In 1974, 18-year-old Dale Murphy made his professional baseball debut as a member of the Kingsport Braves. The future Atlanta baseball legend often felt overwhelmed during his 54-game stint in the Appalachian League, but he still looks back on that time fondly.
"Honestly, I was just a little homesick," said Murphy. "I was just trying to get through it because it's a big adjustment, trying to go from high school to professional baseball."
On July 21, after a 44-year absence, Murphy made his return to the Appalachian League as a special guest of the Bristol Pirates. It was Dale Murphy Night at the team's home of Boyce Cox Field, during which he signed autographs, posed for pictures and threw out two first pitches (his initial attempt bounced, so he called for a re-do).
It was all part of a memorable day for Murphy, which also included a stop at his old Kingsport stomping grounds.
Murphy also took the time to speak with MiLB.com's Ben Hill, who was visiting Bristol as part of his recent ballpark road trip through the Southeast. In the below interview, Murphy expounds on the state of Minor League Baseball, his abiding life philosophy and what it's like to be immortalized by rock 'n roll royalty.
Video: Murphy makes his return to the Appy League