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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Greg Maddux with not be unanimous HOF

Our winning moralizer is Ken Gurnick, a very competent Dodgers beat reporter for MLB.com. Today Gurnick, along with MLB.com’s other writers, revealed their ballots, and out of the 100-something total made public, Gurnick is the very first to leave Maddux off. He has just one name on his ballot: Jack Morris. Here’s his rationale.

“Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Players votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.”

The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:53 PM | 211 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: atlanta, chicago cubs

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   1. zonk Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4632310)
I find it hard to believe that anyone who turns in a ballot with just Jack Morris is competent at anything -- and that would include casting doubt on performing most natural body functions without making a mess of himself.
   2. JRVJ Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4632311)
The gizmo doesn't seem to reflect this ballot yet.
   3. Traderdave Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4632312)
Is there a branch of journalism that is collectively dimmer than sportswriting?
   4. Wahoo Sam Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4632314)
#3 - TMZ
   5. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4632315)
Should have edited the title.
   6. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4632316)
[2] Repoz has a life outside BBTF. It'll be updated soon enough. In the mean time, use the weird_meat HoF tracker: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmkBNPY405WAdFBOUVBhbjNRZjYzbWI2d201bm0tSmc&usp=sharing#gid=7
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4632321)
What kind of thought process do you have to go through to make Jack Morris your posterchild for pre-steroids achievement that doesn't involve a hammer? What really annoys me is that I'm fine with Jack Morris. When I was a wee tyke I thought he was great and seeing his no-hitter on the tube on The Game of the Week was a great thrill. I would be fine with Jack Morris in the Hall even if I wouldn't vote for him personally. But pushing back the tide against idiots like Gurnick forces me to take and anti-Jack Morris stance I don't at all want to take. I feel like there are lessons here about human interaction and why hermits may have the right idea.
   8. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4632322)
Yesterday no one knew who Ken Gurnick was. Today he's edgy and controversial. Genius!
   9. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4632327)
I want to punch something
   10. TJ Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4632328)
Repoz has a life outside BBTF.


What? What? Who said Repoz could have a life outside of catering to the demands of the primates! What a slacker- no HOF for Repoz! He's not gritty enough...
   11. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4632333)
Should have edited the title.


Why, considering the content, it fits with the theme
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4632334)
As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them


Steroids were apparently invented in August 1994.

I guess careers overlapping for 9 years doesn't count as playing in the same era.
   13. JJ1986 Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4632335)
When does he think Jack Morris retired?
   14. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4632338)
Someone should have their ballot taken away.
   15. Riki Tiki Javy Lopez Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4632344)
"Most Valuable Player votes"?!?!?!?
   16. TDF, situational idiot Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4632349)
I submitted this also, with the following commentary:

You knew it would happen. Now you know who.
   17. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4632353)
I really hate bashing Morris, but as Yogi would say, these guys make it necessary.
   18. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4632354)
"Most Valuable Player votes"?!?!?!?

Hey, that 13th in the MVP voting is better than guys like Steve McCatty or Lamar Hoyt ever did.

Oh, wait a minute...
   19. Jeltzandini Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4632356)
Aren't the Bash Brothers A's the most famous, canonical roidiest team of the roid era? Or are we retconning it all to the post-strike McGwire-Sosa chase? Because Morris overlapped with the Bash Brothers, a lot.

In short, this ballot is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

   20. asinwreck Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4632362)
Because Morris overlapped with the Bash Brothers, a lot.

He did, and Thomas Boswell accused Canseco of using steroids during the 1988 season. Using Gurnick's logic, the Dodgers' beat writer was either comatose during the late 80s or is lying now.
   21. salvomania Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4632363)
I wish for the sake of accuracy these guys would write

"As for those who played during the period of PED use, except for the period from 1950-1990 when teams distributed performance-enhancing amphetamines in the clubhouse, I won’t vote for any of them.”
   22. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4632364)
He did, and Thomas Boswell accused Canseco of using steroids during the 1988 season. Using Gurnick's logic, the Dodgers' beat writer was either comatose during the late 80s or is lying now.
Canseco was THE ONLY ONE USING.
   23. Squash Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4632365)
#3 - TMZ

I don't know, there are some very smart people behind TMZ. They know exactly what they're doing, who they're selling to, and believe me have their eyes wide open as to what they're producing. I'd bet a large sum of money that this guy's vote isn't disingenuous at all - he very likely actually believes what he's saying.
   24. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4632367)
Jack Morris: 1977-1994
Alan Trammell: 1977-1996
   25. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4632368)
Yesterday no one knew who Ken Gurnick was. Today he's edgy and controversial. Genius!


If someone posts a video of a kid that falls off a toilet while taking a crap, and lots of people see that video, that doesn't make the kid "edgy and controversial".
   26. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4632371)
Morris overlapped with the Bash Brothers, a lot.

