The Stockton Ports are excited to welcome 2-time NL MVP and former Mission President Dale Murphy to Banner Island Ballpark on Friday, July 16 for their 2nd Annual LDS Family Night.
The Ports had the chance to spend a few minutes with Dale Murphy and ask him a few questions about his carer and life. Check it out!
Ports: You had a tremendous career, including seven All-Star appearances, 5 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Slugger awards and two NL MVP awards. When you look back on your career, what stands out most to you?
Dale Murphy: 1982 and 1983 are the years that I will remember the most. In '82, we got to the playoffs, and in '83 we finished 2nd in the Western Division. Those were my 2 best years personally, and as a team, those were the years that we got closest to going to the World Series. 1982 was memorable because of the way we started. We were picked to finish in the middle of the pack somewhere, and we started off the season by winning the first 13 games of the season. For 2 weeks we didn't think we would lose a game, and it really helped our confidence, and carried us for the rest of the season.
Ports: What helped you be so successful in your baseball career?
Dale Murphy: The key to success in anything is consistent hard work and being around people that are fun to work with and associate with. As I look back, I'm thankful that I was with the Atlanta Braves organization. They gave me some extra chances when things weren't going that well for me. And eventually Bobby Cox found a position for me, in the outfield, and it all worked out.
Ports: You spent more than 14 seasons with the Atlanta Braves. What did it mean to you when the Braves retired your number? Do you often get back to Atlanta for games?
Dale Murphy: I get back to Atlanta a few times a year. I also go to spring training every year for a couple of weeks. I really enjoy that. It was a tremendous honor to have my number retired. I never thought anything like that would ever happen when I started playing ball. I look forward to this August when the Braves retire Tom Glavine's number. A great guy and a great pitcher.
Ports: What were your thoughts when you heard about Bobby Cox's decision to retire following this season? What was your experience like with him?
Dale Murphy: All of baseball will miss Bobby Cox. He helped many of us get to the major leagues. He gave me a few chances because he believed in me and changed my position until I found a home in the outfield. He loves his players, never talks bad about them, never changes through the ups and downs of the season and is really motivating to play for. Because he is loyal to his players, respects them, is honest with them, it motivates players to play well for him. The players respect him as well..
Ports: Which athletes or coaches were your mentors or role models?
Dale Murphy: Many people helped me throughout my career. My parents, Charles and Betty, were always there for me and shuttled me back and forth to many practices and games. Jack Dunn, my high school coach at Wilson High school, in Portland, OR taught me how to play the game, and I took all of that with me to professional baseball. Many coaches and teammates through the years helped me along the way.
Ports: As you know, July 16 is our LDS Family Night, which celebrates Pioneer Day. How were you introduced to the LDS faith, and how did it shape your career?
Dale Murphy: I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1975. I was playing minor league baseball in Greenwood, SC. A teammate of mine, Barry Bonnell, shared with me his feelings of what the gospel meant to him and his family. As I learned more, met with the missionaries, and read and pondered the message of the Book of Mormon, my testimony and feelings in regards to the teachings of the church grew stronger and stronger. I decided that it was something that I wanted to be a part of, so I asked Barry to baptize me in August of 1975. My faith and the teachings of the church have been a blessing in so many ways to me and my family. The Savior teaches us to respect others, that family comes first, and that the most important things in our lives don't happen on the ball field or in the work that we do. Our most important work happens within our families. Our relationships with our spouses and children are eternal. It helped me throughout my career to keep that perspective and not get to wrapped up in the adulation and popularity of being a professional baseball player.
Ports: How did you balance your faith and your career?
Dale Murphy: In whatever line of work one chooses, there will be times when decisions will be made between those things that matter most in your life and those things that you think matter most. Professional baseball is no different. If your career is most important to you, then your family will be affected. I believe that if your family comes first, a way will be made for you to be successful in your career and to take care of those most important family responsibilities.
Ports: You served as the president of the Massachusetts Boston Mission of the LDS Church from 1997 to 2000. What was that experience like? How did it compare to your experiences as bishop of the Alpine Second Ward? What leadership roles do you hold today in the LDS Church?
Dale Murphy: Our experience presiding over the Boston Mission and all of the missionaries that served with us was a great. My appreciation for the missionaries throughout the world grew tremendously. They work so hard and have such great faith, that we will never forget their examples to us. It is a challenging thing to do...to put your life at home on hold, and go somewhere in the world and serve the Lord and teach the message of the restoration of the gospel. But it is a growing time, and something that will change your life forever. Whatever position you serve in the church the Lord just asks you to do your best, serve others, and try and move the work along. That's what I've always tried to do in any calling that I have had. Currently, Nancy and I are serving as Young Single Adult representatives in our ward here in Alpine.
Ports: You wrote several books, including "The Scouting Report on Professional Athletics" and "The Scouting Report for Youth Athletics," which describe the life of a major leaguer and discuss tips for having a successful career. What response have you received from readers? How important is it to you to impart your experience and advice to aspiring athletes?
Dale Murphy: Many athletes lose their way during their careers. So I felt that this book would help them get through their careers with their family intact, and some money in the bank. The book has been well received and I hope that it will help others in the future. I think all of us have had some kind of experiences that would help others in their lives. It's important that we share them when we can. I have been helped throughout my life, on and off the field, by listening to and learning from the experiences of others.
Ports: How are things going with your iWontCheat Foundation? What new initiatives are you planning to help promote clean living for young athletes?
Dale Murphy: The 'I Won't Cheat Foundation' continues to grow and develop. Hopefully we can be another voice in a child's life telling them that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. And that there is a temptation sometimes to bend the rules, to take shortcuts, or to cheat your way for temporary success. There is a voice inside of all of us that we can listen to, to help us make good decisions. Cheating your way to success is always the wrong decision. It may affect your health, like steroids, and you will lose self-respect and the respect of others. After it's all 'said and done' you want to be able to look back on your life and say..."I may have not hit the most home-runs, or made the most all-star teams, or got A's on all my tests, but what I accomplished I did the right way." You can go to our web-site, iwontcheat.com and see what we have been doing lately.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.