Oakland Athletics outfielder Dwayne Murphy tops our countdown of the most under-appreciated players of the 1980s. If you're disappointed, that just proves I'm right :)
Here are five fantastic facts and five fantastic baseball cards to commemorate Murphy's career in the 1980s.
|1983 Donruss #161|
This is the top WAR in MLB over 1980-1982. You'll notice that Murphy has a low OPS for this group. That's in part because Oakland Coliseum was his home stadium, but he also got a huge boost from dWAR, to the tune of 4.3 over this period.
Regarding the 1983 Donruss card above, it's amazingly similar to his 1982 Donruss photo, especially since they clearly were not taken at the same time (he's wearing sleeves in the earlier shot).
|1985 Fleer #432|
2. From 1980 to 1988, Murphy was the best centerfielder in baseball
These are the most fielding runs by a player with at least 500 games in centerfield from 1980-1988. There were 5 really good ones and Murphy was the best.
|1980 Topps #461|
These are the most fielding runs for any position from 1980 to 1988. Murphy slots right in there. Incidentally, Scott Fletcher was a late cut from this countdown.
The 1980 Topps card above was Murphy's first solo baseball card. Taken from a low angle, the photograph is a beauty with miles of blue sky. Murphy's got some evil thoughts in his eyes. about crushing a baseball.
|1981 Fleer #590|
4. Murphy played at least 73 games in 7 different spots in the batting order
|1987 Donruss #379|
This is one of the best baseball cards I have ever seen. Murphy looks like he's just crushed a homer deep into centerfield. The gold stripes on his jersey match up with the gold stripes on the edges of the card. There is overall fantastic color unity with green, gold, gray, and black. Simply put, this is a perfect card.
5. Murphy could do it all with the bat
He's one of just 4 players who, over 1980-1989, had an OPS+ of at least 110 and also had at least 50 sacrifice hits:
Murphy is so rarely talked about, but when I solicited input from John and Raphy for this series, all 3 of us independently came up with him as someone to include. It didn't take long to see that he was great in the 1980s and few people seemed to notice or remember.
I hope you enjoyed our take on the 10 most under-appreciated players of the 1980s. Look for the 1990s next week!