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Gay: Murphy denied Hall of Fame, but he’s still worthy

Posted: December 12, 2017 - 3:48pm  |  Updated: December 12, 2017 - 5:03pm

I received a text early Sunday evening from my friend, Kevin Faigle. He sent just two words, but I knew what he meant.

Dale Murphy didn't get voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Denied again. I hope the voters who didn't select "The Murph" on their ballots get flaming bags of dog poo delivered to their doorsteps every day from now until the end of the year. Bah humbug!

If you're unfamiliar with what happened, here goes:

The Modern Era Committee, comprised of 16 men (Hall of Famers, executives and media members), voted Sunday to elect new members into the hall. Ten former players, managers, umpires and executives, who contributed to the game mainly from 1970 to 1987, were on the ballot. To get selected for the Hall of Fame, a nominee had to receive 12 or more votes.

If you've kept up with the news, you know former Detroit Tigers teammates Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were selected. Good for them. I've thought for awhile Morris deserved to get in. Trammell was more of a surprise.

I'm not opposed to Trammell's selection. I just think Murphy is more deserving. Let's compare the two.

Trammell was a solid shortstop for the Tigers, his shining moment coming in the 1984 World Series.

In five games, he hit .450 with two homers and six RBI. He was named World Series MVP. Murphy, on the other hand, had the misfortune of playing on mostly bad Braves teams that never came close to playing for a World Series championship.

Trammell was a six-time All-Star, who won four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards. He led the league in sacrifice hits twice. He did not win an MVP award.

Murphy carried Atlanta on his back during the 1980s, with little support in the lineup Still, he was a seven-time All-Star who won five Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards. He led the league in a multitude of categories in the 1980s, from homers (1984, 1985) to RBI (1982, 1983) to walks (1985) to slugging percentage (1983, 1984) to runs (1985) to intentional walks (1987) to plate appearances (1985). More importantly - and this should carry more weight than it does - he won not one MVP award, but two.

Murphy was the greatest outfielder of the 1980s. He recorded more home runs and RBI during that decade than any outfielder. Only two players hit 300 or more home runs in the 1980s: third baseman Mike Schmidt (313) and Murphy (308). Both of them recorded 929 RBI in the 1980s, while only one other player (first baseman Eddie Murray) had more.

So why is Murphy getting such little respect? Is it because voters are focusing too much on him being a nice guy? If so, when did that become a bad thing? Would it have been better had he taken steroids to extend his career for another five years and hit another 100, 150 homers?

Why wouldn't voters want the greatest outfielder of the 1980s in the Hall of Fame? Sure, Murphy didn't have a long, successful career. Neither did Sandy Koufax, who was dominant just five of his 12 years.

Trammell was a great player, but he wasn't dominant. He never led the league in any major categories during any season. He didn't post a career batting average higher than .300 (He finished at .285). He never won an MVP award. I don't begrudge him for getting elected, but if Trammell got the nod then why not Murphy?

Voters have a chance of fixing this mistake in two years when the Modern Baseball Era Committee reconvenes. Maybe Murphy needs an organization like the Atlanta Sports Council to push for him to get into the hall the way the Augusta Sports Council supported Ray Guy and his efforts to get elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Someone needs to take The Murph's cause. I'm all in, and I hope you are, too. Continue making the case for one of Atlanta's finest - aka The Greatest Outfielder of the 1980s - on social media. Stay optimistic. Keep the faith. And whatever you do, don't give up the fight.

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SPEAKING OF HALLS OF FAME: There are two people I want to see elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. But here's the problem: There's not a category for one, while the other doesn't meet a requirement.

Let's start with Erk Russell. If you know anything about football in the Peach State, you know Erk was a legend at Georgia and Georgia Southern. As defensive coordinator with the Bulldogs, he helped guide Georgia to a national championship in 1980. Then, he went to Statesboro, Ga., and resurrected the Georgia Southern program. Then, he put the Eagles in the spotlight, winning national titles in 1985, ‘86 and ‘89. He retired after eight seasons with an 83-22-1 record.

According to the College Football Hall of Fame rules, a coach becomes eligible after coaching for 10 years. There should be a special case made for Erk, who was a successful coach for two program. He put Georgia Southern on the map, making it a destination for college students - not just football players. For many reasons, Erk Russell deserves a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

The second person I want inducted is former Georgia play-by-play announcer Larry Munson. Unless I've missed something, I didn't see a media wing when I visited the college hall a few years ago - and I don't see anything about media members on the College Football Hall of Fame web site. That's a major oversight that needs to be corrected sooner than later.

Without the media, college football wouldn't be where it is today. In the 1920s, famed writer Grantland Rice nicknamed the Notre Dame backfield the "Four Horsemen," a moniker that remains popular today. There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of fantastic writers, photographers and announcers who have covered college football through the decades, recording a ton of history.

Munson is one of them, his calls delighting Georgia fans for decades. You can go on YouTube and still hear some of his famous moments. There are other radio announcers throughout the country who should also be in the hall, but Munson is one who is dear to many hearts in our area.

My Christmas wish is we get all three guys with Georgia ties in the respective Baseball and College Football halls of fame: Murphy, Munson and Russell. It might take a little time, a little perseverance, but we can wait.

 

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