With every new day, we all get a bit older. There's a bonanza of enlightenment for all of us. But there are some things that happen in life that might make us feel a bit older than we actually want to feel.
Dale Murphy turned 60 years old Saturday. Let me write that again for my own understanding and to prove the point, so it'll sink in for all of us.
Dale Murphy turned 60 years old Saturday.
Yes, if Dale Murphy is now 60 years old, we're all getting older.
It was 1974 when the Atlanta Braves took Dale Bryan Murphy out of Woodrow Wilson High School in Portland, Oregon. He was the fifth pick in the first round of the amateur draft. It was just two months after Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Murphy was a lanky catcher then, and the first time we all saw him on television he was still a lanky catcher. Watching this big 6-foot-5 kid with the John Boy Walton mole on the side of his cheek trying to catch Phil Nieko's knuckleball was entertainment that made WTCG (later WTBS) the station to watch.
Thankfully, a brilliant baseball man named Bobby Cox moved Murphy to first base and then to the outfield. The rest is history. Murphy, and let's occasionally forget the 'y' and just call him Murph, was the 1982 and 1983 MVP in the NL. He was one of the best players in baseball in the 1980s.
While Aaron is a legend, Murphy might be considered the first real star who was exclusively Atlanta's. Aaron played 12 years in Milwaukee and nine years in Atlanta, but when the Braves became America's Team, in the early 1980s, Murphy became the star.
Murphy could do it all. He hit for power. He ran the bases well. He played great defense. Sure, he would strike out and make you (and his manager for three years, Joe Torre) crazy at times. Murphy was just a great baseball player.
And, more than that, Murphy was the All-American boy. He was a great young man, someone kids could actually look up to and admire. I was 8 years old when Murphy came up for his first major stint in Atlanta, so my childhood was spent watching him. What a great example Murphy was to learn how to be a competitor and how to act when you're on the field.
Plus, he had the best poster in history. OK, show of hands ... how many of you actually had the Nike "Power Alley" poster that featured Murphy?
It has been almost 26 years since the Braves traded Murphy. His career ended a few years later. One day he should be in Cooperstown, but Murphy is a Braves Hall of Famer. He still goes to spring training. He was a great broadcaster (something he should still do) for the team a few years ago. And he is still looked at as Atlanta's first real baseball star.
Oh, and, he's 60. But to some of us, he'll always be 26 years old. He'll always be young. He'll always be that tall kid who became a star. And Murphy will always be one of the most important sports stars to ever grace this state with his tremendous talent.
Shake your head in amazement, as I really can't believe it either. Dale Murphy is 60.
Yes, we are all getting older.
Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.