But the A's were a whole other team. Jack Morris was only teammates with a guy who went from 4 to 31 home runs, a guy whose hip exploded at age 33, a guy who took female hormones to make his dreadlocks lush and beautiful, and a guy whose sudden and adorable power surge came from "Froot Loops."
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4632376)
Jack Morris: 1977-1994
Alan Trammell: 1977-1996


Ken Caminiti admits taking steroids for first time in 1996.

Thus, Trammell's as sin-stained as the rest of them*. Jack remains forever a virgin.

* Even if it was just one guy, in the other league.
   28. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4632378)
Is anyone actually surprised by this, because I'm not.

There's always one lurking somewhere just waiting to make some totally random, I'll conceived, irrational point.

Now we have our winner.
   29. philly Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4632384)
Morris played with at least on admitted steroid user. I'm not sure how much national play it ever received, but I heard an interview with Glenn Wilson on local Philly radio and he talked about dabbling with steroids in the 1980s. He was teammates with Morris in 82 and 83 before moving onto the Phils and others.
   30. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4632387)
Looking at the BBWAA's website, Gurnick also went with this Chasshole-matching vote in 2013 (Murray couldn't stick to his guns this year), so this probably shouldn't have come as a surprise.

   31. Traderdave Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4632389)
"As for those who played during the period of PED use, except for the period from 1950-1990 when teams distributed performance-enhancing amphetamines in the clubhouse, I won’t vote for any of them.”


No substance ingested by Andy's childhood heroes was performance enhancing.
   32. JoeC Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4632391)
.
   33. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4632393)
Is there a branch of journalism that is collectively dimmer than sportswriting?


Maybe the guys that write about whatever the Kardashians are doing this week?
   34. AROM Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4632394)
Wow. Somebody had to go an Make Murray Chass look good by comparison.
   35. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4632395)
If someone posts a video of a kid that falls off a toilet while taking a crap, and lots of people see that video, that doesn't make the kid "edgy and controversial".

True, but the kid might think he/she is
   36. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4632401)
If this is the only ballot that leaves off maddux I think this guy will get slaughtered by his peers and the interenet
   37. JoeC Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4632403)
Not that 20-win seasons, CYA and MVP votes are a good argument for the HOF, but if you *do* use them as a sort of proxy for "dominant seasons" and contemporary opinion, Morris really does stack up well. Various non-HOF pitchers:

Pitcher  20-win CYA MVP Sum
Glavine  5 6 5 16
Morris  3 7 5 15
Guidry  3 6 5 14
Mussina  1 9 3 13
Blue  3 5 4 12
Schilling 3 4 4 11
Tiant  4 3 4 11
Stewart  4 4 3 11
McNally  4 3 4 11
Cuellar  3 3 4 10
Cone  2 5 2 9
Gooden  1 5 3 9
John  3 4 2 9
Pettitte 2 5 2 9
Valenzuela 1 4 4 9
Brown  1 5 2 8
Saberhagen 2 3 3 8
Stieb  0 4 3 7
Hershiser 1 4 2 7
Lolich  2 2 3 7
Koosman  2 2 3 7
Sutcliffe 1 3 2 6
Key  0 3 2 5
Reuschel 1 3 1 5
Wells  1 2 2 5
Tanana  0 3 2 5 


The point of this being, most Jack-for-HOF arguments can be refuted using the voter's own methods or logic. This one can't. You have to actually make an argument why those aren't an accurate measure of HOF worthiness.
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4632404)
There's always one lurking somewhere just waiting to make some totally random, I'll conceived, irrational point.


Honestly, I'll be kind of shocked if this is the only guy who didn't vote for Maddux. There are way too many idiots/trolls/protest-voters for that to be the case.
   39. Jeltzandini Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4632405)
But the A's were a whole other team.


Agree with all that, but all of those examples are in the murky area. McGwire and Canseco are decidedly unmurky, and played unmurkily well before Morris's Game 7. In fact they were his division rivals in 1991, finishing 11 games back of the Twins. It was their sixth season as teammates.

   40. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4632409)
Jack Morris abused steroids.

I'm sure of it.
   41. Squash Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4632410)
The steroid era began at least in the early 80s with Brian Downing rumors. By 1988 with Canseco of course many people were aware they were in baseball.
   42. HGM Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4632413)
The point of this being, most Jack-for-HOF arguments can be refuted using the voter's own methods or logic. This one can't. You have to actually explain why those aren't an accurate measure of HOF worthiness.

Yes it can. Part of his logic is that he won't vote for players that played "during the era of PED usage." Greg Maddux's career overlaps with Jack Morris by NINE years. There is no way that Jack Morris didn't "play during the era of PED usage" if Greg Maddux did.

I feel gross even referring to his thought process as "logic" though.
   43. Squash Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4632416)
Is there anybody out there who believes ultimate-gamer Morris never took an amp, especially during the 70s-80s when everyone was high all the time?
   44. JoeC Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4632417)

Yes it can. Part of his logic is that he won't vote for players that played "during the era of PED usage." Greg Maddux's career overlaps with Jack Morris by NINE years. There is no way that Jack Morris didn't "play during the era of PED usage" if Greg Maddux did.


