So, once more former Brave Dale Murphy has been snubbed by the Baseball Hall of Fame electorate, to the continuing frustration of his fans.
With each year that passes without him enshrined in something, the more it seems we are in need of an alternative strategy. Because if there is not a Hall of Fame out there that can recognize a Dale Murphy, then clearly the world needs another Hall of Fame.
How about a Hall that recognizes those in athletics who’d rather eat glass than say no to a kid with a pen and a new white baseball, one who knows the exchange rate on a smile is always high, who walks around less entitled than a West Point plebe, the kind of person you’d want to have a beer with – or in Murphy’s case, a Yoo-hoo. All that and still perform at a high level. A Swell Egg Hall of Fame, let’s say.
And in such a Hall, Murphy will be a part of the inaugural class. As an important figure on the one-person membership committee, I can virtually guarantee that.
Now let the others prove that they belong in the same class as the congenitally pleasant former outfielder.
Those joining Murphy in this prestigious collection of sports citizenry would be diverse, engaging mix. Inclusion in any other Hall of Fame would not disqualify a candidate from joining this one, although the standards may be a tad higher for them. Have you seen some of those people they let in?
This would be the kind of company Murphy might keep. Just a couple of examples to lend perspective.
How about player/coach/football analyst Tony Dungy? If decency could ooze, this guy would ooze it. You look at Dungy and you want to confess to some unsolved crime. Next to him, you feel almost larcenous.
In her playing days, the LPGA’s champion Nancy Lopez was so unfailingly approachable that you came to mistake her as a member of your own foursome. She did more to try to advance her game than anyone in the history of birdies and bogeys. And, oh, did we mention she also won 48 Tour events and three majors?
Former Expo and Cub Andre Dawson, a Murphy contemporary, finally did make baseball’s Hall, but not before establishing himself as one of the classiest in cleats that I’ve ever been around. If “The Hawk” ever carried himself in any way less gracefully off the field than on it, that would be a headline.
Elton Brand, for this reason alone. The last time the Philadelphia 76ers were in town to play the Hawks, their general manager Brand, who spent two seasons in Atlanta, sat by himself in the seats throughout the game making small talk with every fan who stopped to shake his hand. On such scenes as that – replayed over a lifetime – is built this Hall of Fame.
Oh, and the veteran’s committee just elected the late Marie Evelyn Moreton, wife of Viscount Byng of Vimy. After her is named the Lady Byng Trophy, given to the player in the NHL who best exhibits sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. Anyone who advances civility in hockey has to be recognized.
Now, the last question, where to build such a Hall?
We’ve narrowed it down to three options: Niceville, Fla.
Happy Valley, Ore. And Good Hope, Ala.
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