Originally written on Hall of Very Good  |  Last updated 11/16/14
I remember clearly there was talk of 1999 being the greatest Induction class since initial Hall of Fame votes back in the late 1930’s: George Brett, Robin Yount, Nolan Ryan, Carlton Fisk and Dale Murphy.  The writers, though, made Fisk wait another year, and passed on Murphy for 15. Murphy's career did not have the length preferred by the Hall voters.  Most inductees solidify their credentials in their late 30's. Murphy offered virtually nothing after his age 31 season. This is not the only way to judge a career, however, and I lean toward the players with a high peak. Murphy had a marvelous run at an exceptionally high level. From 1980 to 1987, Murphy was a truly great player.  During that eight-year run, he averaged a .374/.517 with 292 total bases a season.  In a run-depressed era, he produced an OPS+ of 140 while playing a vital defensive position.  OPS+ takes into account the run scoring environment and is useful in comparing eras.  100 is the league average, and that 140 is a quality number.  Compare that to other great centerfielders from the 80's to the present.  I've put the number of years that puts the player in the best light.  It is clearly better to have more years in that column.   Ken Griffey, Jr. - 152 OPS+, 10 years Jim Edmonds – 141 OPS+, 11 years Dale Murphy – 140 OPS+, 8 years Bernie Williams - 140 OPS+, 9 years Robin Yount (SS/CF) - 135 OPS+, 10 years Kirby Puckett - 132 OPS+, 10 years Andre Dawson (CF/RF) - 129 OPS+, 11 years Carlos Beltran - 126 OPS+, 9 years First, it points out the dearth of offensive talent in centerfield.  We have this image of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays as prototypical centerfield machines, but since the 70's, there have been very few from the position who have had the offensive production to get into the Hall. Murphy's eight year peak - offensively - fits in nicely with the greats of the generation. Defensively, there is conflicting information. Murphy won Gold Gloves, at least illuminating his reputation, but defensive metrics say he hovered between slightly above average to below average.  Far from a lumbering slugger, the metrics point to an effective base runner. In that same eight year period, Murphy averaged 16 stolen bases a year with an excellent extra bases taken percentage of 53%. Digging deeper, he averaged only 11 grounded into double plays a year, despite being a right hander consistently making hard contact to the left side of the infield. The man could hit and run.  Now the downside. Murphy had one of the steepest declines I can recall in the pre-PED era. From 1989 to 1993, he plummeted to .307/.396.  This began with two full seasons of cratering offense in Atlanta, before his well documented struggles in Philadelphia. Few players in history can make the claim of being the best player in their league for a several year period.  Dale Murphy is one of them.  He was top two in OPS four times in five years. Productive and durable, he was top five in total bases a full seven times in an eight-year stretch.  That's a great player.  In an era when the so-called "character clause" is used only as a tool of punishment, Murphy provided an opportunity to invoke it in favor of Hall of Fame induction.  I'm kind of sad it wasn't. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Brian Kenny is an Emmy Award winning MLB Network host.  He appears across MLB Network's studio programming, including “Clubhouse Confidential” and “MLB Now”.  You can follow him on Twitter at @mrbriankenny.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

Report: Nigel Williams-Goss transferring to Gonzaga


Philly store offering Eagles 'jersey insurance'

Chris Paul listed as questionable for Game 1 vs. Rockets

Mayweather beats Pacquiao by unanimous decision

Did Evan Mathis respond to Chip Kelly's slight with barb?

WATCH: American Pharoah wins Kentucky Derby

Report: Rams trade RB Zac Stacy to Jets

Here's why Mayweather-Pacquiao was business as usual

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

WATCH: Tony Allen walks through children performing, gets booed

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods have broken up

WATCH: Two games end with baserunners hit by batted balls

WATCH: Damian Lilliard delivers great graduation speech

Jets do not envision Bryce Petty starting in 2015

Clippers beat Spurs on Chris Paul shot in Game 7

Jimmy Kimmel's Manny Pacquiao T-shirt goes viral

Big fight packs airport, leaves no room for planes

Pete Carroll discusses Russell Wilson's contract status

Jim Harbaugh not happy Lou Holtz is out at ESPN

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

Report: Steph Curry to be NBA MVP

Kelly: Tebow here to compete for job

Tony Allen booed for being rude?

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods break up

Pacquiao fought with injured shoulder?

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Report: Zac Stacy traded to Jets

Hardy apologizes for joke about 9/11

Jerry Jones sends letter to Pacquiao

Mayweather bans Beadle, Nichols

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.