The below quote should suffice as a pretty good example of how Dale Murphy played the baseball back when he was a slugging outfielder from the late 1970s to early 1990s. You may know his stats, but if you're a younger audience — like yours truly, who wasn't even alive when Murphy retired — you may not know that his approach, and the game as a whole, differed just a tad from today's stars.
"I remember giving my first high-five at home plate after a home run," Murphy told Jayson Stark on the "Starkville" podcast. "And I was thinking I was going to get drilled next time. When I first came up, in September of '76, I didn't hit a home run. Let's see, in '77 I hit a home run in September, getting called up. I put my head down, ran around and shook hands in the dugout. That was it."
So it might come as a surprise to hear that the one player Murphy would like to emulate now, if he were to come back to today's MLB as anyone in the league, is the same guy that screamed "I'm a bad motherf---er" after blasting a home run just a few weeks ago. Not exactly the most inhibited approach there, now is it?
After Stark brought up the fact that Murphy said he'd want to be Joc Pederson if he played in today's game, the former outfielder didn't deny it and explained his reasoning.
"That's a direct quote. You're right," Murphy said with a laugh. "So, I'm doing an interview with Steve Sax and I said that to Steve. He goes, 'Murph, you don't want to come back as Joc Pederson.' I said, 'No, what I mean is our generation and my personality, I just don't think I had much fun.'
"Obviously, I didn't have as much fun as Joc. This generation has a lot of fun playing the game, they're a lot looser. We were pretty buttoned up... I like this generation and the fun they have. I think it's good for young kids to see these guys have fun out there."
While he truly sees himself as more of the Freddie Freeman mold, taking the brash Pederson approach is one that he thinks would have done him well.
"I'm not saying I would be Joc Pederson, I'm just saying I wish I could've been a little looser," Murphy said. "People wouldn't look at me and say, 'man, he's tightly wound'... but I think this generation would have loosened me up a little bit and I think I would have had fun in this generation. But, you know, we don't fit. That's okay."
Check out this celebration of a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the eighth inning that put Murphy's Braves up 8-7 over the rival Mets. He's really pushing it in terms of how braggadocious that little hand clap was!
It looks like Murphy is having more fun on the ball field whenever he has the chance to do so now, however. His first pitch wasn't as typical as you might expect, with a handful of surprises thrown in there — including an appearance from some Joc Pederson pearls.