Posted December 04, 2013

JAWS and the 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot: Jack Morris

Detroit Tigers, Hall of Fame, Jack Morris, JAWS, Minnesota Twins

The following article is part of my ongoing look at the candidates on the BBWAA 2014 Hall of Fame ballot. Originally written for the 2013 election, it has been updated to reflect last year’s voting results as well as additional research and changes in WAR. For a detailed introduction to JAWS, please see hereFor the schedule and an explanation of how posts on holdover candidates will be presented, see here.

On Oct. 27, 1991, Jack Morris put together what many consider the greatest pitching performance in postseason history, throwing 10 shutout innings against the Braves to win Game 7 of the World Series. Remember, a championship wasn’t directly at stake when Don Larsen threw his perfect game for the Yankees in 1956 — that was a Game 5. Nine pitchers had thrown shutouts in Game 7s before Morris, most recently Bret Saberhagen for the Royals in 1985, but that was an 11-0 blowout. Ralph Terry did so in a 1-0 game for the Yankees in 1962, but he threw “only” nine innings. No pitcher had ever taken a shutout beyond nine innings in the deciding game of the World Series.

In conjunction with his 254 regular season wins, that stellar performance has garnered Morris nearly enough votes to reach the Hall of Fame, thanks to a slow climb mirroring that of Bert Blyleven. In 2011, Blyleven was elected by the BBWAA in his 14th turn on the ballot, breaking a 19-year string in which the voters hadn’t elected a single starter with fewer than 300 wins since Fergie Jenkins in 1991. Morris debuted at 22.2 percent of the vote back in 2000; he didn’t he reach 30 percent until 2005, and it took him another five years to break 50 percent. After surging to 66.7 percent in 2012, his 13th year, his election appeared inevitable, but amid last year’s crowd, he netted just three additional votes, finishing at 67.7 percent.

VERDUCCI: Why I’m voting for Jack Morris

Blyleven benefited from a long grassroots campaign that owed a debt to the way an advanced statistical lexicon heightened the appreciation of accomplishments that received less than their due in his heyday. Particularly given the timing, Morris’ surge in popularity seems like a reaction to that campaign — a reactionary one at that, as it’s a return to old-school emphasis on wins and things less quantifiable.

As intense as the debate surrounding his candidacy has been, it will end this year, or at least go on hiatus. Morris could be the next Jim Rice (76.4 percent in 2009), crossing the threshold in the final round, or he could fall short by an agonizingly small margin, as Enos Slaughter (68.8 percent in 1979), Nellie Fox (74.7 percent in 1985) and Orlando Cepeda (73.5 percent in 1994) did. All three eventually gained entry via the Veterans Committee, as did a handful of other modern candidates whose BBWAA eligibility expired with far less support: Jim Bunning (63.7 percent in 1991), Ron Santo (43.1 percent in 1998), Bill Mazeroski (42.3 percent in 1992), Red Schoendienst (39.0 percent in 1983) and Richie Ashburn (30.4 percent in 1982).

Pitcher  Career  Peak  JAWS   W   L   ERA   ERA+
Jack Morris 44.1 32.8 38.4 254 186 3.90 105
Avg HOF SP 72.6 50.2 61.4

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Morris attended Brigham Young University and was drafted by the Tigers in the fifth round in 1976, a banner draft by general manager Jim Campbell and scouting director Bill Lajoie that also yielded Morris’ future Cooperstown ballot-mate Alan Trammell in the second round and rotation-mate Dan Petry in the fourth. Morris started his professional career at Double-A Montgomery and made just 29 minor league starts before debuting with the Tigers on July 26, 1977. In his second start, he struck out 11 Rangers over nine innings while allowing just four hits (the game went into extra innings). In September, Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Lance Parrish joined Morris in making their big league debuts; that quartet became a fixture by the following season, and would hold together through 1986, when Parrish left via a collusion-throttled free agency.

Early struggles in the rotation led to Morris spending the bulk of the 1978 season in the bullpen and beginning the next year in the minors, but when he was promoted in mid-May of  ’79, he was up for good. He went 17-7 with a 3.28 ERA (133 ERA+) and accumulated 5.8 WAR. The latter mark ranked fifth in the league and would stand as his career-high.

