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Former Atlanta Braves outfielder Dale Murphy, left, greets other former Braves players for a Braves Legends Game featuring the 1991 Braves against all other Braves alumni, on Aug. 13, 2011 in Atlanta.

Dave Tulis, Associated Press

Family asks Hall of Fame voters to ponder the worth of integrity

  • Article by: TYLER KEPNER
  • New York Times
  • December 25, 2012 - 2:38 AM

 

This is Dale Murphy's 15th and final year on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has never collected more than 23.2 percent of the votes, far short of the 75 percent needed for election. His farewell on the ballot coincides with the arrival of several candidates linked to steroids.

And that's why his family is getting involved.

"We've always kind of felt like, if he would have taken some shortcuts, maybe he would have had a longer peak," said Murphy's oldest son, Chad. "But that was never part of how he wanted to play the game."

When the Baseball Writers' Association of America sends Hall of Fame ballots to voters, each candidate also receives one. This year, Murphy's daughter, Madison, took a picture of the ballot and posted it on Twitter. It was the start of a family project for Murphy; his wife, Nancy, and their eight children.

Chad wrote a letter to BBWAA members. Madison endorsed her father's candidacy with an essay on The Hall of Very Good blog. Son Tyson drew a touching cartoon that has circulated widely online, and another son, Taylor, started a petition at change.org.

Murphy, now a part-time Braves broadcaster, has never been a self-promoter, but he believes he deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.

The ballot lists integrity, sportsmanship and character among the factors for voters to consider. Chad Murphy says that if voters apply the clause to keep some players out, they should also use it to let others in.

"If you look at my dad's record, there's a lot of stuff on there that essentially doesn't count," he said, then listed honors his father received for charity work. "The Lou Gehrig Award, the Roberto Clemente Award, Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year -- those are pretty good measures of someone's character."

Murphy hit .265 with 398 home runs, leading the majors in total bases in the 1980s while finishing second in home runs and RBI.

No matter how it goes with the BBWAA's veterans committee, Murphy, 56, also is trying his luck with a new generation. His foundation, I Won't Cheat, works with schools, camps and youth leagues on character education.

"There's a message to kids," Murphy said. "Whatever you do in life, do it the right way."

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