ATLANTA -- Bobby Cox, Phil Niekro, Pete Van Wieren and many of the most respected figures in Atlanta Braves history have long said they believe Dale Murphy belongs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
With Murphy scheduled to be on the Hall of Fame ballot just two more times, Braves president John Schuerholz has intensified the efforts to campaign for one of his organization's most beloved figures. Schuerholz has sent a letter to Hall of Fame voters and other members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America asking them to take a closer look at Murphy's credentials.
Murphy won back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player Awards in 1982 and '83 and was just one of six players during the 1980s to record 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season ('83). He won five Gold Glove Awards, four Silver Slugger Awards and earned seven All-Star selections.
Murphy's supporters have continued to point out that he led all Major League outfielders during the 1980s in home runs (308) and RBIs (929). He ranked second among outfielders during this span in hits (1,553) and extra-base hits (596).
But Murphy's candidacy has seemingly been hindered by his .265 lifetime batting average, which was damaged during some unproductive years late in his career. He hit .289 from 1982-87, and batted .238 from '88 until the end of his career in '93.
Murphy was included on 12.6 percent of the ballots cast this past year. This was .9 percent higher than he drew in 2010. Players need to receive at least five percent of the votes to remain on the ballot the following year.
This will be the 14th time that Murphy's name has appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot. If not elected after 15 years, players are removed from the ballot and their candidacy rests in the hands of voting conducted by the Veterans Committee.
Below is Schuerholz's letter:
Dear Hall of Fame Voter:
As you prepare to vote for the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2012, please accept this letter in support of Dale Murphy.
The Atlanta Braves organization is extremely proud of Dale's outstanding accomplishments during an extraordinary 18-year Major League career, 15 of which were spent with the Braves.
Not only on the field, but off the field as well, Dale represented himself and the city of Atlanta with the class and professionalism consistent with the ideals of Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Even today, he continues to be one of our game's greatest ambassadors.
On the following two pages, please review Dale's remarkable accomplishments produced over what the Braves family feels is a Hall of Fame career. On behalf of our organization and Dale individually, I thank you for your consideration.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.