That was the first of 12 full seasons Morris spent in Detroit’s rotation, a span during which he averaged 33 starts, 13 complete games, 241 innings, 5.9 strikeouts per nine, a 3.71 ERA (109 ERA+) … and just 3.1 WAR. He reached 20 wins in 1983 and topped that with 21 in 1986. He dipped below 30 starts only three times in those 12 seasons: in 1979, 1981 (a strike-shortened season) and 1989, when he spent two months on the disabled list. Amid all this, he made four All-Star teams.

Morris learned a split-fingered fastball from pitching coach Roger Craig in 1983 and led the league in strikeouts (232) and innings pitched (293 2/3) — the only time he would do so in either category. His 4.0 WAR didn’t crack the AL’s top 10, but he finished third in the Cy Young voting.

Morris no-hit the White Sox on April 7, 1984, the signature moment in Detroit’s 35-5 start en route to a world championship. Through the end of May he was 10-1 with a 1.88 ERA, but a rough stretch following that — a 6.30 ERA over 14 starts from June through mid-August — as the Tigers ran away with the AL East led to criticism in the media about his level of intensity. At one point, Morris stopped talking to the press until ordered to resume doing so by manager Sparky Anderson. He finished the 1984 season 19-11 with a 3.60 ERA (109 ERA+), then went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three postseason starts as Detroit steamrolled the Royals in the ALCS and the Padres in the World Series.

Morris tried to test free agency after the 1986 season, in which he’d gone 21-8 with a 3.27 ERA (127 ERA+) and a league-best six shutouts, but because of collusion, he drew very limited interest; even George Steinbrenner toed the line when presented with Morris’ demands. He wound up returning to the Tigers on a one-year, $1.85 million deal via arbitration instead of getting the three-year deal he sought and deserved, and while it worked out well in the short term, that sorry saga would eventually lead to his departure from the Motor City. Via another strong season in 1987 (18-11, 3.38 ERA, 126 ERA+, 5.1 WAR), he helped Detroit to the AL East flag, though he was rocked for six runs in eight innings as his team was upset by the Twins in the ALCS. After the season, he signed a two-year, $4 million deal that gave him the highest average annual salary for a pitcher.

Morris’ final three years in Detroit (1988-90) weren’t pretty. Though still durable enough to average 218 innings even with his DL stint in 1989 due to an elbow injury, his ERA for that stretch was 4.40 and was worse than league average in all three seasons. When the collusion scandal was settled, the 35-year-old was allowed to declare free agency. He spurned the Tigers’ three-year, $9.3 million offer and signed a one-year, $3.7 million deal with the Twins with incentives and two player options that could escalate it to $11 million.

He rebounded from a 15-18, 4.51 ERA showing in 1990 to go 18-12 with a 3.43 ERA (125 ERA+) and 4.3 WAR for the Twins in ’91, earning his fifth and final All-Star appearance. Knocked out after just 5 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays in the ALCS opener, he threw eight strong innings in Game 4, and Minnesota prevailed in five. They won the World Series opener against the Braves behind his seven innings of two-run ball, but lost Game 4, in which Morris was pulled after six innings. He gave up one run and threw 94 pitches that night, a relatively light outing by his standards, but then again, he was on three days’ rest. He would make his Game 7 start on three days’ rest as well, but needed just 126 pitches to complete the job. The Twins won it for him on Gene Larkin’s pinch-hit single in the bottom of the 10th.

Despite the championship and the hometown-boy-makes-good narrative, Morris opted out of his contract that winter, signing a two-year $10.85 million deal (plus an option) with the Blue Jays. He went 21-6, albeit with a 4.04 ERA (101 ERA+). The Blue Jays won the AL East, the ALCS and the World Series, but Morris couldn’t duplicate his postseason magic; chased before completing five innings in two of his four starts, he was roughed up for a 7.43 ERA with 15 walks in 23 innings.

That was the beginning of the end for Morris. He was terrible with Toronto in 1993 (6.19 ERA) and was excluded from its postseason rotation. He moved on to Cleveland, where he was knocked around for a 5.60 ERA in the strike-shortened 1994 season. He pitched for the hometown St. Paul Saints in the independent Northern League in 1995, hoping for a return to the majors, but he couldn’t find a deal. He nearly signed with the Yankees in 1996 but was unwilling to pitch more than once in the minors. At 41, his career was over.

