Wait, I Didn’t Know He was a Catcher: Dale Murphy

The more that I collect catchers, the more that I dig into the history of the position.  I have discovered a lot about those who have worn the “Tools of Ignorance.”  One of the aspects of my research that I have enjoyed the most, is learning about players that were known for playing a certain position (like OF) but started out as a catcher. 

For this series of posts, I will focus on a well-known player that debuted as catcher, but later had success at a different position.  I will try to stay away from the more obvious references like Craig Biggio.


Dale Murphy was 20 years old when the Atlanta Braves called him up.  In 1976, Murphy started 17 games for the Braves, all at catcher.

Stats: .262/.333/.354


(I don’t own any of these cards)

In ’77, Murphy started 17 games at catcher, though he had much better numbers offensively.

This card is from 1977 Topps.  Murphy is pictured with three other  rookie catchers, the most successful of which was Rick Cerone (at least as a catcher).

Stats: .316/.316/.526


In ’78, Murphy started 16 games as a catcher and 125 at 1st base.  Obviously, the Braves were looking to move Murphy elsewhere.

His 1978 Topps card, features him with three future all-star catchers, Parrish having the most success.

Stats: (Disqualified as he played the majority of his games at 1st)


1979 was the last year that Murphy logged any time behind the dish.  It was also the season that he played the most games at catcher.  He started 27 games at catcher and 76 at 1st base.

Stats: (Disqualified as he played the majority of his games at 1st)

Though he never caught another game, Topps continued to identify him as C-1B for their 1980 release.


By 1980, Murphy had moved to the outfield, and for the rest of his career, he was running down fly balls for the Braves, Phillies, and Rockies.  Along the way, he earned 2 MVP trophies, 5 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers, and was a 7x All-Star.


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4 Responses to Wait, I Didn’t Know He was a Catcher: Dale Murphy

  1. That was news to me about Murphy. Cool post. I just saw a card that had Carlos Delgado listed as a catcher.


  2. Julie says:

    Looking forward to these posts. I also did not know Murphy was a catcher. Very cool!


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