10-year old engages with former Braves star as JUCO begins

Dale meet Dale. Dale Murphy, center is shocked to meet Dale Murphy, left. at Alpine Bank downtown before the start the JUCO banquet

Dale Murphy is the future of baseball.

The 10-year-old Palisade Little Leaguer had the chance to meet another Dale Murphy who is working to preserve baseball’s future.

Lil’ Dale Murphy, who played catcher for his Little League team – the Mud Dogs, met former Major League Baseball player Dale Murphy on Friday night before the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series banquet at the Two Rivers Convention Center.

“We heard about the banquet and we called Jamie Hamilton,” Della Dutcher, Dale’s grandmother said. “He invited us here to meet the big Dale.”

The younger Murphy was all smiles as he was introduced to the Atlanta Braves’ seven-time All-Star outfielder, who signed his Little League team picture.

“It’s great for young players like that to get involved with the sports,” Dale Murphy said. “It was great to meet him, and it was a unique honor for me.”

Big Dale was in town to be the keynote speaker at the 52nd annual NJCAA World Series banquet.

Dale Murphy played 17 seasons in the MLB with a majority of those coming with the Braves.

Murphy also spent time at the end of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Colorado Rockies.

“It was great playing at Mile High,” Murphy said. “Didn’t play very good, and didn’t last very long, but had a great experience in Colorado.”

During his speech to the large banquet crowd, he was looking to get his message across to the nine of 10 junior college teams in attendance.

Murphy’s message: you don’t have to cheat to be successful.

“I want to tell young players to make sure they do it the right way,” Murphy said.  “There are challenges out there and I am going to remind them they don’t have to do (performance enhancing drugs).”

Murphy’s speech was well received when he commented that a positive steroids test should draw a lifetime suspension, similar to what is given for gambling.

“We don’t have to see a five to six home run game,” Murphy said. “We appreciate baseball, and it doesn’t have to be played by guys who look like pro wrestlers.”

Murphy also talked to the players about being humble with their athletic talent.

“You have a great gift,” Murphy said. “But don’t put yourself above other people, handle all your relationships with respect.”

The night also honored the four members being inducted into the National Junior College Athletics Association Hall of Fame. John Daigle of USA Stadium, Fred Frickie of Calhoun (Ala.) Community College, Wayne King of Joliet (Ill.) Junior College and Larry Smith of Kaskaskia (Ill.) College all were gracious accepting their awards.

The first pitch is today at 9 a.m. when Western Nevada faces Howard (Texas) College. Iowa Western plays Shelton State at noon and Cowley County (Kan.) Community College plays. Seminole State (Okla.) College) at 3 p.m. with the 7 p.m. game between Santa Fe (Fla.) College and Middle Georgia College.


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