Morris’ Hall of Fame candidacy rests largely on his win total, which ranks 43rd all-time, having been surpassed since he retired by Greg Maddux (355), Roger Clemens (354), Tom Glavine (305), Randy Johnson (303), Mike Mussina (270) and Jamie Moyer (267). Morris reached 20 wins three times, and won at least 18 six times, racking up more wins in the 1980s (162) than any other pitcher.

The problem with those who think that last stat matters is that those arbitrary endpoints aren’t particularly more special than others except for shorthanded stereotypes about the period — skinny ties, trickle-down economics, etc. While Morris leads the pack in wins for most rolling 10-year periods during his career, he falls to third in the 1984-93 period behind Clemens and Frank Viola, both of whom had 163. It’s worth mentioning that even with a Cy Young to his credit — something Morris never won — Viola never got any kind of Hall of Fame support, falling off the ballot with 0.4 percent in 2002.

The exaltation of high wins totals comes because in a more modern era, they are an endangered species thanks to five-man rotations and the systematic use of specialized bullpens designed to take advantage of late-inning matchups. Morris’ considerable durability (175 complete games, the 16th-highest total of the post-1961 expansion era and the highest of any pitcher whose career began after the introduction of the DH in 1973) is a counter to the more modern, sabermetrically-driven view of pitcher wins as products of adequate offensive, defensive and bullpen support.

Morris received above-average run support from his teams over the course of his career. We can express that figure in normalized form just as we can ERA+, with 100 representing the park-adjusted league average. Morris’ 106 mark in that run-support category (call the stat SUP+) is no small advantage. Via the Pythagorean Theorem, each extra percentage point difference in run support translates roughly to a .005 gain in winning percentage, or an extra win for every 200 decisions. All else being equal, Morris’ 6.4 percent advantage would translate to a record of 234-206 over the course of 440 decisions (the number he had in his career), assuming average run prevention ability. Blyleven, by comparison, received run support four percent worse than league average (96 SUP+), Stieb and Clemens three percent worse (97+). Among the cohort of durable hurlers who won 300 games in careers that ran from the mid-1960s into the ’80s (Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton), only Carlton (105) and Sutton (104) had better-than-average SUP+. Of the 57 Hall of Fame starters, only 21 had support better than Morris, with Catfish Hunter (112, 10th) and Jim Palmer (108, 16th) the only ones whose careers overlapped that of our subject.

Particularly in the DH league, run support is entirely out of a pitcher’s control. Run prevention, on the other hand, is not, though it certainly requires defensive support. Morris allowed a .272 batting average on balls in play, 14 points better than the league average during his career (thank you, Trammell and Whitaker) and 32nd among the 200 pitchers with at least 1000 innings from 1977 through 1994. Just to cherrypick a few comparisons, Stieb yielded a .262 BABIP (eighth), Clemens .281 (78th), Blyleven .285 (117th) and Viola .287 (128th). That support was important, because Morris didn’t dominate opposing hitters by striking them out with exceptional frequency. His 5.8 K/9 ranks 62nd out of 200 with at least 1,000 innings pitched over the full span of his career, and 28th out of 99 with 1,000 innings from 1980-89. His 1.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio was 46th during that latter period.

Even with that above-average defensive support, Morris’ run prevention ability was hardly exceptional. His 3.90 ERA would be the highest in Cooperstown, supplanting Red Ruffing’s 3.80, compiled from 1924-47. Morris’ 105 ERA+ would be the third-lowest among Hall of Famers, ahead of only Catfish Hunter’s 104 and Rube Marquard’s 103. Just nine Hall of Fame pitchers have an ERA+ lower than 110; Ruffing is at 109.

To choose one pitcher whose career overlapped with Morris’, David Wells was an exceptionally durable pitcher who finished his career with 239 wins and an ERA nearly a quarter of a run higher at 4.13. His ERA+ was 108. For all of his big-game ability (10-5, 3.17 ERA in the postseason), Wells went one-and-done on last year’s ballot, with 0.9 percent of the vote.

