A devoted family man, he doesn't drink, smoke or cuss. And experts say he plays the game better than anyone From November 1983 Edition of "Inside Sports Magazine," By Tim Tucker... You Want to Believe It - You want desperately to believe Dale Murphy is for real. Especially now, in these disillusioning times when a former Heisman Trophy winner becomes a counterfeiter and two congressmen have sex with their pages, you want to believe there can exist a marvelous athletic who just happens to be an even finer human being - a public figure you can place on an unrealistic pedestal and know he will never knock himself off. You want and old-fashioned American hero, and you want to believe one exists. But it is hard. It is hard to believe that Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves can be as good as everyone says he is, absolutely above a bad thought or deed. Dale Murphy is a devout Mormon who gives 12% of his huge income to the church. He does not drink, smoke, or cuss, and heck, he doesn't even know what cocaine is. He considers himself nothing special: "Aw, gee, I sure don't feel like a most valuable player or anything like that."
He has never declined a request for an interview or an autograph. He must lead the league in leaving tickets for friends and relatives. He is a family man, above all. He is aware that he is a role model, that children are watching, and he strives to set a good example. It concerns him that, two or three times a year, he might show disappointment by throwing a bat or helmet. He feels the most important roles of his life are those of husband, father, and church member. And he is sincere.
"With Murphy," says Joe Torre, the Braves 1983 manager, "What you see is what you get." Honest eyes, Straight teeth. A boyish face. At 27 and father of three, Dale Murphy is the National League's reigning Most Valuable Player, and everyone, it seems, wants some of his time. He insists it does not bother him. "The fans pay our salaries," he says, 'and the press has a job to do. I try to be as helpful as possible." Murphy met his wife Nancy at Brigham Young University after the 1978 season. In their fewer than four years of marriage, Dale and Nancy had three sons, Chad, Travis and Shawn. "Dale and I don't think of ourselves as celebrities," said Nancy. "We're just normal people." On the baseball field, Murphy is far from normal. Last year - 1983 - he was named the most valuable player in the National League. The last two years, he has been named to the NL starting All-Star outfield. Unquestionably, he is one of the half-dozen or so best players in the game today. And in this era of the DH and other specialists, he is a rarity - the complete player. He can run, throw, field, and hit, all with accomplishment. Around the league, there is constant conversation about Murphy and his standing among his colleagues. The consensus: Murphy and Montreal center fielder Andre Dawson are the two best players in the league. Murphy, typically, says, "I don't think I belong in Andre Dawson's class."
But listen to what others have to say about Dale Murphy, the player: Hank Aaron, the home run king said, "He is the most valuable commodity in baseball right now. If I were starting a team and could pick any active player in baseball to build around, I'd pick Murphy." Danny Ozark, first base coach for the San Francisco Giants: "If you put Murphy and Andre Dawson in the same outfield, you wouldn't need a third outfielder." Hall of Fame shortstop Luke Appling, Chicago White Sox said, "He could hit 70 home runs in one year. Seventy!" Andre Dawson - "I think, frankly, he is the best player in the game today." Note: In 1984, Dale Murphy was again voted the NL Most Valuable Player, becoming the youngest player ever to win two consecutive MVP Awards. Baseballhistorian.com