Dale Murphy is still a fan favorite, 22 years after he last played for the Atlanta Braves. The two-time National League MVP retired in 1993 after parts of three seasons in Philadelphia and one more in Colorado, but remains a Brave at heart.
He and his wife Nancy reside in Alpine, Utah, a small town about 30 minutes south of Salt Lake City.
Murphy, who will be 56 years old on March 12, chatted with FoxSportsSouth.com Braves writer Andy Johnston earlier this week. You can follow Murphy on Twitter @DaleMurphy3 or check out his website at DaleMurphy.com.
Q: What has kept you busy the most since you retired? Obviously, you have eight kids, but what has kept you busy, occupation-wise? Is there anything that stands out?
A: The thing that I’ve done mostly since I’ve retired is speaking. Public speaking. I’ve really enjoyed that, sharing my message with all kinds of groups and companies. (I talk) about things I’ve learned through my career in baseball and raising eight kids. Actually, I shouldn’t claim raising eight kids. I helped Nancy raise eight kids. That’s the one thing I’ve done mostly since I’ve retired. When you retire at 37, you think you’re an old man. I’m always looking for things to get involved with and I try to stay busy, that’s for sure.
Q: I assume that has involved a lot of traveling. Is that an enjoyable part of it, or a necessary part of it?
A: It’s one of the things that’s a downside of playing professional baseball, but it’s also a fun part, as you look back on it. Traveling just becomes such a part of your life, and after you’re done, you don’t travel, you miss getting out and meeting people and seeing different cities. I’m thankful I don’t have that schedule that I had when I played, but once you get the travel thing in your system … I always enjoy staying home, being with the family and things like that, but there’s something to (traveling) that you miss about getting out and seeing new places and meeting new people. I enjoy that, but I also enjoy that it’s not as often as when I played.
Q: How did you and Nancy come to the decision to live in Utah when you retired?
A: Throughout my career, we had talked about coming back here and we had family connections here. We had talked about it a lot.
Q: You and Nancy moved your family to Boston for a few years in the late 1990s. What prompted that move?
A: We were supervising the Mormon missionaries in Massachusetts for that period of time and we lived outside of Boston. We had a great experience there. That was a lot of fun. I think I turned some of my kids into Red Sox fans. I loved getting to Fenway Park. A lot of people assume I’ve been to all these American League ballparks, but I had never been there, so living there was a great experience.
Q: I understand that you got to know Mitt Romney while you lived in Boston.
A: He wasn’t involved in politics at that time, but we met him. We lived in the same community there and got to know him and Ann and their kids. He came out to Utah for the Olympics in 2002 and then he ran for governor of Massachusetts. They’re good people and we were lucky to get to know them and be associated with them and now see them running for president. How often does someone you know – not that we’re in touch with the Romneys – run for president? It’s just really interesting, an interesting experience. That’s been fun.
Q: Do you back his campaign?
A: Oh sure. I’ve donated to his campaign and done some interviews and certainly have voiced my support for him. I think he would be great. I think he would be a fantastic leader. He’s a fantastic guy with a fantastic family. I have a lot of confidence in him. I’m a supporter. Definitely.
Q: Were you real serious about running for public office?
A: Not real serious, but I guess more serious than I’ve ever been when I talked to a few people a few years ago. I guess you could say it was serious to the point where it was where I’d never been before. The race for governor was coming up. There was Congress. Congress. Governor. Other things. I suggested to somebody that maybe I should start out small and run for something like mayor of Alpine. The guy looked at me and said, “Absolutely not. It’s much easier being governor of a state than mayor of a small town.” So I said, “I got you,” but I decided not to get involved. There’s probably nothing tougher than small town politics.
Q: When did you get on the technology wave? You’re very active on Twitter and you have a great website. Have you always been geared that way?
A: It’s almost been a year since I’ve been involved with Twitter, and my website has been up for about six months, or so. It’s really grown into something I’ve enjoyed for a number of reasons. It’s fun. I think Twitter is a unique thing that is possible now with our technology. I don’t even know what you call it, other than a thing. It’s a very interesting social media platform. I’ve been able to connect with fans from the old days, make new friends. It’s helped me as far as my speaking and opportunities. It’s been a lot of fun. It really has. You connect with people from all different interests. Once I discovered what it is, (I started following) all different things I like. Music, information, hobbies, movies. You start following people who are experts in those fields. … I’m 55, and for our age group, it doesn’t come very naturally. You need some help, and my kids help me, but I really encourage people to get on and discover what Twitter is. A lot of people (my age) just give up. I don’t want to do that. Forget it. They’re really missing out. If there’s something in the world you want to hear about, I go to Twitter. I do a search and see what’s going on in the world. It’s the way to get the news the fastest. I was on Twitter during the Academy Awards and I was following some movie critics who know the history of the Academy Awards, so whenever someone won an award, they added all this history to it. It’s like if I’m watching a Braves game, and tweeting during a game, and you’re following me, and I’m commenting on the game, it’s like watching the game with me. Or you’re sitting there watching the Oscars with somebody who has been there a million times. It really is an interesting thing. It’s a huge conversation. Sometimes it gets weird, which a problem with the Internet, but I really enjoy it.
Q: Do you find Twitter yourself or did your kids get you involved?
A: My kids got me into it, for sure.
Q: I know you’re a big music guy, are you a big movies guy, too?
A: Yeah, I saw most of the contenders. I’m pretty much like everybody else. I enjoy a good movie and some good music.
Q: Are you still optimistic about making the Hall of Fame?
A: I’m kind of one of those guys who is like, we’ll see. If it happens, it would be fantastic. I’d say I’m fairly optimistic about getting in with some of the veterans’ committee. I’m not optimistic about getting voted in. That would be totally unprecedented. Next year is my last year of eligibility on the ballot. I think I got only about 15 percent or so. I don’t have any visions of being voted in, but maybe with the veterans’ committee.
Q: Are you heading to Orlando for spring training?
A: Yes, I’m going at the end of the week and will be down there, off and on, during March. I’m looking forward to it. I try to get down there every year, and the Braves have been very accommodating to inviting me down there. I pretty much invite myself down there, too, because I love getting down there and enjoy reconnecting with fans during spring training and being able to put on an uniform again. It’s pretty fun.