Yeah, defining a "PED era" is a whole different ballgame. I was just talking about his pro-Jack argument, not the anti-Maddux one.
   45. Chris Needham Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4632418)
I think most people around here think the "He's not a first ballot guy, so I'll vote for him next year" thinking is pretty dumb. So how do you square that with caring whether or not Maddux gets 100%? Either way, a Hall of Famer, is a Hall of Famer.

I'm not in any way defending this moron's vote. But at the end of the day, it's not changing the bottom line in any meaningful sense. Voting is a consensus driven process, and the overwhelming consensus -- as it should be -- is that Maddux is an all-time great. The voting reflects that whether he gets 76% or 99%.
   46. Steve Treder Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4632419)
The steroid era began at least in the early 80s with Brian Downing rumors. By 1988 with Canseco of course many people were aware they were in baseball.

Perhaps this is relevant.

Former major league pitcher Tom House used steroids during his career and said performance-enhancing drugs were widespread in baseball in the 1960s and 1970s ...

House, 58, estimated that six or seven pitchers per team were at least experimenting with steroids or human growth hormone. He said players talked about losing to opponents using more effective drugs.

"We didn't get beat, we got out-milligrammed," he said. "And when you found out what they were taking, you started taking them."

House said he gained almost 30 pounds while using steroids, blaming the extra weight for contributing to knee problems. He said the drugs helped improve recovery time and conditioning but did not add velocity to his fastball.
   47. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4632421)
Everyone (literally every single 'roider) started using 'roids at the exact same time (the same week or so, give or take) in the off-season of 1992, which caused home runs and offense in general to skyrocket in 1993.

Therefore, Morris technically DID play in the steroid era.

Additionally, if Morris DIDN'T play in the steroid era, where batters simply had to show up to the game in order to hit dozens of home runs per inning, then why are his numbers so much worse than guys like Pedro, Johan, Schilling, Mussina, who pitched entirely in the steroid era?

Answer: Morris is horrible.
   48. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4632423)
Is there anybody out there who believes ultimate-gamer Morris never took an amp, especially during the 70s-80s when everyone was high all the time?


I believe that Jack Morris abused steroids.

In fact, I am sure of it.
   49. Traderdave Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4632427)
Steroids were legal in the freakin OLYMPICS during House's career, and were openly used & discussed.

But nobody in baseball EVER used em. Ever.
   50. Davo Dozier Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4632430)
A blank ballot would be more defensible, but wouldn't get as much press as this lunacy.
   51. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4632436)
Tom House was like that guy who discovered penicillin in 1897 but nobody noticed. Baseball was completely clean after him until Jose Canseco, and then clean again until Ken Caminiti. Now, thanks to Bud Selig's leadership since the mid-1990s, baseball is clean again.
   52. JoeBlake Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4632442)
So is this guy going to still be considered a "very competent" reporter when in 5 years time he leaves Mariano Rivera off his ballot??
   53. Squash Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4632447)
Perhaps this is relevant.

Agree completely. I'm sure there were guys taking stuff pretty much as far back as the game goes. We've got the Babe Ruth goat testosterone story and such. My guess/recollection is the early-mid 1980s were pretty much the end of when people in/around the game could plausibly say they were unaware of their presence in baseball.

1982 (age 31 season) is when Brian Downing turned suddenly into a different player - the first season I watched baseball was as a little dude during the 1986 postseason (quite a way to start) and there was lots of talk about Downing's physique. His 1986 Topps card was also famous for his bulging biceps. He was the first guy I remember hearing anything about, then Canseco in Boston, which, coming right after Ben Johnson in the Olympics, blew the doors open.
   54. Gamingboy Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4632448)
One: I'm sure Ken Gurnick is a fine individual who just has made a bad mistake.

Two: That being said, this is the stupidest effing ballot I've ever effing seen.
   55. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4632450)
So according to b-r Seaver got 98.8% of 430 ballots, which is 425 out of 430 ballots. (Actually 425/430 comes out to .988636 which I'd have rounded up to 98.9%, but whatever.)

Last year there were 569 ballots, so assuming arguendo that there are 569 ballots submitted this year (I know there very likely won't be exactly that number), Maddux would have to be named on 563 of them to eclipse Seaver's percentage. 563/569 would be .989455. (In b-r's math that's 98.9% but in real math convention it rounds up to 99.0%.)

So Maddux can still miss on 5 more ballots.

Or maybe just 4 depending on how many ballots end up being submitted.


   56. The District Attorney Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4632453)
So is this guy going to still be considered a "very competent" reporter when in 5 years time he leaves Mariano Rivera off his ballot??
I would think that, if Gurnick is the only guy submitting blank ballots... and if he does it year after year after year... eventually, the powers that be will give him the world's most unsubtle hint that he needs to start voting for someone. And if he doesn't take their advice, they'll yank his ballot.

