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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bill Madden: Hall Bent

Brings a feeling we might lead
Get the vigilante sabermetric brigade!

Some parting thoughts on the Hall of Fame:

Neither Barry Bonds nor Roger Clemens will be elected, but it would not be surprising if both get at least 50% from the Baseball Writers Association on Jan. 9. If so, that tells me they’re getting in eventually…I have no idea what Jack Morris’ career WAR is, any more than I have any idea what WAR itself is. I only know that the vigilante sabermetric brigade using all its advanced statistic formulas to contrive the case that Morris was somehow not a dominant No. 1 pitcher, probably never saw him pitch. I did, at least 40 times between postseasons and when Morris’ Tigers were in the American League East, and never once was he not the best pitcher in the game that day. … In any other era, from the ’30s through the ’80s, Fred McGriff’s record — 10 seasons of 30 or more homers, the most 20-homer seasons of any first baseman in history (14) 493 all told, two home run crowns, seven 100-RBI seasons and a .303 average with 10 homers and 37 RBI in 50 postseason games — would make him a no-brainer Hall-of-Famer. Unfortunately, in the era he played in he was dominated by players who used performance-enhancing drugs to dwarf his home run totals. It’s why, in my opinion, there was no bigger victim of the steroid cheats than McGriff and why this year I voted for him for the first time and will continue to vote for him for as long as he’s on the ballot.

Repoz Posted: December 23, 2012 at 09:05 AM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 23, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4331365)
I like the Best-pitcher-in-the-game criteria. Finally, Willie Fraser can get his due.
   2. Swedish Chef Posted: December 23, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4331369)
If Morrris seemed so good to contemporary observers, one may wonder why he didn't do well in the voting twelve years ago when his performances was fresher in the minds of the voters. I suspect his surging vote has little to do with observation and more to do with nostalgia and early signs of senility.
   3. JE (Jason) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4331371)
I have no idea what Jack Morris’ career WAR is, any more than I have any idea what WAR itself is.

Only in sportswriting, kids. Only in sportswriting.
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 23, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4331382)
Nobody is getting in this year, huh?
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4331398)
. I only know that the vigilante sabermetric brigade using all its advanced statistic formulas to contrive the case that Morris was somehow not a dominant No. 1 pitcher, probably never saw him pitch.


Since there is little new to offer on this topic I'm curious how many people here saw Morris pitch? I'm 42, 1976 is my first conscious memory of a baseball season and 1978 is when I remember being glued to TV or newspapers so I remember basically his entire career. 84 is a vivid memory as of course is 91.

And I don't think Morris is a hall of famer.
   6. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4331400)
Nobody is getting in this year, huh?


That's my fervent hope. Next year:

Bonds
Clemens
Piazza
Bagwell
Biggio
Schilling
Maddux
Thomas
Glavine
Mussina

10 no-brainers, leaving off

Trammell
Raines
McGwire
Sosa
Kent
Walker

and probably a few other deserving players.
   7. Repoz Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4331408)
Nobody is getting in this year, huh?

With a little over 8% of the vote in...Bagwell leads with just 69.9%
   8. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4331410)
I was an actively engaged baseball fan throughout Jack Morris' career. I saw him pitch many times, including all of his supposedly heroic post-season performances. And I'm not particularly good at all the "advanced statistic formulas." Am I allowed to think that he does not belong in the HOF?
   9. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: December 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4331439)
I saw Morris' ho-hitter from start to finish, so yeah I saw him live at his peakest of peaks.

Morris' did have Hall of Fame stuff, but he really didn't have Hall of Fame command. A bit like Mark Langston from the same era, but Langston had better stuff and was overall probably a little better pitcher (whose best years early were for bad teams).