Morris’ supporters dismiss his high ERAs by noting that they’re distorted by the end of his career. He put up a 5.91 mark over his final two seasons; through 1992, he stood at 3.73, with a 109 ERA+ but “only” 237 wins. Cut him off after 1988 — before Game 7 was even a twinkle in the Twins’ eyes — and he’s at 3.59, with a 113 ERA+ but just 177 wins.

This is hardly unique, even among Hall of Famers; take Hunter (4.52 ERA and an 86 ERA+ while battling injuries over his final three seasons), Carlton (5.72 ERA over his final three seasons) and Niekro (6.30 ERA in his final year), for example. Blyleven posted a 4.35 ERA and a 90 ERA+ over his final four seasons, a span that included a full year missed with injury; he had one stellar year (17-5, 2.73 ERA) and two with ERAs above 5.00 in that span. All of those pitchers elevated their win totals by hanging on, but with the possible exception of Blyleven, none enhanced their Hall of Fame cases. Even if one merely focuses on his good seasons, Morris cracked the top 10 six times in raw ERA, but never ranked higher than fifth, and only four times ranked in the top 10 in ERA+, never higher than fourth.

Supporters have tended to dismiss Morris’ high ERAs with claims that he “pitched to the score.” The research efforts of Greg Spira and Joe Sheehan have long since put the lie to this claim. In studying his won-loss record through 1993 (his second-to-last season), Spira found that Morris was just four wins ahead of his projected record based upon run support. Sheehan, who pored over Morris’s career inning-by-inning via Retrosheet, concluded: “I can find no pattern in when Jack Morris allowed runs. If he pitched to the score — and I don’t doubt that he changed his approach — the practice didn’t show up in his performance record.” Morris’ record, therefore, is more a product of strong run support than it is special strategy.

As for Morris’s postseason performances, while his Game 7 shutout is certainly impressive, his overall line (7-4, 3.80 ERA in 13 starts) is a reasonable distillation of his regular-season performance, with good starts and bad ones. Teams won it all with his help (1984 Tigers, 1991 Twins), but teams also fell with his struggles (1987 Tigers), won in spite of them (1992 Blue Jays) or entirely without him (1993 Blue Jays). He was not exceptionally clutch in the grand scheme of his postseason resumé.

Morris’ relatively unexceptional performance in terms of run prevention and hitter dominance costs him dearly with regards to WAR and JAWS. He ranked among the AL top 10 in WAR four times during his career, but never higher than fifth. His mark for the 1980-89 period (30.5) is tied for 11th with Nolan Ryan, just below Charlie Hough (30.6) and significantly below Saberhagen, who didn’t even reach the majors until 1984, with Stieb (48.5) first and Blyleven (38.1) second. Morris’ 44.1 career WAR is tied with Bartolo Colon for 142nd among starting pitchers, surpassing just five out of 57 Hall of Fame pitchers. His peak score ranks 182nd, tied with Ray Caldwell and Cole Hamels, the latter of whom is still mid-career, with a chance to move much higher. Among enshrined starters, only Marquard (29.0) had a lower peak. Via JAWS, Morris is tied for 159th, surpassing just three Hall starters.

According to this view, that’s not a Hall of Fame pitcher. Morris was gritty, gruff and exceptionally durable, and he saved his bullpens a whole lot of work, but he simply didn’t prevent runs in the manner of an elite pitcher, and any modern reckoning of his value illustrates that definitively. For all of his extra wins and postseason success, Morris’ case rests on outmoded barometers and a distortion of the value of one shining moment.

Will he get in? He’s close enough that his election appears to be an inevitability, whether it comes via the BBWAA or whatever form the Veterans Committee takes five years from now; Gil Hodges (63.4 percent in 1983) stands as the player with the highest share of the BBWAA vote not to gain entry via the VC. That said, the recent influx of qualified candidates doesn’t help Morris’ cause. Among the pitchers on the ballot, 300-win newcomers Maddux and Glavine outpace him in the JAWS categories, as do Mussina and holdovers Clemens and Curt Schilling — and that’s without considering the backlog of hitters. Based upon last year’s total of 569 voters, Morris would still have to pick up 42 new ones to reach 75 percent, more than double the 20 votes Rice picked up from 2008 to 2009. I don’t see it happening this year.

