Collecting Dale Murphy
Dale Murphy has always been more than just a great baseball player. His fans regard him as a shining example
of everything a professional athlete should be: generous, humble, affable, and family-oriented.
It's no wonder that
-- more than a decade after his retirement -- the former Braves slugger is still revered by thousands. How
many players do you know that still have an active fan club 10 years after their final at bat? Or have followers that
have formed a society to lobby for their Hall of Fame induction? Or have devotees who have built tribute Web sites and
remain zealously committed to collecting their memorabilia?
One such supporter is Don Frakes, a Bowling Green, Kentucky
resident who, over the past 20 years, has amassed close to 1,000 pieces of Murphy memorabilia. Showcased on his Web site (http://murphycollector.homestead.com/HOME.html), his collection boasts cards, photos, pins, balls, and autographed items.
"I grew up in Evansville, Indiana where
there was a Braves farm team in the '50s and my son became a Braves fan while he grew up in the '70s. He was a Dale Murphy
fan and we decided to start a collection," he explains.
A busy career has made it difficult for his son to continue
collecting, but, being a sports writer, Jason Frakes has had the opportunity to share his passion for the seven-time all-star
in his work. One of the links on Frakes' site (http://www.newsherald.com/archive/sports00/sa011300.htm) is to an article that his son wrote on why Murphy belongs in Cooperstown.
And while it's true that his son
rarely contributes to the collection anymore, Frakes says that he's still interested in his latest acquisitions.
always looks in my office (where the collection is stored) when he visits and wants to know what's new," he says.
would be hard for anyone to keep up with what Frakes has added, however, because he's constantly acquiring new items through
eBay and other collectors. He says that competition for the Atlanta sports icon's memorabilia can sometimes be fierce.
personally know of about 10 very serious collectors," he says. "But I've learned from watching eBay that there are consistently
a lot of different bidders on his merchandise."
Frakes counts a 1977 Richmond Braves postcard and an autographed home
plate as two of his favorite items.
"The homeplate hangs on the wall in my office above one of my desks. It's
framed with a photo of Murphy signing it below it. It's inscribed with ''82, '83 MVP,'" he says. "I obtained it
on eBay from a dealer who had a private signing."
Frakes' goal is to collect one of every Murphy item ever made.
He says that the abundance of new cards being issued has made it difficult for him to keep up.
"I'm a little disappointed
in all of the new cards," he says. "They're nice cards, but much too expensive and hyped."
But, despite his
dedication, there are some items that have eluded him; his want list can be found online.
The longtime hobbyist is
a member of both the Murphy fan club and the induction society. When asked if the Braves legend belongs in the Hall
of Fame, his reply is short and to the point.
"Yes, without a doubt," he says. "If he had hit two more home
runs, it seems it would have been automatic."
The Dale Murphy Fan Club
The Dale Murphy Induction Society
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