Generous umps did wonders for him, strict ones caused him problems.
   10. The District Attorney Posted: December 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4331445)
I saw Morris' ho-hitter
Sure you're not thinking of Brett Myers?
   11. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4331452)
With a little over 8% of the vote in...Bagwell leads with just 69.9%


Repoz, could you make a ballot submission thread? As in a place to post writer's ballots as we find them. And make the intro an up to date counter. (as well as a list of which sportswriters ballots you have so that we don't submit duplicates) I've been submitting every new ballot I find as a thread, but many of them don't have anything new to say.
   12. JE (Jason) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4331455)
Since there is little new to offer on this topic I'm curious how many people here saw Morris pitch? I'm 42, 1976 is my first conscious memory of a baseball season and 1978 is when I remember being glued to TV or newspapers so I remember basically his entire career. 84 is a vivid memory as of course is 91.

I recall seeing him lose to Righetti and the Yankees at the Stadium on a weeknight in '83. I watched all nine innings of his no-hitter one year later, albeit on NBC.
   13. Greg K Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4331456)
Since there is little new to offer on this topic I'm curious how many people here saw Morris pitch? I'm 42, 1976 is my first conscious memory of a baseball season and 1978 is when I remember being glued to TV or newspapers so I remember basically his entire career. 84 is a vivid memory as of course is 91.

I'm a Blue Jays fan whose baseball memory starts around 1990. So on the one hand I have the 1991 World Series, and on the other I have his tenure with the Jays. The 8 year old version of me (who had not yet grasped the notion that players age and don't have an intrinsic skill level that remains constant for all eternity) had a very difficult time reconciling those two Morrises
   14. Repoz Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4331463)
Repoz, could you make a ballot submission thread? As in a place to post writer's ballots as we find them. And make the intro an up to date counter. (as well as a list of which sportswriters ballots you have so that we don't submit duplicates) I've been submitting every new ballot I find as a thread, but many of them don't have anything new to say.

I usually put the sticky HOF thread up about 10 days before the announcement...but seeing that this year's ballot is the BIG ONE! Bigger than Samuel Fuller's red one...even bigger than Milton Berle's! I'll be putting it up earlier...so we can dump all findings there. Any help is appreciated.
   15. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4331483)
Morris' did have Hall of Fame stuff, but he really didn't have Hall of Fame command.

You can say that again. Morris has the highest rate of wild pitches per inning of any pitcher who (a) has at least 2500 innings pitched, and (b) played as much as one major league game in which foul balls were counted as strikes.

There's actually a two-part trivia question that comes out of this if anyone wants to bite.

Part 1: Which modern pitcher has the most innings pitched with a wild pitch rate higher than Morris's?

Part 2: Which active pitcher is poised to blow past Morris in this category, provided he lasts through the two relatively healthy years he'll need to clear 2500 innings?
   16. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4331527)
I recall seeing him lose to Righetti and the Yankees at the Stadium on a weeknight in '83.

What part of Bill Madden's 40-for-40 "never once was he not the best pitcher in the game that day" don't you understand?
   17. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4331537)
I'm a 38-year-old who started following baseball in late 1981, really was a baseball nut starting that offseason.

The Jack Morris of my childhood was a guy who was one of the best, always around, a "workhorse" - but I never thought of him as the best pitcher in the AL, or the scariest pitcher my Red Sox would face. There was always somebody who was at least a little bit better at a given moment, like:

Dave Stieb
Steve Rogers
Joacquin Andujar
Fernando
Scott McGregor
Steve Carlton
Rich Dotson
Blyleven
Ryan
Saberhagen
Clemens
Viola
Boddicker
Niekro
JR Richard
Mike Norris
Mario Soto
Rhoden
Floyd Bannister
Charlie Lea

Blah, blah...I'm not saying I thought these guy were better, overall - I'm just saying that at any given moment, I never really thought Morris was the best pitcher in the league, or in baseball. But he kept sticking around, when most of the guys on the list above didn't stick around. I know a lot of people on BBTF say, for example, that Stieb was clearly better than Morris...except Stieb didn't stick around, and there is value to being able to stick around.