If there are several people submitting blank ballots, then it's safety in numbers. But if you put a target on your back, and you're the only target, you're probably going to get shot.
   57. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4632454)
What kind of thought process do you have to go through to make Jack Morris your posterchild for pre-steroids achievement that doesn't involve a hammer? What really annoys me is that I'm fine with Jack Morris. When I was a wee tyke I thought he was great and seeing his no-hitter on the tube on The Game of the Week was a great thrill. I would be fine with Jack Morris in the Hall even if I wouldn't vote for him personally. But pushing back the tide against idiots like Gurnick forces me to take and anti-Jack Morris stance I don't at all want to take. I feel like there are lessons here about human interaction and why hermits may have the right idea.


The thing is, he IS actually pretty bad. I wouldn't feel bad if I were you.

His comps are laughable.
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4632457)
the 'nobody will be unanimous' will be another relic of hof voting that will likely be eradicated in another 10 years or so as the voter population continues to turn over.

the newer voters find this 'tradition' stupid by all accounts. so the old guard only has so many more votes to keep it up.

peds gives them something of an excuse

but fundamentally, i think the biggest catalyst for more rational voting will be death.

   59. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4632459)
Jack Morris's career high fWAR was 5.9 in 1983.

Borderline HOFers who put up more than one season of 5.9 fWAR (number of times):
Curt Schilling (5)
Johan Santana (3)
Mike Mussina (3)
John Smoltz (2)

Non-HOFers with marginal to no BBWAA support who put up more than one season of 5.8 fWAR:
Kevin Brown (6!)
Dwight Gooden (3)
Ron Guidry (3)
Brett Saberhagen (3)
Mark Gubizca (2)
Teddy Higuera (2)
Fernando Valenzuela (2)
J.R. Richard (2)
Steve Rogers (2)
Kevin Appier (2)
Greg Swindell (!) (2)

Modern(-ish) guys who will probably never get near the HOF and have put up far better seasons than Jack Morris:
Cliff Lee (4)
Dan Haren (2)
Brandon Webb (2)
Roy Oswalt (2)
Jason Schmidt (2)
Tim Lincecum (2)

Jon Lester, Josh Johnson, Josh Beckett, Ubaldo Jimenez, Tim Hudson, and Zack Greinke have also dominated seasons unlike Morris ever did. However, unlike Morris, they will not ever receive 70% of the HOF vote.
   60. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4632460)

So is this guy going to still be considered a "very competent" reporter when in 5 years time he leaves Mariano Rivera off his ballot??


Unless I missed something who's considering this dunce competent? As for leaving Mo off his ballot; even as a Yankee fan that wouldn't be anywhere near as egregious as leaving Maddux off. This is like omitting Tris Speaker or Rogers Hornsby from your ballot.
   61. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4632462)
da

there are multiple writers who will be similar to this rufus and for some time in the future.

it's a motivated minority

it's pathetic
   62. MelOtt4 Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4632468)
The entire MLB.com voting block is a joke. Jack Morris gets more votes than anyone besides Maddux, Glavine, and Biggio.
   63. AROM Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4632472)
The steroid era began at least in the early 80s with Brian Downing rumors.


Were there actually Brian Downing steroid rumors in print back then? What I remember, there was a lot of talk about his weight training, but if steroids were mentioned it was in code. Which could have been the case that it went over my 1982 self's 11 year old head. I calling someone a "muscle beach specimen" code for "probable steroid user"?

As far as unambiguous Downing rumors, my recollection is they came to be in the aftermath of the 2001+ period where suddenly people cared about steroids, and wondered "Canseco, Bonds, and McGwire can't be the first to have done this, what other players from the past should we be suspicious of?"

While it's possible there were things said and written, Downing has been my favorite player since 1982, and I named my cat after him. I've followed his career pretty closely and have never passed by any article I could find written on him.

That being said, SI has done the world a great service making all their old content both accessible and searchable. Off to the vault!
   64. alilisd Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4632477)
The point of this being, most Jack-for-HOF arguments can be refuted using the voter's own methods or logic. This one can't. You have to actually make an argument why those aren't an accurate measure of HOF worthiness.


Which is quite easy. His 21 wins in 1992 were a fluke, the residue of run support, not great pitching. This is easily demonstrated by both his run support, 5.56 runs per game, and by his results when having pitched poorly. In his 6th start he allowed 5 earned runs and won. In his 15th start he allowed 7 earned runs and won. In his 17th start he allowed 6 earned runs and won. In his 20th start he allowed 5 earned runs and won. In his 23rd start he allowed 6 earned runs and won. He also had another win in a start where he gave up 4 earned runs. He also had three no decisions in games where he gave up 4 or more earned runs (only one loss and two no decisions in games where he gave up 3 or fewer earned runs).

