In the Colorado Rockies’ first year of their franchise, Dale Murphy was a bench player for the team for the first part of the season.
The Colorado Rockies were just starting their franchise in 1993. As an expansion team, the Rockies were not going to be able to field a team that would be playoff-bound right away but they did sign a few free agents, like Andres Galarraga and Dale Murphy.
Murphy, 37, was obviously on the backend of his career by age but he had dropped a bit in the previous few years. In the 1980s, he was arguably the best player in baseball.
From 1980 through 1987, he was an All-Star seven times, won five Gold Gloves, four Silver Slugger Awards, and he got MVP votes in seven seasons. He also won the NL MVP award in both 1982 and 1983. From 1982 through 1987, he appeared in all but five games for the Atlanta Braves.
From 1982 through 1987, he averaged 161 games a season and averaged 36 home runs and 105 RBI with a .289/.382/.531 slash line and an OPS+ of 145. In that span, he led the NL in both home runs and RBI twice.
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Starting in 1988, though, Murphy started to regress and in the middle of the 1990 season, they traded him and a player to be named later to the Phillies for Jeff Parrett and players to be named later. Parrett ended up being teammates with Murphy on the ’93 Rockies.
The Phillies released Murphy two days before Opening Day in 1993 and the Rockies pounced on Murphy and signed him that same day.
However, in 26 games (49 plate appearances), Murphy was largely a pinch-hitter for the Rockies. He was overmatched, though, as he hit just .143/.224/.167 with an OPS+ of 1. By May 21, the Rockies allowed Murphy to retire, rather than being released because he was struggling so much, partially due to injuries that he had sustained in the previous few seasons.
Considering his very high peak in the 1980s, the BBWAA had him on their Hall of Fame ballot all 15 years that he was eligible (this was before it was shortened to 10 years) but he never received more than 23.2 percent of the vote.
Murphy will be eligible to be on the Veteran’s Committee vote for a 2023 induction. If he would be inducted, he could be only the second player to be inducted to wear a Colorado Rockies uniform.