I still don't think Morris is a HOF'er, but as a child of the early 1980s, he was one of a couple of guys who was performing when I was a little kid, and still performing when I was out of high school. Not too bad.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4331541)
Part 2: Which active pitcher is poised to blow past Morris in this category, provided he lasts through the two relatively healthy years he'll need to clear 2500 innings?


A.J. Burnett?
   19. Dale Sams Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4331542)
I just realized something that I'm sure has been brought up before but: There seems to be something off with the idea of voting, and announcing who you voted for before others have cast their vote.
   20. baudib Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4331543)
No. 17 is quite instructive. I was following baseball pretty closely at the same time. You never got the sense that Morris was any better than, say, Steve Rogers or Saberhagen. He was a guy in that group, and not particularly better. The guys who stood out were Clemens, Carlton, even Fernando.
   21. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4331546)
I know a lot of people on BBTF say, for example, that Stieb was clearly better than Morris...except Stieb didn't stick around, and there is value to being able to stick around.


Stieb 1979-1990 - 2666 IP 126 ERA+

Morris 1979-1990 - 2891 IP 109 ERA+

Stieb did very little post 1990. Morris had 2 good years and 2 utter crap years. So yeah, he stuck around, for a measly 2 more years. Yes, that has value, but you're really overstating the case.
   22. Peter Farted Posted: December 23, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4331553)
When someone turns in a ballot that just has Jack Murphy on it, I don't see how you can call it anything other than a protest vote. I don't believe it complies with the voting criteria stated in the rules.

Now, if all this nonsense leads to a change in the rules, fine. But if you're going to break the rules, why not form a pact with numerous other writers and commit to sending in blank ballots until something changes - a clarification on the integrity clause, an increase in the number of allowed choices, etc? That, in essence, is like an organized strike, and would hold a lot more power than just this voter and that voter tooting their own horns.
   23. GregD Posted: December 23, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4331558)
When someone turns in a ballot that just has Jack Murphy on it, I don't see how you can call it anything other than a protest vote. I don't believe it complies with the voting criteria stated in the rules.
Yes a ballot with just Jack Murphy on it is totally ridiculous. I mean he already got a stadium named for him. What more does he expect?
   24. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 23, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4331565)
I'm a "small Jack Murphy Stadium" guy. Jack Murphy was a JMoVG, but he doesn't make my personal Jack Murphy Stadium.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4331581)
I saw Morris play (albeit just after his prime) and I was a Tigers fan, and I didn't think he was a HOFer. I thought he was in the next tier with Bret Saberhagen, Frank Viola, Dave Stieb, Orel Hershiser, and a notch below guys like sure-fire HOFers like Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: December 23, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4331582)
I'm just saying that at any given moment, I never really thought Morris was the best pitcher in the league, or in baseball.

Nobody did. He got only a handful of first-place CYA votes in his career and only a handful of votes period. He only made 5 AS games -- generally you only had to be considered one of the 5+ best starters in the league for that honor although there may have been years the Tigers asked for him to not be selected due to his rotation schedule. (i.e. they usually wouldn't pick guys who started Sat/Sun) He did start 3 AS games which suggests the manager that year thought he was the best. One of those three was for Sparky.

And why would anybody think he was dominant? He only led the league in wins twice, IP once (not the same season), Ks once (the same season as IP), shutouts once and, despite his workhorsiness, CGs only once. He never finished better than 5th in ERA.

Morris's HoF case, such as it is, has absolutely nothing to do with dominance. His case is strictly about endurance -- endurance that pales in comparison to lots of pitchers before him and some of the good pitchers after him but, for whatever reasons, did stand out among his contemporaries.
   27. baudib Posted: December 23, 2012 at 06:56 PM (#4331615)
Walt, his case is about endurance, selective end marks ("most wins of the 1980s") and a few very memorable postseason games.
   28. Howie Menckel Posted: December 23, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4331617)

I saw Morris pitch - hell, I still have his Topps rookie card.

