I won’t cheat!, but outside of Roy White vs. Jim Rice…J.D. Drew vs. Dale Murphy is where it’s at!
Perception is a funny thing.
Dale Murphy was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player Award winner. He went to seven All-Star Games and won five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Last week, 106 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted for Murphy for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
J.D. Drew finished sixth in the NL MVP voting once, in 2004. He made an American League All-Star team in 2008. When Drew hits the Hall of Fame ballot in 2017, he might receive a couple of votes; he likely won’t garner the five percent needed to stay on the ballot.
According to Baseball Reference, Murphy compiled 42.6 WAR in 18 big league seasons. That’s tied for 358th all time. Murphy’s peak WAR – or his total WAR from his top seven seasons – was 39. His best season came in 1987, when he produced 7.4 WAR.
Drew compiled 42.4 WAR in 14 seasons, tied for 362nd in baseball history. His peak WAR was 30.8, and his best season came in 2004, an 8.1 WAR campaign for Atlanta.
Comparing the two, Murphy’s prime was clearly better than Drew’s; though Drew’s best season outpaced Murphy’s. They produced roughly equal value throughout their careers, but Drew was more consistent. Drew also produced more value on per-year basis, again speaking to his consistency.
Murphy is one of the most beloved players from his generation, credited for playing the game the right way and his likeable personality with fans and the media. It’s the reason why veteran Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Bob Brookover voted for Murphy – and only Murphy – on his 2013 Hall of Fame ballot.
Drew, on the other hand, is one of the most disdained players of his generation. And he’s hated by two different cities – for two different, almost contradictory reasons.