Murphy preaches a powerful sermon Former Braves slugger now bats for the Mormons

Bobby Ross Jr. Published: April 26, 2001
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Of course, that's a piddly amount compared to shortstop Alex Rodriguez's record-breaking $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers. But Murphy doesn't begrudge Rodriguez. As a kid growing up in South Florida, Rodriguez worshipped Murphy, the best player on his favorite team.

"Alex Rodriguez, I think, is just a tremendous player," Murphy said after his 40-minute speech to the missionaries. "There was an open bidding market for his talents.... So really, the market determines someone's value."

In his final season, 1993, Murphy batted .143 with no home runs and seven RBIs for the Colorado Rockies.

He retired just two home runs short of 400.

When he left, it was time to go, he said.

Still, he can't help but think about "all the hanging sliders I missed," he said, jokingly. "I mean, I had plenty of chances over the... years to hit two home runs."

In 2001 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, Murphy fell way shy of the 75 percent support needed for election. He received votes from 93 of the 515 writers (18 percent) who cast ballots.

He's realistic about his future chances.

"It's very hard to get into the Hall of Fame, which it should be. And if I get in someday, I'll be very grateful. But I know where I stand. I mean, if I had 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, I would be in," said Murphy, a career .265 batter who finished with 2,111 hits.

But Murphy, who became a Mormon at age 19 in his second year in the minor leagues, said he doesn't worry about earthly matters such as the Hall of Fame.

"Baseball and sports and those things are a lot of fun. But it really doesn't provide any lasting happiness," said Murphy, whose oldest son, Chad, 20, is in his second year of missionary service in Japan.

"Faith, family and friends - those are the things in life that really matter."

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