He was known as a bulldog, a gamer, a gritty guy who battled. A guy you liked well enough to start on Opening Day to set the right tone (unless you had a truly great pitcher).

I never thought of him as a Hall of Famer, and neither did most of the voters when he first hit the ballot.

   29. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 23, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4331627)
I never thought of him as a Hall of Famer, and neither did most of the voters when he first hit the ballot.

That's the thing. No one thought of him as a HOFer when he was actually pitching. He managed to accumulate 250+ wins for some good teams, but no one thought, "holy crap, this guys is one of the greats"

At least with Saberhagen and Fernando, you'd watch them and just from a casual fan's distance, you could see something special. You'd be thinking, geez if this guy sticks for 15 years, he'll be a HOFer. Morris never elicited this type of sentiment when on the mound.

As 27 points out, the case is terribly selective with the World Series game, the 80's wins, the accumulation of those wins, and now the ridiculously sublime argument of opening day starts! Well if the Tigers had any of those names listed in #17 on the staff in the 80's, I'm sure Morris would have started a lot less opening days.


   30. Peter Farted Posted: December 23, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4331628)
I mean he already got a stadium named for him.

I'm a "small Jack Murphy Stadium" guy.


Now attempting to fix my post.
The "Save" button in edit mode does absolutely nothing.
   31. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 23, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4331634)
Don't worry about it, we all knew you meant Eddie Murphy.
   32. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 23, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4331638)
The "Save" button in edit mode does absolutely nothing.


Posts are only editable for a few minutes, but the edit button doesn't go away like it should when the time is up.
   33. LargeBill Posted: December 23, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4331642)
I'm 51. I watched a lot of Morris' starts including his no-hitter and The Game. I'll admit at times I thought he was damn good as he seemed to have the Indians number and as a Tribe fan I paid more attention to those games. Madden says he saw around 40 of Morris starts and I believe him that he remembers the highlights better than the the average performances. That is the big problem, this fool is relying on his memory and refusing to do what us amateurs do very easily - consult the record of what actually happened on the field (those pesky stats). When I looked at Morris' career in totality it was obvious that my memory of what he did to the Indians was mostly just the fact that I was a fan of a lousy team, and Morris complete career bared little resemblance to my memory of him being pretty good. Madden is actually paid to write about baseball yet he refuses to learn anything about the players he is considering for Hall of Fame enshrinement. Pathetic. His boss should stop paying him since he refuses to do his job!
   34. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 23, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4331650)
the case is terribly selective with the World Series game, the 80's wins, the accumulation of those wins, and now the ridiculously sublime argument of opening day starts!


Don't forget early 90's salary.
   35. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4331655)
I saw Morris pitch, but only on TV since he was an AL guy. He seemed good enough, but I wouldn't have put him up with a true phenom like Gooden, where you'd get the sense on a good day that nobody could hit him even if they got seven strikes and swung a boat oar.
   36. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: December 23, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4331656)
I did [see Morris pitch], at least 40 times between postseasons and when Morris’ Tigers were in the American League East, and never once was he not the best pitcher in the game that day.

Alright. Morris has 527 career regular season starts. 408 for Detroit, who were in the AL East for the entirety of Morris' career. Morris had 13 career postseason starts, but based on Madden's specificity in identifying his attention to Morris as only in Detroit, I think we can safely rule out all but the 4 he started for the Tigers.

In 1984, he started game 1 of the ALCS against the Royals, who started Buddy Black - who had a 128 ERA+ that year in 257 innings (as against Morris' 109 in 240), though to be fair Black gave up 4 ER in 5 IP that day. Then he started Game 1 of the WS against San Diego, who started Mark Thurmond, who had pitched to a 121 ERA+ in 179 IP that year. Though, to be fair, Morris craftily and presciently pitched to the score that day, giving up 2 runs in the first after being staked to a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning, eventually recording the win when Detroit scored 2 in the fifth.

