Dale Murphy Interview on 1982 - Part Two

Bill Shanks

Dale Murphy was a tremendous athlete. He was six-foot-four, 210 pounds and was a great outfielder. But there was one thing missing in his game early on in his career.

Speed. Or better yet, utilizing his speed to steal bases.

Murphy had stolen 11 bases in his first full season in 1978. Then the numbers actually went down to six steals in 1979 and then nine in 1980. He finally went back up to 14 stolen bases during the strike-shortened season in 1981.

Then, when Joe Torre became the manager, the emphasis on stolen bases with the entire team changed. Torre wanted the team to be more aggressive on the basepaths.

So, Torre encouraged all the Braves players, including Murphy, to run more, to try and steal bases more. Obviously, he verbally encouraged them to simply be more aggressive, which would lead to additional stolen bases.

Murphy's numbers increased to 23 steals in his MVP season of 1982. Then the next season Murphy reached the 30-steals mark. That made him a 30-30 man with his 36 home runs. 

The stolen bases made Murphy a more complete player, and it should be a solid part of his Hall of Fame resume. Hopefully, more voters on the committee will realize how much of a complete player Murphy was for the Braves in the 1980s.

Murphy talks about how Torre encouraged him to run more starting with the 1982 season.

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