Many players have been rushed to the majors a little too fast and Gregg Jefferies was one of them. Defensively, Jefferies wasn't at all prepared. Offensively, his ticket to the majors was punched at just about the right time. The biggest drawback for Jefferies though wasn't that he was unprepared to be a Major Leaguer, but rather the way he would be received by his colleagues.
After picking up the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award in 1987 and 1988, Jefferies got a full-time gig with the New York Mets. The Mets thought he was destined to be one of the greats of the game even though defensively, he left a lot to be desired. Perhaps it was Jefferies sometimes scratching personality, but he wasn't well received in the clubhouse as a rookie and never found New York to be a welcome place to play. In fact, the Mets were determined to move Jefferies after the '91 season, not so much because of his performance, but because he didn't fit chemistry-wise. Over four full seasons with the Mets, Jefferies played in 459 games, hitting .275 with 39 homeruns and 141 RBI. Because of the clubhouse issues though Jefferies wound up in Kansas City and the Mets took Bret Saberhagen in exchange for him.
Jefferies would play just one season in Kansas City before bouncing to St. Louis and then signed with the Phillies as a free agent prior to the '95 season.
With the Phillies, Jefferies became somewhat of a clubhouse leader, a far cry from the player he was when he broke in with the Mets. After nearly four full seasons with the Phillies, Jefferies, who was 31 at the time, was dealt to Anaheim for a player to be named later (that player turned out to be Doug Nickle). The Angels missed the playoffs that year and Jefferies wound up signing as a free agent with the Tigers and finishing his career in Detroit.
In his time with the Phillies, Jefferies hit .287 with 37 homeruns and 203 RBI.
Meanwhile, Dale Murphy made himself known best during his days in Atlanta. After nearly 15 seasons with the Braves, Murphy was dealt to the Phillies along with Tommy Greene for Jeff Parrett, Jim Vatcher and Victor Rosario. Murphy joined a club fighting to make the playoffs, but ultimately never did reach the post-season as a Phillie and played post-season ball just once while a member of the Braves (1982). Perhaps ironically, Murphy was released by the Phillies just prior to the '93 season when they did finish in not just the post-season, but the World Series.
It was probably better for both that Murphy didn't spend that season in Philadelphia as he wouldn't have fit well with the Macho Row and the image of the '93 National League Champions. In Colorado, Murphy - then 37 - showed that he was well past his prime and played just 26 games with the Rockies.
While both Jefferies and Murphy have strong career numbers, neither is likely to ever be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Both were great for the game and popular in Philadelphia, but that doesn't guarantee entrance to the Hall. Instead, they'll both likely wind up as simple, but fondly remembered footnotes in the cities that they played.
Career stats for Gregg Jefferies and Dale Murphy.