Dale Bryan Murphy (born March 12, 1956) is a former center fielder for the Atlanta Braves.
Dale Murphy's professional baseball career began in 1976 and ended in 1993. He finished his career with 398 home runs and a .265 batting average. He reached the playoffs only once, in 1982, where the Braves were eliminated in the first round by the St. Louis Cardinals. He is a seven-time All-Star and two-time National League MVP. He has more MVP trophies than Pete Rose and Jackie Robinson. He hit more home runs than Carlton Fisk and Johnny Bench. He won the prestigious Roberto Clemente award and had his jersey number retired by one of the most storied franchises in sports (1994).
For the 2012 season, Murphy was part of the Atlanta Braves TV broadcasting crew.
Dale has always had a squeaky-clean image. He was introduced to the LDS church by a teammate in the minor leagues by the name of Barry Bonnell. The two played for the Spartanburg Phillies (South Carolina). Murphy's habits off the diamond were conspicuous in a league racked by illegal drugs and salary controversies. A devout Latter-day Saint, commonly known as a "Mormon", Murphy did not drink alcohol, would not allow women to be photographed embracing him, and paid his teammates' dinner checks (as long as alcohol was not on the tab).
For several years, the Atlanta Constitution ran a popular weekly column, where Murphy responded to young fans' questions and letters. Murphy's TV commercials usually had him advertising milk, ice cream, and Canon cameras. In a scene reminiscent of The Pride of the Yankees, Murphy once promised a disabled girl in the stands he'd hit a home run for her—and actually knocked out two.
After his baseball career ended, Murphy became more active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From 1997 to 2000, he served as president of the Church's Massachusetts Boston Mission. Murphy was at one point said to be considering a run for Utah governor in 2004, but he failed to generate enough interest within the Republican Party. He and his wife, Nancy, have eight children and live in Alpine, Utah. Their son Jake played in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, and Denver Broncos before retiring.
In 2005, Murphy started a non-profit organization called the iWontCheat foundation to promote ethical behavior and to deter steroid use and cheating in youth athletics. Since 2008, all players from participating teams at the Little League World Series wear “iWon’t Cheat!” patches above their Little League Baseball logos on their sleeves.
In 2008, he was appointed to the National Advisory Board for Operation Kids, a national children’s charity.
He is also a National Advisor to ASCEND: A Humanitarian Alliance.
Murphy is the author of The Scouting Report on Professional Athletics, Murph, and The Scouting Report for Youth Athletics.
Hall of Fame
Despite his career accomplishments, Murphy has become a highly debated candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2019 Murphy will be eligible again for the Hall of Fame through the Eras Committees, composed of journalists, executives, and former players. There's a statistical case to be made for his inclusion in Cooperstown, but to past voters, his numbers have fallen just short.