Contrary to what the level of research and energy I’ve devoted to my arguments against Morris over the past decade may suggest, I won’t take joy if he’s turned away. I watched that 1984 no-hitter as a teenager and the 1991 Game 7 shutout as a college senior; that World Series brought me back to baseball fandom after a couple of years in the wilderness (I didn’t see any of the post-earthquake 1989 World Series, or a single pitch of the 1990 season). Those memories are indelible, and they still give me goosebumps, and Morris brought me many more good ones along the way.

Even so, I long ago chose reason over emotion with respect to the Hall of Fame, and I’ve come too far to turn back.

28 comments
josebier
josebier

As far as I am concerned one great pitching performance in a game 7 doesn't negate the statistics for Morris.  Sure, he was a good pitcher but he is not hall of fame material. Had Morris retired earlier his chances might improve...  This man has had many chances to be elected and if it takes this long to gain entry into the Hall of Fame, that simply reflects a flawed voting system and some poor candidate selections.  

OK
OK

Morris will get in on the Vets Ballot, sad to say, and you JAWS and acronym candy backsides will spend the next three decades whining about it in cyberspace.

tracejuno
tracejuno

I'm gonna say this in either Morris/Hall piece (and any HoF article that fits):


If it takes fifteen years to determine whether he's a Hall of Famer - he is not a Hall of Famer!

It should be cut down to five years on the ballot.

EasyGoer
EasyGoer

I've now read both your piece and Tom Verducci's.  I have to say I never thought Morris was hall of fame worthy. You have definitely convinced me of that,  but just like Jim Rice, he'll probably get voted in anyway. Morris was never a dominant pitcher for any long period. His stats are very good but not great. No team feared him and even with great run support he still doesn't have overpowering stats.

zeebaneighba
zeebaneighba

After reading this very long article, I concluded that the writer is trying very hard to build a very weak case by using a shovel rather than reason. If he had a good case against Morris, he could have made it much more succinctly. The fact remains that Morris was the dominant pitcher of his era and that fact alone merits his inclusion in the HOF.

It's interesting to note that none of the 1984 Tigers have made it to the Hall, despite some sterling accomplishments. The duo of Alan Trammel and Lou Whitaker, as the longest playing and one of the most effective double-play combinations of all time, is a particularly egregious omission. What it comes down to is the insularity and myopia of coastal sportswriters, who have always demanded a higher standard of performance from HOF candidates who spent their careers with heartland teams rather than the big city teams of the east and west they are obsessed with.

Phillip7
Phillip7

Who would you rather have pitch the deciding game of a World Series?  Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine?  Sucked in playoff games.  Nolan Ryan?  Great individual accomplishments but never performed as well when his teams needed him in a clutch game.  Bert Blyleven?  Please!  Jack Morris was the consummate big game pitcher of his time.  There was no one during his era that was more reliable in a big game.  Baseball is about winning and performing in the clutch.  Period.

STRohrbeck
STRohrbeck

I loved sabermetrics, when it was used to combat the "he has an ugly girlfriend so he can't hit" thinking that used to dominate baseball. When they are used to explain why 254 wins do not qualify for the HOF, they are being used for an entirely different purpose. Mr Jaffe, put down your labtop for a moment and lets look at a non sabermetric, list that is indisputable. Of the top 50 pitchers on the list of all time victories (246 wins +) 35 are in the HOF, 5 pitchers are from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century who had high loss totals and were unimpressive, and 7 are not yet eligible but are coming up the the next several years (including Clemmons and Pettitte). That leaves three in the top fifty not yet in the HOF. Tommy John, Jim Kaat, and Jack Morris. I will skip the vagaries of why John and Kaat are not in and focus on Morris. While your sabermetric argument is interesting, it leaves out one important fact. The voters didn't vote for him long before the dawn of the algorithm age. Why? They don't like him and this is personal.  It's payback for the picture of him in a fur coat that he wore to Minneapolis when he was interviewing teams in 87. For his prickly demeanor with media while he pitched. For he presumed arrogance about his own abilities. They are letting him blow in the wind until he gets to the veterans committee (where he will get in) to teach him a lesson. To reinforce their own power and to give example to all who would cross them. The sad part is saber geeks now give these "gentleman" cover for this petulant behavior with WAR and WHIP. I can't speak for anybody else, but in the 80's there were about 5 guys I would give the ball to day in and day out.....he was one of them. You don't luck your way in 254 wins, you earn them through talent and skill. I grow tired of of bitter old men and computer geeks belittling something so few have accomplished.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