He also started Game 4 of that WS against Eric Show, who was alright, but got killed that day. He also started Game 2 of the '87 ALCS against the Twins and Bert Blyleven. Madden probably didn't catch that game.

So in 4 career postseason starts for Detroit, Morris pitched against one guy he was clearly better than, two guys who have arguments for having pitched better in the season in question, and Bert Blyleven.

It might be interesting to see how many of Morris' 408 regular season starts for Detroit Madden didn't see. Might be interesting, though almost certainly not worth the effort. Also interesting to note that he only saw 10% of the games started by a guy that he was clearly interested in and thought was terrific. In contrast, I'm 100% sure that I watched more than 10% of, for example, Pedro Martinez's 201 starts for the Red Sox, and I don't cover sports for a living.

Also worth noting that Madden has served on the Historical Overview Committee (selection committee for the VC, per wikipedia), and so has a somewhat greater obligation than the average sportswriter to know of what he speaks in this arena.
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: December 23, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4331669)
Also interesting to note that he only saw 10% of the games started by a guy that he was clearly interested in and thought was terrific. In contrast, I'm 100% sure that I watched more than 10% of, for example, Pedro Martinez's 201 starts for the Red Sox, and I don't cover sports for a living.


a) He said "at least 40."
b) That figure is probably referring to the games he saw him throw at the ballpark, rather than a combination of in-person and TV games
c) Considering Jack made 43 career starts against the Yankees, he's probably seen somewhere in the plus-40 neighborhood of live Jack starts.
d) Madden's still a nitwit.
   38. LargeBill Posted: December 23, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4331713)
a) He said "at least 40."
b) That figure is probably referring to the games he saw him throw at the ballpark, rather than a combination of in-person and TV games
c) Considering Jack made 43 career starts against the Yankees, he's probably seen somewhere in the plus-40 neighborhood of live Jack starts.
d) Madden's still a nitwit.


To move these proceedings along, prosecution will stipulate to suppositions (A), (B), (C) and especially (D). However, argument remains that regardless of the percentage of any players games directly observed every BBWAA member given the opportunity to vote for the Hall of Fame has an obligation to consider what the player did in all their games and the only way to do that is to examine the record of happened. We have a fancy word for that Record of What Happened - stats or statistics (if you prefer). Madden's failure to even do a cursory examination of Morris' career is obvious dereliction of duty. Prosecution rests.
   39. DanG Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:39 PM (#4331748)
His case is strictly about endurance -- endurance that pales in comparison to lots of pitchers before him and some of the good pitchers after him but, for whatever reasons, did stand out among his contemporaries.
And endurance that was exceeded by some of his direct contemporaries. Most IP, debuted in the 70's, retired in the 90's:

Rk            Player     IP  WAR ERAFrom   To
1      Bert Blyleven 4970.0 90.7  118 1970 1992
2       Frank Tanana 4188.1 52.6  106 1973 1993
3    Dennis Martinez 3999.2 45.1  106 1976 1998
4        Jack Morris 3824.0 39.3  105 1977 1994
5      Charlie Hough 3801.1 34.8  106 1970 1994 
   40. GregD Posted: December 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4331754)
I am no fan of Morris in the HOF. I don't think his Cy Young vote percentage is a great argument against him, though I know why it's so alluring to use it as a response when writers talk about how respected he was. But on those grounds he has more Cy Young award shares and either more or as many All Star appearances as Blyleven, Niekro, and Sutton. That doesn't change my thinking but is interesting. He doesn't look great by those indicators but those indicators aren't great at showing anything anyway. He's above Steib too for that matter.
   41. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 24, 2012 at 12:02 AM (#4331757)
Someone who is so ignorant that they don't know what WAR is not only shouldn't be voting on the HOF, he shouldn't be writing about baseball.

What a disgrace.
   42. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 24, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4331774)
A.J. Burnett?