Look at the actual results of Cy Young voting, not simply when he received a vote. At the time writers listed three names on the ballot with the first place receiving 5 points, then 3, and finally 1 point. In 1984 he received 1 point and finished behind two other pitchers on his own team. So one guy thought he was the third best pitcher in the league. In 1986 he received 13 points but no first place votes. At best that was four second place votes and one third place. In 1987 he received three points (either one second place or three third place votes) and finished behind another pitcher on his own team. In 1992 he received 10 points and actually did get one first place vote, but we've already destroyed the myth of 1992. In 1981 he did receive 21 points, but no first place votes. In his entire career he received only six first place votes. That's six writers out of the 196 who cast ballots during the seven years he received votes, or 3.1%, who thought he was even the best pitcher in his league. This clearly demonstrates the writers of his time did not consider him to be even the best pitcher in his league in any year of his career.

MVP votes? Not a single first place vote, never higher than 13th. Really?
   65. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4632480)
robin yount had veiled accusations in his direction with the word 'nautilus' put in quote marks by writers. for those not aware yount became visibly stronger between 1978-1980 (like downing) and his power numbers spiked.

nobody used steroids and peds was certainly not in the lexicon. but there were periodic remarks that questioned how this change transpired

i heard the same comments about downing though to arom's point cannot recall anything written. but certainly it was something chatted about within baseball. meaning 'how did he do it?'
   66. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4632482)
I would be fine with Jack Morris in the Hall even if I wouldn't vote for him personally. But pushing back the tide against idiots like Gurnick forces me to take and anti-Jack Morris stance I don't at all want to take. I feel like there are lessons here about human interaction and why hermits may have the right idea.


Nail-head, I'm consciously trying to avoid bashing Jack Morris, because besides it being just bad form, I always liked him and respected his ability during his career. He also gave me one of my greatest non-Yankee thrills with his performance in "The Game" because I adopted the Twins during the playoffs that year and chose the Braves as the team to hate.
That being said, these guys just can't help challenging what I consider proper voting etiquette which in turn compels me to defend common decency. If Jack Morris gets caught in the cross fire, so be it.
   67. The Good Face Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4632485)
Non-HOFers with marginal to no BBWAA support who put up more than one season of 5.8 fWAR:
Kevin Brown (6!)


I don't like fWAR for pitchers, but he's pretty damn impressive by bWAR too. A consecutive 5 year peak where he averaged 7.3 WAR. Man did Brown get screwed.
   68. Traderdave Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4632490)
Was Morris particularly glib & quotable? Could that explain why so many writers vote for him?
   69. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4632491)
There were several steroids comments made as jokes in "The Running Man" released in 1987.

The idea that players just suddenly starting using this newfangled thing called steroids around 1995 is moronic.
   70. AROM Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4632492)
Found this in the vault, from 8/2/1982:

"And what about batting Carew second, with natural No. 2 hitter Foli down in the eighth position? Carew is still noted for pure hitting, not for taking pitches or hitting to the right side. "If we had a leadoff man like Omar Moreno, Foli would bat second," says Mauch. "He'd stand up there, wait until Moreno stole second and then move him to third. But we don't have a leadoff hitter like that." (Downing has stolen just one base.) So Mauch expects Carew to move Downing with hits and sacrifices."

I loved that 1982 Angel team. But man, they are lucky their personnel did not fit with Mauch's preferences. Instead of Moreno (.292 OBP) and Foli (.273), Mauch had to do as best he could with Downing (.368) and Carew (.396) at the top of the order. Otherwise Reggie Jackson would have hit 39 homers with 67 RBI that year.
   71. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4632495)
Morris put up three "dominant" seasons of 3.8 fWAR or better. Wow! Whattaguy.

There have been 542 3.8 fWAR seasons since 1977 (Morris's debut).

There were 391 3.8 fWAR seasons during Morris's tenure as the Game's Most Feared Pitcher (1977-1994).
   72. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4632497)
Was Morris particularly glib & quotable? Could that explain why so many writers vote for him?


No, he was kind of a prick. He didn't reach Jim Rice level in his antagonism toward the writers (another guy whose support exceeded his efforts), but he was not some guy they adored.

   73. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4632501)
No, he was kind of a prick. He didn't reach Jim Rice level in his antagonism toward the writers (another guy whose support exceeded his efforts), but he was not some guy they adored.

Ironically, Bert Blyleven and Dan Quisenberry were "characters". Who didn't like Dan Quisenberry?
   74. The District Attorney Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4632502)
I do think, though, that the writers romanticize players who come off as "tough guys." Since this is a quality that is a lot easier to spin as a positive when a guy's career is over than it is when you have to live with him every day, it rather amusingly causes the writers to give undue support to guys whom they didn't even like personally. I think this has worked in favor of Rice, Morris and Lee Smith. I expect it to work in favor of Sheffield as well, somewhat (though not entirely) counteracting the PED "character" issue.

(On the opposite side, consider A-Rod. Being the opposite of a "tough guy", i.e. super eager to please, is a huge part of why he is treated with disdain.)
   75. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4632503)
Morris did have the 103rd best ERA- of the 80's when he put up a 77 in juiced-ball 1987.