I might speak for pro-Morris supporters in writing that his “(HOF) candidacy rests,” not “largely on his win total (254) (Since when did that figure become “old school?”),” but instead on his big-game performance (7-1 PS prior to ‘92 (TOR)), with that RS wins total acting more as a credibility enhancer, filing fee, so to speak, that gets you into court to make your case.

And if your haughty-taughty, rather cryptic standard on postseason play (“exceptionally clutch”) were applied to current inductees, I fear only Sandy Koufax…wait, there was ‘59 & ’66, only Christy Mathewson would survive your EC cut.  Tinker, Evers & Chance, heck, they wouldn‘t even stand a chance in Jay’s World, sad to write.

Why the steady rise (“surge?”) in Morris’ vote-%?  Maybe less a “reactionary” push-back on sabermetrics (Bert benefited from…Bert) and more likely reflects a voter pool that, in its anger or frustration over what PEDs has wrought, is, at least in Jack’s case, not simply expanding the HOF franchise (Good & Plenty) in hyper-sentimentality (“Bunning,” “Santo,“ etc.), but developing deeper appreciation for clutch play.  It's a theory.

I don’t know what’s been worse for the game of baseball, the greed, PEDs or fantasy having given rise to a plethora of saberheads such as yourself, Jay.  It’ll be sad day indeed if a venture as colorful & complicated as rounders is left in hands of historical caretakers who can only “reason” with numbers, absent “emotion.”

And it’s that absence of “emotion” which I fear will eventually lead saberheads to rationalize & reason their way into finding a means to vote into Cooperstown strongly suspected or proven PED users.  “Goosebumps,” Jay?  Please.

I'd normally apologize for length of my comment, but then, a piece that takes 3000 (?) words to argue against a candidacy, a effort that does not go un-appreciated, deserves some lengthy rebuttals, no? 

MattBugaj
MattBugaj

You know a HOFer when he retires, sometimes before. Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Ichiro, Pujols, Griffey, Reggie Jackson, Greg Maddux, Cal Ripken Jr.

Not Jack Morris and not Craig Biggio.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

A baseball stats site has an algorithm comparing a player's career to the 10 most similar.  For about a decade, the people who ran the site and their fans ranted savagely against Jack Morris. His ERA (a stat they regard with suspicion, if not contempt, unless it suits their needs) and their beloved WAR defined Morris as a bad pitcher. 

Despite WAR and other SABR stats, their own ranking algorithm placed Morris squarely alongside Bob Gibson and a number of others HOF'ers.  Too bad I can't name them, because they changed the program.

That's SABR:  define reality, then rig your equations to make it fit. 

If these guys were in academia, they'd get laughed off the face of the earth because of their sloppy methods.  That is, if they didn't get run off for intellectually unethical practices like writing "objective" algorithms that produce desired results.

John H
John H

"Brought me back to baseball fandom ..." I wonder when Mr. Jaffe left fandom again 'cuz I do not understand how any fan could have Jaffe's apparent need to quantify everything. Takes the fun out of the game. My definition of a Hall of Famer: You know one when you see him play. I grew up watching the 1960s Cubs and never thought Ron Santo was a future Hall of Famer then, and no stat like WAR applied retroactively decades later can make me think he should be a Hall of Famer now. Very good player, but not an all-time great. 

STRohrbeck
STRohrbeck

@EasyGoer So 254 wins is no longer an overpowering stat? He won more games than Whitey Ford (in the hall). Another example of a pitcher who was never overpowering who was clutch when it counted. 


Derek M
Derek M

He was not a dominant pitcher of that era. He was the most durable above average pitcher. Dwight Gooden was dominant, he succumbed to injuries and cocaine, Saberhagen more dominant in his prime injuries Clemens way more dominant than Jack career tainted by late career bad choices. Dave Stieb had a better four year run of stopping hitters 82-85 better than any four year run Morris ever had. Not saying Stieb deserves HOF or better than Morris but he was more dominant, if only for 4 years.

