BBA HoF Ballot Discussion: Dale Murphy

by on December 31, 2009 · 7 comments

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Dale Murphy

Nick: Dale Murphy won back to back MVP awards. Several Gold Gloves under his belt, at a premium position. No big milestones in the counting stats, and good – not great – percentage numbers.

Ellis Burks outranks Murphy in career WAR and we eliminated Burks before the talkin’ started.

Jim Edmonds outpaces Murphy in almost all aspects, save the MVP trophies.

Is Edmonds a Hall of Famer? If not, Murphy definitely is not.

Help me figure this one out Josh!

Josh: The only thing I can say in defense of Murphy is that he gets talked about as one of the stars of the 80’s. You are correct, that is not enough to get into the HOF. It is, however, a ticket to the Hall of Very Good with Morris!

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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Gary Anderson January 2, 2010

I think that there are stats that should be taken into consideration. The only back to back MVP not in the Hall of Fame (along with Roger Maris). Five time Gold Glove at a position that was not his original (he began as catcher), and in the entire decade of the 80’s he was 2nd in home runs to Mike Schmidt. out of EVERYONE.

Plus he equals or surpasses the following Hall of Famers, in the categories that most people use to dismiss him (home runs, average): Cal Ripkin Jr., Ozzie Smith and Ryne Sandberg.

Whether or not you think they should be in, it doesn’t matter. They ARE in, and Murphy should be judged by the same standard.

I wrote more about that here:

PH8 January 2, 2010

Thanks for participating in the discussion, Gary.

Unfortunately, after reviewing further, Murphy’s chances have gotten even worse, in my eyes.

He won his “Gold Gloves” because he hit home runs. According to current fielding metrics, his center field defense COST his teams 40.4 runs over his career.

He was second in home runs during the eighties, but also first in strikeouts – by over 200.

I have another metric to compare Ripken, Smith, and Sandberg.

Career wins above replacement (all-time rank):
Cal Ripken – 89.8 (26th)
Ozzie Smith – 64.7 (82nd)
Ryne Sandberg – 61.8 (95th)
Dale Murphy – 44.4 (227th)

Judging by that standard, there’s no reason to elect Murphy over the others you mentioned.

Gary Anderson January 2, 2010

I’m not quite understanding a few of your points. You said he won Gold Glove awards due to his offense? That doesn’t make sense to me because Gold Gloves are given out for DEFENSE.

And seeing as how he won five gold gloves, I’m not sure how his defense cost his team all those runs. Are you including the errors that he committed while playing as a catcher or 1st base before being moved to center field? The majority of his career errors were committed before moving to center field, where he racked up his Gold Gloves.

I’m open to the fact that there could be something I’m missing here.

Also you said “According to current fielding metrics, his center field defense COST his teams 40.4 runs over his career.”

I don’t know if using CURRENT fielding metrics accurately reflects PAST statistics. Like how some people discriminate against hitters in the 80’s because their homerun stats aren’t in the same league as those hitters in the 90’s and 00’s.

They MAY accurately reflect, I just wasn’t sure if it did or not.


PH8 January 2, 2010

Sorry for not being more clear – my comments meant to convey that in my opinion, the Gold Glove is a bit of a flimsy award (and I admit even I didn’t go through the defensive stats as I should’ve before referencing his GG Awards in the original post).

The Gold Gloves tend to be awarded to offensive stars at each position, rather than the actual best defender. Sometimes even to a player who didn’t even play the position! To wit, Rafael Palmeiro’s Gold Glove at first base in 1999, despite playing only 28 games at the position that season. (Ironically, he also won the Silver Slugger at DH that season.)

I’ve written about this regarding the NL catcher award before – not until he had an elite hitting season did Yadier Molina win a Gold Glove.

Here is a link to Murphy’s career fielding statistics:

Please note that the fielding runs calculations take into account balls that an “average” center fielder would get to and catch that Murphy may have not. It’s not all about errors and throwing – it’s also about range, and weighting the position played (so Murphy actually gets a bonus for playing center field, and still came out on the minus side.)

To answer your post below, the positions are separated out at the link above re: Murphy’s defense/fielding.

Gary Anderson January 2, 2010

Also I don’t know if there’s any stats out there that show how many of Murphy’s errors at center field directly led to runs scored. I’m sure many of those errors could have resulted in players getting on base, but then were stranded due to double plays, or even plays made by Murphy by throwing out someone at the plate.

I’m not blindly following Murphy though, I realize that there’s a lot of stuff against him (namely the low batting average, the 398 home runs and the strikeouts).

Scott January 17, 2010

My simple case for Murphy getting into the Hall if Koufax

Koufax got into the hall on 6 years when he averaged 21 wins and a 2.19 ERA and a 156 ERA+ in 6 years Murphy had averaged 36 HRs per season, with a .289 avg and a .913 OPS with a 145 OPS+.

In the years leading up to their peaks, Going with their per 162 game numbers, Koufax averaged 9 wins, 4.10 ERA 100 ERA+, Murph averaged 27 homers, .260 avg, .769 OPS 107 OPS+

So basically for Murphy to make the hall, he just had to get a fluke injury to end his career at the very beginning of the 1988 season? Doesn’t seem fair to me.

PH8 January 18, 2010

You make a compelling argument Scott, and the only reply I can offer is that we know Murphy declined after age 31 or so.

Koufax was cut short following his age 30 season at a time when he was absolutely, incomparably dominant. His best four seasons easily trump Murphy’s. Voters had to project what Koufax could’ve done with another four or five seasons.

All of that said, Koufax outpaces Murphy in career WAR with 54.5 in his injury-shortened 11 year career versus Murphy’s 44.4 over 17 seasons. That alone is pretty danged impressive.

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