During Jack's stunning run from 1985-1987 he was the 12th, 6th, and 6th best pitcher in the AL by ERA-.

Sounds pretty Hall-worthy to me!
   76. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4632505)
Yea, this is what surprises me about all the support he gets. He was an ornery guy, so what are sportswriters just a masochistic bunch?
   77. BDC Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4632507)
Man did Brown get screwed

All the way to the bank :)

Nah, of course, here are comps for Brown, centered on him in terms of ERA+ and Starts. There are very few close comps, because his record is so good:

Player            WAR  GS ERA+   W W-L%  SV     IP
Bob Gibson       81.9 482  127 251 .591   6 3884.1
Curt Schilling   80.7 436  127 216 .597  22 3261.0
Kevin Brown      68.7 476  127 211 .594   0 3256.1
John Smoltz      66.6 481  125 213 .579 154 3473.0
Bob Feller       65.2 484  122 266 .621  21 3827.0
Juan Marichal    61.8 457  123 243 .631   2 3507.0
Don Drysdale     61.3 465  121 209 .557   6 3432.0
Whitey Ford      53.9 438  133 236 .690  10 3170.1 


That's not even the outer circle of the HOF: that's your basic list of great pitchers.
   78. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4632508)
Thickie, we get it, man, we get it!
   79. The Good Face Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4632510)
No, he was kind of a prick. He didn't reach Jim Rice level in his antagonism toward the writers (another guy whose support exceeded his efforts), but he was not some guy they adored.


Yeah, he was kind of a sullen, terse guy with the media. Much more of a Jim Rice type than the Pedro or David Wells/Rod Beck type. Maybe HOF voters are most attracted to rough, tough bad boys?
   80. Wahoo Sam Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4632511)
#59 - Thanks for sharing that list. Interesting, and evidence that based on the numbers, Morris was not exceptional when compared to many pitchers who have not received much HOF consideration.

Which brings me to this: if the numbers so clearly show that Jack Morris is NOT a HOF caliber pitcher, but well over 60% of the voters say otherwise, is there something outside your sabermetrics that has validity in gauging the candidacy of a player?

To put it another way: are all those writers just effin stupid, while BBTF's legions are genius, or could there possibly be something that cannot be measured that would lead the writers to support Morris? I'm curious if there is any way anyone in the sabermetric camp would allow such a measurement to be considered. It seems obvious that 60+% of the electorate disagrees with the sabermetric crowd, so what do they see that you do not? Or, what is it that you are refusing to consider? The "great debate on Jack Morris" might boil down to the writers being willing to consider your numbers but to also look at something that cannot be measured. While the sabermetric camp is only willing to look at it based on the tools they value.

Not saying I agree, but I wonder what the reaction is to that.
   81. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4632514)
Sorry, Shooty.

I just hate Morris (because of the BBWAA).

I can't get enough anti-Morris stats.
   82. Squash Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4632515)
I do think, though, that the writers romanticize players who come off as "tough guys." Since this is a quality that is a lot easier to spin as a positive when a guy's career is over than it is when you have to live with him every day,

I think this is exactly it. At the time it's "what a prick", but 15 years later it's "boy, he was one tough n' ornery SOB" in a sort of toughest-cowboy-in-the-bar manner, which people admire.
   83. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4632516)
Former major league pitcher Tom House used steroids during his career and said performance-enhancing drugs were widespread in baseball in the 1960s and 1970s ...

House, 58, estimated that six or seven pitchers per team were at least experimenting with steroids or human growth hormone. He said players talked about losing to opponents using more effective drugs.

"We didn't get beat, we got out-milligrammed," he said. "And when you found out what they were taking, you started taking them."

House said he gained almost 30 pounds while using steroids, blaming the extra weight for contributing to knee problems. He said the drugs helped improve recovery time and conditioning but did not add velocity to his fastball.


Tom House was like that guy who discovered penicillin in 1897 but nobody noticed. Baseball was completely clean after him until Jose Canseco, and then clean again until Ken Caminiti. Now, thanks to Bud Selig's leadership since the mid-1990s, baseball is clean again.

Tom House is also a guy who wrote a fascinating tell-all book in 1989** that devoted an entire chapter to drugs in baseball, and yet for some strange reason never once mentioned a single word about steroids. He found room to talk about greenies, cocaine, alcohol, coffee, marijuana, muscle relaxants, crack, diet pills, banana peels***, and even dirty gym socks****, but not one mention, reference, or allusion of or to the drug he now claims was so widespread back then. Maybe it was all that crack and gym socks that made him lose his memory.

**The Jock's Itch: The Fast-Track Private World of the Professional Ballplayer

***Smoking banana peels was a ritual first popularized by the pop singer Donovan's "Mellow Yellow", providing one of the greatest examples of the power of put-on suggestion in history, and being further proof of the basic retardation of a large segment of the Baby Boomer population. (smile)

****which he says were smoked
   84. DA Baracus Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4632517)
So is this guy going to still be considered a "very competent" reporter when in 5 years time he leaves Mariano Rivera off his ballot??


