Murphy talks baseball, faith at Denim and Diamonds

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Braves Hall of Famer Dale Murphy talks to a full crowd Saturday evening at the Kirbo Center during the third annual Denim and Diamonds fundraiser. Powell Cobb | Post-Searchlight

Braves Hall of Famer Dale Murphy talks to a full crowd Saturday evening at the Kirbo Center during the third annual Denim and Diamonds fundraiser.
Powell Cobb | Post-Searchlight

Former Atlanta Braves All-Star centerfielder Dale Murphy gave an inspiring keynote address on baseball and character Saturday night at the third annual YMCA Denim and Diamonds fundraising event at the Kirbo Center.

Murphy talked about the importance strong faith, strong morals and high character.

“Your family, your faith and organizations like your YMCA, which promotes faith, character and Christian principles in their many outstanding programs, are vital for youth,” Murphy said. “Your YMCA CEO Kevin Angell does an outstanding job.”

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He talked about some of the most memorable moments of his Braves baseball career. One of those moments came toward the end of his career when he was with the Philadelphia Phillies, who were playing the Braves.

Murphy told the audience that he stated playing baseball when he was 8 years old.

“Baseball is a very challenging game, and you can learn a lot of valuable lessons playing it and other sports,” he said. “You learn sportsmanship, respect for others and many other valuable lessons.”

He recalled that a pitch hit one of the Braves, so Braves ace left-hander Tom Glavine, who was recently inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, was told to retaliate and hit Murphy.

“Tom lobbed the ball in toward me so I could easily get out of the way of it,” Murphy said. “He did not want to hit me.

Murphy said that Barry Bonnell, one of his fellow Braves outfielders and a close friend, now lives in Seattle and they stay in touch.

During his motivational speech at the Kirbo Center, Murphy was asked what his most memorable season as a Brave was.

“My most memorable Braves season was 1982 when, under manager Joe Torre, we went 13-0 at the beginning of the season, won the National League Western Division championship and went on to play the Saint Louis Cardinals in the playoffs. During my career with the Braves I had the honor and privilege of playing under two Hall of Fame managers, Joe Tore and Bobby Cox. They were both extremely supportive of all their players.”

When asked about what he thought about instant replay coming into baseball, he smiled and said he thought replay decisions take too long and you can’t argue with the umpires any more.

Murphy, a native of Portland, Oregon, who now lives in Alpine, Utah, was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Braves Hall of Fame in 2000. He played in seven All-Star games and won five National League Gold Glover Awards. He was named a “Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year” in 1987. He also represented baseball as the athlete who cares the most and was honored as such by President Ronald Reagan at the White House. He received the Lou Gehrig Award, which is given annually to the player who best fits the image and character of the late New York Yankees star on and off the field, and the Roberto Clemente Award, named in memory and honor of the late Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder and given in recognition of his high character and numerous charitable contributions.

YMCA CEO Kevin Angell said Murphy embodies what character, strong faith and fondness for helping young people grow up the right way are all about.

“A testimony to Dale’s character came following his retirement when he was inducted into the Humanitarian Hall of Fame,” Angell said.

Murphy said his son Jake, who played tight end with the University of Utah Utes, is currently in training camp with he Denver Broncos.

Murphy is only the second Brave to have his jersey number 3 retired. The other was Babe Ruth, who wore number 3 when he played for the Boston Braves.

Murphy spent two years with the Phillies and one year with the Colorado Rockies at the end of his career.