Ericfollowedbyanumber
Ericfollowedbyanumber

@zeebaneighba Morris only makes it this far because Trammell and Whitaker boosted his stats significantly. I'd be even more bothered by Trammell's exclusion if his sterling work gets Morris in while Trammell gets pushed out.

Derek M
Derek M

I'll take Maddog the best since WWII over Morris any day.

Michael10
Michael10

@Phillip7 So "clutch" that he posted a 7.43 ERA in the '92 postseason and couldn't even make the rotation cut in '93? 

If a "clutch" career can be spun out of a single game performance, I guess they're already casting a bronze plaque for David Freese...

Schwing
Schwing

@Phillip7 I seem to recall that Tom Glavine threw eight innings of one-hit ball in the 1995 WS clincher against the potent Indians

Michael10
Michael10

@STRohrbeck It is convenient that you draw your line at 246 wins, one more than Dennis Martinez, and don't specifically mention Jamie Moyer among the upcoming eligibles (by the way, Clemens is already eligible). If your case is built on traditional counting stats rather than advanced metrics, Martinez and Moyer (as well as Chuck Finley) actually represent Morris's most similar contemporaries and give a much less clouded picture of where Morris ranks historically...

STRohrbeck
STRohrbeck

@MattBugaj  Banghartlaw raises an interesting point that goes to the heart of this issue. No other HOF is guarded by such a petulant crew of bitter old men who seem to enjoy flaunting their power over players. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Joe D for christ sake, not unanimous. This is not a debate about Jack Morris. This is really a debate about the ugly, inexcusable campaign by people who don't like him to keep him out of the HOF. I would also suggest you go back and look at the top 50 list of winning pitchers. Not everyone on that list had dominant numbers, but they knew how to win. No one wins 250 games by luck or chance. I just wish the BBWAA would grow up.


banghartlaw
banghartlaw

@MattBugaj Andy Pettitte?  Jorge Pasada?  David Ortiz?  Mike Mussina?  

How do you know?  Nobody has ever been a unanimous pick.  

Derek M
Derek M

@MidwestGolfFanNone of this is probably going to matter, whether or not Jack is worthy I think he has a real hard time making it in this year. The ballot is stuffed, Thomas, Maddux, and Glavine are probably shoeins. Piazza and Biggio had about the same level of support as Jack. The amount of votes he needs is a bigger than the boost Jim Rice received, and Jim Ed was only sharing the ballot with one slam dunk pick (Rickey). There are too many variables working against him. That being said if he misses it, I think he makes it on veterans committee where postseason prowess holds special meaning. (Maz)

Michael10
Michael10

@MidwestGolfFan It's baseball-reference.com -- the Similarity scores are based on Bill James method of comparing traditional counting stats, not sabermetric value.  The same list suggests that the most similar pitchers to Morris from his own era were Dennis Martinez, Jaime Moyer and Chuck Finley. These are probably much better comparisons when determining Morris's ranking in the grand scheme of things...

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

@MidwestGolfFan Sad thing is, MGF, "these guys," like that lesser teacher who haunts the hallways, have that golden ticket called tenure.  Set for life and not going anywhere.  But we'll keep on top of it.

Michael10
Michael10

@STRohrbeck @EasyGoer Morris won 18 more games than Ford (and lost 80 more),, due in large part to missing two full seasons to the Korean War. Considering he has the best winning percentage of any pitcher with 200+ decisions in AL/NL history -- and with two ERA titles and a 2.75 career mark to dispel any run support caveats -- I'd say he pitched like it counted just about every day. Ford also pitched in eleven World Series and won six rings and picked up a Cy Young back when they only gave one per season. 

Jack Morris was no Whitey Ford.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

Sounds like you're one of the people he's condemning.  I second the motion.

Michael10
Michael10

@banghartlaw @MattBugaj Well one question you can ask is would the majority of people outside a player's fan base consider him a Hall of Famer. Pettitte? No. Posada? No. Ortiz? No. Mussina? Probably...