Late response on my part. Burnett is indeed correct; he has a career average of 12.4 WP per 200 innings, which easily clears Morris's 10.8. The other answer is Sudden Sam McDowell, who averaged 11.2 WP per 200 over a career that lasted 2492.1 innings.

So Morris's supporters can add this to their campaign posters: Better command than Sam McDowell and AJ Burnett!
   43. Walt Davis Posted: December 24, 2012 at 12:48 AM (#4331780)
I am no fan of Morris in the HOF. I don't think his Cy Young vote percentage is a great argument against him, though I know why it's so alluring to use it as a response when writers talk about how respected he was. But on those grounds he has more Cy Young award shares and either more or as many All Star appearances as Blyleven, Niekro, and Sutton. That doesn't change my thinking but is interesting. He doesn't look great by those indicators but those indicators aren't great at showing anything anyway. He's above Steib too for that matter.

I completely agree but Morris's supporters don't portray him as Niekro or Sutton. They did comp him fairly often to the loser Blyleven when they were both on the ballot.

It would be interesting to know how Morris voters voted on those other guys. Certainly lack of dominance was trotted out against Blyleven and Sutton as reasons not to vote for them (Niekro not so much to my memory). Stat geeks are the only people who ever made a dominance argument for Blyleven and that was all Ks and shutouts. Niekro, Sutton and Blyleven got into the HoF based on endurance, not domination, and I don't recall many arguing much differently.

An honest argument for Morris goes something like this:

From the mid-70s through 80s, there were a number of very good pitchers who didn't achieve greatness. There were some pitchers who showed flashes of greatness but whether injury, drugs, bad luck, they didn't sustain it. The pitcher of that era who had the best combination of quality and quantity was Morris. On its own, his case is borderline at best. But, as the best of his era and a guy with a few great, memorable games and a great reputation, he deserves to be waved in.

That's still a case we can argue strongly against but at least it fits with some facts -- including his early vote totals which are pretty similar to Blyleven, John, Kaat and others who were good but not great and didn't make it to 300 wins.

By the way, CYA votes and especially finishes are pretty much useless as any indicator. CYA awards, strong 2nd place finishes, fine. But they only got to vote for 3 in Morris's day. A couple of second-place votes and 5 third place votes (out of 28 top 3 votes) is enough to get you a 5th place finish in a CYA. Most seasons you and I finished in a tie for 8th place in CYA voting. One suspects that if we looked at Morris's vote totals from writers outside Detroit, they would look pretty meager.
   44. bobm Posted: December 24, 2012 at 01:07 AM (#4331783)
Someone who is so ignorant that they don't know what WAR is not only shouldn't be voting on the HOF, he shouldn't be writing about baseball.

You probably expect a little too much from Bill Madden. See if you can guess the year each Bill Madden column appeared in the NY Daily News?

A. "A Six-pack Vote For The Hall"

The Hall of Fame ballot arrived in the mail the other day [...] Maybe it's true, the older you get the more sentimental you become. All I know is you get 10 spaces on your ballot and I've never filled in more than half of them in any given year - until now, when I voted for six and agonized over two others.

There are probably no more spirited debates anywhere in sports than ones involving the baseball Hall of Fame. Countless books have been written decrying who's in and who should be in, and thousands of campaigns have been launched on behalf of candidates over the years. [...]

Here's this ballot: [...]

6. Jack Morris: Winningest pitcher of the '80s (162 wins, 133 complete games) and a postseason bulldog (4-2, 2.96 in seven World Series starts). His 10-inning, 1-0 win over John Smoltz in Game 7 of the '91 World Series was the second-greatest World Series pitching performance (after Larsen's perfecto) I ever saw. So why Morris, with 254 wins, and not Tommy John (288), Jim Kaat (283) or Bert Blyleven (287)? I really agonized over this, especially since Kaat and John are such terrific and obliging people while Morris was hardly a prince to the media. I guess it comes down to perception: Morris, in my mind, was always the No. 1 pitcher on his staff.


