anything else for that matter, then there ought to be a sign on the door that says, "professional athletes, need not apply."

Even as a big Murphy fan back in the day, there is a certain piousness (maybe not the best adjective) about his following (and hardcore Tebow fans) that is grating.
   10. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4319948)
5. donlock Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4319891)

not to mention that everything he accomplished was done with utmost respect for the game and without performance-enhancing substances of any kind.


And we know this because...?


His son said so!

also 2 Dale Murphy HOF threads?
   11. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4319953)
Even on peak, Dawson's best 6 year run was 36, Murphy's 32 although that is a dWAR difference.

I think that gets at the best case for Murphy: peak + skepticism about his dWAR numbers.

   12. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 08, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4319961)
While were on the subject: does anyone who watched Murphy in 1985 remember him looking particularly bad on D? A -2.2 dWAR season would have to look pretty terrible.
   13. Transmission Posted: December 08, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4319979)
# 9 - None. I'll still stand by my suspicion that the majority don't juice or cheat. I could care less if they drink, and don't get why Murphy's abstemious lifestyle counts as proof of integrity. The word ought to mean something more, at least where HOF voting goes, than avoiding drink, dames, and doping.
   14. Mike A Posted: December 08, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4319980)
I never thought Murphy looked bad in CF. He wasn't extra-fast or extra-graceful, but he could run down most balls with his reach. I mean, I've seen a bad outfielder extensively in Ryan Klesko, and in no way did Murphy in 1985 (or any other year) look Klesko-esque. So, yeah, his dWAR doesn't really pass my 'eye test,' for what it's worth.

I think Murphy falls short of the Hall of Fame, but I'd admittedly still like to see him elected. It does bother me that Kirby Puckett is in while Murphy is not (Why did voters show sympathy for Puckett's glaucoma but not Murphy's knees going out?). Though Puckett is a good example for the elimination of the 'character clause' in HoF voting. And a fair bit of Murphy's case is based on the character clause, as noted in the article.
   15. Bob Tufts Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4320002)
Not a good year for a Mormon to be elected to anything...........
   16. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4320006)
I think that gets at the best case for Murphy: peak + skepticism about his dWAR numbers.

To evaluate the 80s guys correctly, you have to adjust for the fact that, in sports medicine terms, those guys played in the Stone Age.(*) Do Murphy's knees leave him that disabled if they're treated in the 2000s? If not, that has to be considered. Whether or not it gets him to the HOF is another question, but it likely gets him closer.

As Poz said in TFA discussed in another thread, at his best, Murphy was better than Rice.

(*) Bernard King, Billy Sims, and on and on.
   17. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4320013)
I like Murphy as a candidate, but he's pretty far down my list of guys who deserve induction so I'm not going to sweat his being passed by. I'm generally a big Hall guy but Murphy not making it doesn't get me remotely riled the way Raines possibly not making it does, or the lack of support for Trammell and Whitaker does.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: December 08, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4320060)
Is he in the HoM?

On the Rfield numbers ... for 85 and 85 they are pretty extreme but it is reasonably consistent with his actual usage in that the Braves moved him full-time to RF in 87 at the age of 31. That was at least in part to make room for Dion James, a pretty good player that I don't remember at all. Still, as I said, give him 0 Rfield and he only gains 3 WAR. Zero out his dWAR (requiring him to be above-average relative to position) and he gains only 7 WAR.

He had 7 excellent seasons, amassing about 40 WAR, but outside of that he's got almost nothing. Expansion era, through age 31, Murphy's total is 39 which ranks 77th. There are some HoFers nearby (McCovey, B Williams, Winfield, Molitor and, surprisingly, Aaron) but several non-HoFers. Note those are all HoFers who aged pretty damn well. Murphy held on a lot longer but Nomar is another pretty good comp.
   19. Rob_Wood Posted: December 08, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4320065)

Dale Murphy is not in the HOM and has received virtually no support during his eligibility. For example, in 1999 his first year on the HOM ballot, he came in 38th place.
   20. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 08, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4320071)
On the Rfield numbers ... for 85 and 85 they are pretty extreme but it is reasonably consistent with his actual usage in that the Braves moved him full-time to RF in 87 at the age of 31. That was at least in part to make room for Dion James, a pretty good player that I don't remember at all. Still, as I said, give him 0 Rfield and he only gains 3 WAR. Zero out his dWAR (requiring him to be above-average relative to position) and he gains only 7 WAR.


FWIW, the Braves stated that they moved Murphy because they thought that playing CF was wearing him down and hurting his offense, rather than because he couldn't hack the position anymore. In '86 they also ended his ~5 year consecutive games streak for the same reason. James and Albert Hall split time as the CF because they were the players that the Braves had on hand, not because they were good enough to rive Murphy off of the position. James was moved to LF more or less permanently in '88; he was a marginal CF and looked worse out there than Murphy had, and doesn't fare well in the modern metrics either. (James had blown up his shoulder somewhat earlier and couldn't throw, and wasn't nearly rangy enough to be a Juan Pierre all-run, no-throw CF). All that said, Murphy's knees would have forced him off of the position very soon anyway, so it's not like he lost a ton of value because of the move to RF.

Murphy was one of my favorite players during the era, and easily my favorite among the good players. When he was at his peak he was considered a future HoF guy by just about everyone, and I think that a lot of people remember that talk and want to put him in. The latter part of his career didn't work out like one might have hoped, but he was a good player and was universally liked. Not a Hall of Famer, but the sort of guy who deserves to hang on the ballot for 15 years and have some nice articles written about him each time he comes up again.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: December 08, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4320106)
playing CF was wearing him down and hurting his offense

Well, I generally take this as code for "he can't quite hack it there anymore." Besides, if it's wearing him down and hurting his offense, surely being worn down hurts your defense too.

In saying he was moved at least in part for James I didn't mean he was being run off the position, I just meant James was a pretty good ballplayer that the Braves had just traded for (Brad Komminsk!) who they wanted to get into the lineup and (maybe) CF was the best spot to put him in under the circumstances. That is, I was trying to say there was a good chance that Murphy wasn't moved to RF purely for defense/age reasons but (at least in part) to get another bat into the lineup.
   22. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 08, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4320111)
Zero out his dWAR (requiring him to be above-average relative to position) and he gains only 7 WAR.


Wouldn't 0 dWAR be exactly league average relative to position? I thought it still had rPos in there. Maybe I need to reread "WAR explained"...
   23. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 08, 2012 at 09:00 PM (#4320119)
Oh wait, you'e right, his rPos is slightly negative, so he'd have to be a smidge above average to get to 0 dWAR. If he were defensively average from 1980-87 he'd gain about a win and a half.

(*This was meant to be an edit to the previous post but I guess I timed out...)

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