Doesn't look like you'll have to worry about it. He said that he will abstain from Hall of Fame voting going forward.
   85. ThickieDon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4632522)
#59 - Thanks for sharing that list. Interesting, and evidence that based on the numbers, Morris was not exceptional when compared to many pitchers who have not received much HOF consideration.

Which brings me to this: if the numbers so clearly show that Jack Morris is NOT a HOF caliber pitcher, but well over 60% of the voters say otherwise, is there something outside your sabermetrics that has validity in gauging the candidacy of a player?


Hey WAHOO SAM!

I'm not a hardline fWAR or bWAR guy or anything either, and to be honest, I wouldn't be as anti-Morris if all these other guys had gotten as much HOF support.

He's an ok candidate. Lots of innings, lots of wins, good postseason stuff. Sure the 3.90 career ERA which was only 5% better than the league is pretty bad, but he ate innings and did ok in the postseason (sometimes).

His stretch from 1985-1987 was pretty great, and although a 3-year stretch of 125 ERA+ (and a career high ERA+ of 133) is nothing to get worked up about, he did eat innings and get W's.

The main thing is that like 20-30 pitchers from his era alone are equally or more deserving of the Hall, based on a number of factors (not just WAR, also peak value, ERA+, strikeouts, etc.).
   86. GregD Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4632526)
Which brings me to this: if the numbers so clearly show that Jack Morris is NOT a HOF caliber pitcher, but well over 60% of the voters say otherwise, is there something outside your sabermetrics that has validity in gauging the candidacy of a player?

To put it another way: are all those writers just effin stupid, while BBTF's legions are genius, or could there possibly be something that cannot be measured that would lead the writers to support Morris? I'm curious if there is any way anyone in the sabermetric camp would allow such a measurement to be considered. It seems obvious that 60+% of the electorate disagrees with the sabermetric crowd, so what do they see that you do not? Or, what is it that you are refusing to consider? The "great debate on Jack Morris" might boil down to the writers being willing to consider your numbers but to also look at something that cannot be measured. While the sabermetric camp is only willing to look at it based on the tools they value.


Reasons why Morris:
1) Lack of long-career excellent starting pitchers in his era. The guys who were in his zone were better than him but had careers that look short for the HOF. So he was kind of the last man standing, and people naturally if not rationally think there's something to "best of his generation"
2) Truly amazing World Series feat
3) Some tailwind from Blyleven's rise up the ballot (even though he's a very different candidate)

Your question is a reasonable one. I don't think it applies to Morris for a few reasons.

First, BBTF posters share the view of writers at the time as they expressed themselves. Writers gave him very few Cy Young votes; he's behind a lot of mediocre pitchers, even of his generation, in CY voting. Cy Young voters can be foolish, and are all the time. And BBTF people point out players who were underappreciated. But the argument for Morris is that he was appreciated as the best of his time, and the evidence from the writers shows this is not so.

Second, very few pro-Morris writers have asked the hard questions that come from comparing Morris to Dennis Martinez or Jim Kaat or Tommy John, much less someone like Mike Mussina.

BBTF posters--like any human beings--should try to respond to honest, open-minded arguments. But no one has yet made an argument for Morris that acknowledged the incontrovertible fact that he wasn't especially well-regarded in contemporary voting and doesn't on his face stack up well with many pitchers who received only marginal HOF support.
   87. bunyon Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4632529)
Andy, by 1989, steroids were taboo enough that a guy wouldn't confess to it. The other stuff was charmingly bad.

I think most people around here think the "He's not a first ballot guy, so I'll vote for him next year" thinking is pretty dumb. So how do you square that with caring whether or not Maddux gets 100%? Either way, a Hall of Famer, is a Hall of Famer.

I'm not angry but insofar as I still care about the HOF (less and less), it is pretty stupid that a guy like Maddux isn't 100%. Of course, it's stupid that Hank Aaron wasn't 100% or any number of other guys. But the fact that there are voters this stupid and that the main group of voters mostly just gives them a pass makes the whole process look suspect.
   88. The District Attorney Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4632530)
are all those writers just effin stupid, while BBTF's legions are genius
Please stop with this. I'll answer your question without reciprocating your snotty attitude (well, beyond this intro anyway).

I think that, in approximate order of significance:

1) The HOF has inducted one MLB starting pitcher since 1999; Morris, conveniently enough, came on the ballot in 2000. This seems weird to writers, many of whom think ballots should be balanced, especially at a position as basic as SP. Naturally, if one feels that way, it seems like more and more of an injustice every succeeding year that a SP isn't elected. And the guy who was elected is Blyleven, who honestly was probably less regarded as a "star" in his time than Morris was, so he didn't mollify these folks much.