B. "Shut Out Of Hall, They Still Make Their Pitch"


[...] the debate that comes with every Hall of Fame election, mainly who didn't get in and why. Morris, the perennial ace of the Detroit Tigers in the '80s who went on to pitch both the Twins and Blue Jays to world championships in '91 and '92, would seem to have solid Hall of Fame credentials. He won 20 games three times, led the AL in wins twice, shutouts once and strikeouts once.

That Game 7 in '91 [...] proved to be Morris' defining moment as a big-game pitcher. Anyone who witnessed it - Morris and the Braves' John Smoltz matching zeroes through nine innings until the Twins finally won it with a run off the Braves' bullpen in the 10th - would agree it was one of the most riveting World Series games ever.

I've always felt Morris would still be out there pitching if the Twins hadn't scored for him when they did. He was the ultimate baseball warrior. He could also be a jerk - and maybe that had something to do with why he actually lost support in this year's election [...] I'd like to think my voting brethren simply looked at Morris' overall win total of 254 and concluded that if Jim Kaat, Tommy John and Bert Blyleven aren't Hall of Famers with win totals in the 280s, then "Black Jack" must not be, either.

I would humbly suggest he was one of the dominant pitchers of his time who also happened to pitch one of the greatest postseason games I ever saw.


C. "Time To Deck The Hall"
Jack Morris
I suspect "Black Jack" may have rubbed too many writers the wrong way with his often surly nature, given the surprisingly low support [...] he gets. But he was unquestionably a dominant pitcher (254 wins, 173 complete games, 2,478 strikeouts) and was always the ace of his staff. Plus, he pitched and won the greatest World Series game I ever covered (Game 7, vs. John Smoltz, 1991, 10 innings, 1-0.)







A. 1999
B. 2001
C. 2003
   45. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 24, 2012 at 01:31 AM (#4331790)
I hope Morris doesn't get elected this year, partly for the obvious reason, but also partly because it'll put him on a ballot against Mike Mussina next year. Mussina has:

More wins
Fewer losses
A lower ERA (and a lower proportion of unearned runs allowed)
More strikeouts (at a higher rate)
Fewer walks (at a significantly lower rate)
More Cy Young support, including a second-place finish (albeit behind a unanimous winner), despite being matched against a more impressive set of contemporaries
A comparable postseason record, if you can bring yourself to look deeper than GAME SEVEN!

The level of ridiculousness of the columns explaining the inevitably enormous number of Morris yes, Mussina no ballots would reach historic proportions.
   46. beer on a stick Posted: December 24, 2012 at 03:06 AM (#4331818)
As a native Detroiter who was around the park for most of his career, I saw a lot of Morris. Sometimes he was dominant. Other times he was not.

He would also a garish full-length mink coat on early-season road trips.

I vote no, on behalf of dead minks everywhere.

   47. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: December 24, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4332021)
Bill Madden may not know much about sabermetrics but in his defense his books on the history of the Yankees and his biography of Steinbrenner are thoroughly mediocre.
   48. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 24, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4332031)
To add a positive note to the proceedings, I endorse any thread with a "The Move" intro. So much better than the descendant ELO.
   49. I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape Posted: December 25, 2012 at 05:32 AM (#4332178)
To add a positive note to the proceedings, I endorse any thread with a "The Move" intro. So much better than the descendant ELO.


Well, to be fair, the bands only had a little bit of overlap - though there's little doubt in my mind that Roy Wood was a significantly superior talent to Jeff Lynne. Heck, his solo album 'Boulders' is top-50 material.
   50. steagles Posted: December 25, 2012 at 06:14 AM (#4332180)
I have no idea what Jack Morris’ career WAR is, any more than I have any idea what WAR itself is.
it's an acronym. it stands for:

WE
ARE
RIGHT

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