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True Meta'Murph'asis

To me, the name Murphy represents quality, whether we're talking about Johnny, Bob, Brown, or Tim (the best playground baseball player I knew as a kid).

I have always felt a special association with Dale Murphy, and have been a supporter for his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Maybe someday I'll be able to say something similarly kind about Daniel Murphy.

The first baseball regular season for which I have strong memories is 1982 (I recollect the 1981 World Series a little bit) and the first superstar with whom I became familiar was Braves outfielder Dale Murphy.

Dale Murphy was the type of player who scared the bejesus out of you- part Ryan Howard, part Pat Burrell, part Chase Utley, part Jimmy Rollins. His stats seem rather pedestrian in an era in which greater offensive numbers are easier to come by (thanks to joke ballparks like Minute Maid and Citizens Bank).

It's funny, I was listening to a game from 1984 in which Bob Murphy marveled at Ryne Sandberg's approaching 80 RBI as September neared. That used to be a big deal. So was Dale Murphy. Dale Murphy's numbers, over a four-year stretch, were the most impressive in the NL

1982- .281 BA, 36 HR, 109 RBI (MVP)
1983- .302 BA, 36 HR, 121 RBI (MVP)
1984- .290 BA, 36 HR, 100 RBI
1985- .300 BA, 37 HR, 111 RBI

In 1982 and 1983, Murphy hit .325 with 7 HR in 24 games against the Mets, but when you're 7 or 8 years old, .325 feels like .625 (still does, actually). I didn't watch TBS a lot, but I saw enough games beyond those against the Mets to know that the guy was a heck of a player.

One of the signs that the Mets turned the corner in 1984 and 1985 was that they were able to get Murphy out, with regularity. He had 95 at-bats against the Mets, didn't crack .200, and only managed one home run.

He was still a threat at the plate every time up though, even in 1986 when he pinch-hit against Dwight Gooden, with what I believe was a broken bone somewhere (hand, wrist, finger?), to keep his consecutive games streak alive (Murphy regularly played 162). In that turn, he hit a long home run.

I think we've got a player on our hands with that kind of determination, and his name happens to be Murphy too. Forget the comparison statistically, because there is none (our Murphy is more likely to do a .310, 13, 83, circa Keith Hernandez, 1986). But remember the comparison as far as good hitter's go. This Murph's a smart one.

Jason at Faith and Fear wrote a nice post noting the slump that Murph had been in, and I think you could argue that he should have been yanked from Wednesday's game when Scott Eyre made his entrance. But Jerry Manuel, for some reason kept him in the game, and when the time came to face Brad Lidge, Murphy came through with the game-winning hit.

From 1982 to 1985, Dale Murphy had 20 go-ahead hits that came in the seventh inning or later. Daniel Murphy just got the first of what will hopefully be many. In just a short time, he's shown himself to have some pretty good qualities.

True Metphys know... Dale Murphy beat the Mets via walk-off RBI 3 times. He had a walk-off walk against them in 1982, a walk-off home run against them in 1988, and a walk-off fielders choice (as a member of the Phillies) against them in 1991.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Dale was a monster in the early '80s. My father used to point to him as the player I should think about when I was playing ball.

That pinch HR off Dwight in '86 - I believe that was off a curve ball. I seem to remember the announcers (Kiner/McCarver) questioning why Gooden threw a curve ball to a guy with a broken wrist. Should have gone with the heat Doc.

Also, wasn't Dale the one who slammed into the CF wall at Shea, I think in '86 or '87, damaging (breaking) the bottom of the fence? You can still see that damage today.

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