BYU Honors LDS Baseball Player Dale Murphy

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 3 December 2014

BYU Management Society president Allen Arnoldsen, right, introduces former baseball great Dale Murphy as the 2014 recipient of the organization’s Pioneer in Leadership Award.  Photo by Jason Swensen.

Article Highlights

  • Dale Murphy was presented with the Pioneer in Leadership Award.
  • Murphy said humility fits hand-in-hand with service.
  • Past recipients include President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, LaVell Edwards, and Sheri Dew.

“Dale Murphy exemplifies the mission of the BYU Management Society: growing moral and ethical leadership around the world.” —BYU’s Management Society

PROVO, UTAH

For almost two decades, LDS baseball player Dale Murphy terrorized pitchers—belting almost 400 homers and driving in more than 1,200 runs. Twice while playing for the Atlanta Braves he was the National League’s Most Valuable Player.

But Brother Murphy’s personal reputation stretched beyond his feared prowess at the plate. His superior character—inside and outside of the diamond—made him one of pro sports’ “good guys.”

He was known as a deeply religious family man who happened to be a very, very good baseball player. Countless sports fans were introduced to the Church through one of its most high-profile members—a heavy-hitting outfielder they called “Murph.”

Brother Murphy has used his fame as a ballplayer as a vehicle to help others. In 1987 he shared Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year” with seven other athletes because of his work with numerous charities and service organizations.

On November 14, BYU’s Management Society recognized his lifelong service efforts by presenting him with their Pioneer in Leadership Award. Past recipients of the award include President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, retired BYU football coach LaVell Edwards, and former Relief Society leader and businesswoman Sheri L. Dew.

“Dale Murphy exemplifies the mission of the BYU Management Society: growing moral and ethical leadership around the world,” noted a society release. “He is a leader who, because of an unwavering dedication to the highest moral and ethical principles, is not moved by the latest trend, but remains true to the standards of integrity and virtue.”

In accepting the award, Brother Murphy spoke of the humility that fits hand-in-hand with service. He said his most humbling moments were not found on the big league diamond but, instead, as he presided over the Massachusetts Boston Mission from 1997 to 2000.

He cited the leadership examples of two famed baseball managers, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox. Both men were great “managers” of men who treated their charges with respect, patience, and honesty.

The top managers, he said, are those men and women “who don’t separate themselves from their players and … and can handle [themselves] when times are tough.”