I would stay up late just to see what he would do. I would turn on the tv, for one purpose back then, to see number 3 hit a home run or do anything on the field. He was must-see-tv before there was must-see-tv. He was my idol. And, he has been the only one.
So, when the opportunity came up to interview Dale Murphy, I balked at first. No way, absolutely no way could he live up to the expectations I set for him. Absolutely no way. In my nearly 20 years of working in the media, I had never been in a position like this of meeting someone who had such a profound impact on my life. Every number I wear in sports, is number 3. All because of Dale Murphy. All because he played a sport with everything he had.
Now, I know there are other ball players who gave it their all every time they stepped on the field but for some reason, Murphy was it for me. Was it because of his patented swing, which I spent hours in the mirror imitating? Was it because he played catcher and then moved to the outfield and at 6’5, did both spectacularly well? Was it because he never complained on some awful teams yet still gave the game everything he had?
All of it would be the correct answer.
I did the interview with Dale Murphy for WSMV in Nashville and it was surreal and amazing at the same time. Call me goofy, I don’t care but I thought a lot about my mom at the time. We only had one TV in the house in those days, and she would sit in there and watch Braves games with me when I totally knew she didn’t want to do it. When I finally got a TV in my room, I asked her if I would have cable on it. “Yes, so you can watch all the Braves games.”
Thank you, Dale Murphy. For not letting a 47 year old and, a 14 year old boy, down.