Which of the most popular players in the Braves’ franchise history was recognized as the Most Valuable Player of the National League in
Dale Murphy won the Most Valuable Player Award in both the 1982 and 1983 seasons. He is the youngest player in history to win back-to-back awards. In 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985 Murphy played in all 162 scheduled games.
In 1982, he slugged thirty-six home runs, drove in 109 runners, scored 113 times, batted for a .281 average, and led the Braves to their first postseason appearance since 1969.
The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award is given annually to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the character and integrity of Lou Gehrig, both on the field and off. Murphy received the award in 1985. He played in all 162 games that year and accomplished the uncommon feat of playing in every game during the ’83, ’84, and ’85 seasons.
The slick-fielding center fielder earned the Gold Glove Award for five consecutive years, 1982 to 1986.
The Braves leader improved his numbers in his second straight MVP year. “Mr. Brave,” as he was known to fans, hit thirty-six homers, raised his batting average to .302, scored 131 runs, had 121 RBI, and was chosen for the third of his seven All-Star selections. “Murph” was on the cover of Sports Illustrated on three occasions.
Number three won the Silver Slugger Award for an outfielder in the four years from 1982-1985. The Braves slugger walked five times in a single game in 1983 and 1987.
Murphy finished his career with a .265 batting average, accumulating 398 home runs and 1,266 RBI.
Dale Murphy was one of the most popular players ever to wear a Braves uniform. The fans’ adoration was earned on the playing field and off by his contributions in the public sector.
His proudest achievement was the Roberto Clemente Award he received in 1988, given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team,” voted by the baseball fans and members of the media.
“I am honored to receive an award of this kind,” he said. “That it is in the name of Roberto Clemente means a great deal to me.”
Murphy joined fellow Braves Phil Niekro and John Smoltz in being honored with the prestigious award. Murphy, a four-time nominee for this highly respected honor, was actively involved in the Cystic Fibrosis Society, served as a member of the national board of the Huntington’s Disease Society, and has been a spokesman for the Georgia March of Dimes, the American Heart Association, the Georgia PTA, and the Arthritis Foundation.
Here are a few of the comments by his peers, manager, and sportswriters: “Dale Murphy is the perfect player, son, father, husband,” Joe Torre said. “If I could designate a league full of athletes, I’d make it full of Dale Murphys.” Famed columnist Furman Bisher wrote, “There aren’t enough good words to describe him.”
Hall of Fame pitcher and long-time sportscaster for the Braves Don Sutton commented on his popularity. “Dale may be the only guy I know who can call twenty-four guys in one locker room a good friend.”
Thirty years after his 1990 trade to Philadelphia, Murphy spoke of his love for the Atlanta franchise with columnist Tim Tucker. “We’ll always be Braves,” Murphy said. “All of our eight kids were born in Atlanta. We’re always thankful for that association and what I was able to accomplish there because of the Braves and (former general manager) Bill Lucas and because of Bobby (Cox) getting me to the outfield.”
In 2020, Murphy was up for consideration with the Veterans Committee for Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown but failed to receive seventy-five percent of the vote to be inducted. Roger Maris and Murphy are the only players to win consecutive MVPs and not gain Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Dale Murphy is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2000 in the class with Ted Turner. Dale Murphy represented baseball with as high a level of integrity as anyone that has played the game and deserves a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.