Thursday, April 15, 2010
The Braves are playing the Padres tonight. They are also paying tribute to Jackie Robinson by wearing throwback uniforms that all have the number 42 on them. In fact, all major league teams playing today will wear the number 42 on all of their jerseys. The Braves have chosen to wear uniforms circa 1984. You remember these! The powder blue ones. They all look like giant smurfs! But these uniforms have a very special place in my heart because in 1984 I was 12 years old and loved baseball more than my next breath. I also loved the Braves. Chris Chambless was actually my favorite player on the Braves, but every little boy wanted to be Dale Murphy, and we all had this poster hung on our wall. Power Alley baby!!!!
I think the glow from that bat is actually why I have trouble with my eyesight today. It was the coolest poster and probably my last ball player poster that hung in my room. (The walls later gave way to the girls) The thing about Dale Murphy was that he was such a great person and role model for young people. He played the game hard and was very successful on some very bad Braves teams. Dude could rake! In 1984 he hit 36 home runs and batted .290. Not too bad for someone who I would venture to guess was never in the same room with a steroid. He even won two MVP awards. He was one of the most feared power hitters in the National league who once hit 49 dingers in a single season. He could steal bases and could field his position. He played outfield but was considered the Braves emergency catcher. He was a ball player.
Dale Murphy is not in the Hall of Fame. He should be. His numbers are very similar to Jim Rice who was elected just a couple of years ago. The Murph had a pretty good push going there for a while, but his votes are losing numbers year after year as better players are coming onto the ballet. I would love to see him make it for the simple fact that baseball needs more good guys to be out front and remind fans that not all stars are money hungry selfish steroid users.
So as I sit back and watch the Braves play tonight, I will be reminded of my childhood and all of the memories that these uniforms and Dale Murphy provided to a boy who loved baseball and still does!
Thanks Murph!! I still have the poster!!!