Logic indicates that Dale Murphy will likely never be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But he still has many staunch supporters who believe he deserves to be enshrined with the game's other greats in Cooperstown.
"Dale produced great numbers and he won two MVP [Most Valuable Player] Awards," former Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He went from catcher to first base to left field to center field and became a Gold Glove winner. Also, you can't forget his charitable work. He's first class and that has to count for something."
There may have been a short period during the '80s when Murphy seemed to be a cinch for future Hall of Fame induction. But since being placed on the ballot in 1999, he's never received more than 24 percent of the votes.
This year marks the 14th time that Murphy's name has appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot. If not elected after 15 years, players are removed from the ballot.
Murphy was included on 12.6 percent of the ballots cast this past year. This was nine-tenths higher than the percentage he drew the previous year. Players need to receive at least five percent of the votes to remain on the ballot the following year.
A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from Baseball Writers' Association of America members to gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Second baseman Roberto Alomar (90 percent) and pitcher Bert Blyleven (79.7 percent) earned their ticket to Cooperstown on the 2011 ballot. Former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin (62.1 percent) and starting pitcher Jack Morris (53.5 percent) are the top returning vote-getters from last year's ballot. Results of the 2012 election will be announced on Monday, Jan. 9.
Braves president John Schuerholz recently campaigned for Murphy by sending a letter to Hall of Fame voters and other members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
"The Atlanta Braves organization is extremely proud of Dale's outstanding accomplishments during an extraordinary 18-year Major League career, 15 of which were spent with the Braves," Schuerholz said in the letter.
"Not only on the field, but off the field as well, Dale represented himself and the city of Atlanta with the class and professionalism consistent with the ideals of Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown," Schuerholz wrote. "Even today, he continues to be one of our game's greatest ambassadors."
Murphy won back-to-back National League MVP Awards in 1982 and '83 and stood as just one of six players during the 1980s to record 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season (1983). He won five Gold Glove Awards, four Silver Slugger Awards and earned seven All-Star selections.
Murphy's supporters have continued to point out that he led all Major League outfielders during the 1980s in home runs (308) and RBIs (929). He ranked second among outfielders during this span in hits (1,553) and extra-base hits (596).
Murphy compiled more total bases than anybody during the '80s. Over that 10-year span, Mike Schmidt was the only player with more homers and Eddie Murray was the only players with more RBIs. Schmidt and Murray have both been enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Murphy's candidacy has seemingly been hindered by his .265 lifetime batting average, which was damaged during some unproductive years late in his career. He hit .289 from 1982-87, but batted just .238 from 1988 until the end of his career in 1993.
After playing for the Braves from 1976-90, Murphy concluded his career by playing with the Phillies (1990-92) and the Rockies (1993).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.