2) Morris has 250+ wins. That's an area where players are normally elected into the HOF, unless they're perceived as extreme "compilers." Because Morris was the ace of a good team, and because Stieb and Blyleven got bad run support/Saberhagen and Gooden got hurt/etc. and thus there wasn't any one specific guy who consistently looked better than Morris, Morris is not perceived as a compiler.

3) Morris also has a really good winning percentage.

4) Questions about how he got those wins and winning percentage are quelled because the narrative of Morris being a "winner" rings true. As mentioned in #74, he was perceived as a gruff, gritty guy.

5) Pre-1994, everyone pretty much accepted that even a great player could, through no fault of his own, never even make the postseason at all. Actual championships won were still deemed important. But people didn't really dissect postseason performance, because it represented few players and few games. Now, it's the opposite. Every year, most of the good teams make the playoffs, and there are a whole bunch of playoff games played. After 20 years of that state of affairs, "postseason moments" are playing a larger role in the voting.

6) Although I think it makes no sense at all to say backlash against sabermetrics is the main reason for Morris' support, I think Chass and Gurnick do make it clear that some guys are voting for Morris for essentially entirely symbolic reasons.
   89. AROM Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4632534)
The "great debate on Jack Morris" might boil down to the writers being willing to consider your numbers but to also look at something that cannot be measured.


I would love to consider it, but the voters give us reasons ranging from: "His ERA was inflated because he pitched in the steroid era" to "I vote for Morris but nobody else because I won't vote for the steroid era".

You've got Sugarbear, whose arguments pretty much come down to Morris having ace-ability, the kind of talent that normally means a 125 ERA+, but he only pitched like that at the end of (some) pennant races and (some) world series. I don't believe that's true, and even if it were I don't find that very flattering of the player.

The whole "pitch to the score" thing has been thoroughly debunked.

Give me an argument that makes sense and I'm all ears. But make sure you're consistent - if it depends on a big postseason bonus then you better tell me why Morris gets this bonus but Hershiser doesn't. If it depends on strong value to big inning totals then why Morris and no Dennis Martinez, or Tommy John?
   90. zonk Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4632539)
There were several steroids comments made as jokes in "The Running Man" released in 1987.


What do you think they injecting the evil Ivan Drago/Dolph Lundgren with via hypodermic needle in 1985's Rocky IV? Vitamins?
   91. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4632540)
I do think, though, that the writers romanticize players who come off as "tough guys." I think this has worked in favor of Rice, Morris and Lee Smith. I expect it to work in favor of Sheffield as well, somewhat (though not entirely) counteracting the PED "character" issue.


Man, Sheffield was a pain in the ass. The guy acted like he was playing in a KKK league. Bill James wrote something about him in one of his earlier books when Sheff was just getting his feet wet. He compared him to Dick Allen, which turned out to be pretty accurate, and talked about guys with emotional problems don't usually fare too well in baseball. I guess he was partially right when you consider how much he moved around, but on the other hand, it's hard to say he didn't have a successful career.
He was a hell of a hitter and similar to Jack Clark, he went from a guy who didn't walk much to a 100+ a year guy without all the strikeouts, in fact he never struck out more than 83 times.

As far as the HOF, other then Jeter nobody takes a bigger hit than Sheffield when it comes to fielding. He goes from 80.1 oWAR to 60.4 WAR.
140 OPS+ in `11,000 PA is pretty damn impressive, so unless you dock for PED suspicion, he's looks to be over the line.
   92. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4632545)
are all those writers just effin stupid, while BBTF's legions are genius

Please stop with this. I'll answer your question without reciprocating your snotty attitude (well, beyond this intro anyway).


I could be wrong, but I took it as more of a devils advocate kind of thing?
   93. BDC Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4632547)
could there possibly be something that cannot be measured that would lead the writers to support Morris?

If there is, I don't see the writers speaking to that. Morris didn't try to fly earthquake relief to Nicaragua or put his arm around Jackie Robinson or anything. He was the winning pitcher in a lot of regular-season games and in a big World Series game. But so were Jim Kaat and Tommy John. Objectively speaking, Morris had a very good, but not outstanding, pitching career. I think that the pro-Morris writers are simply focusing (as others have noted) on a couple of the most positive measurements of that career and basing their votes on that, without weighing the case.

As with Rice, one almost wishes he'd go in, so that this debate would be over and one could go back to simply comparing careers rather than skirmishing at the Hall gates.
   94. zonk Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4632548)
Give me an argument that makes sense and I'm all ears. But make sure you're consistent - if it depends on a big postseason bonus then you better tell me why Morris gets this bonus but Hershiser doesn't. If it depends on strong value to big inning totals then why Morris and no Dennis Martinez, or Tommy John?


If I were to build a case for Morris -- and in a previous Jackmo thread, walking through the ballots since he's been on them, I never had him higher than 12th -- my argument would be exactly this... That the hall has been too stingy with 'modern' SPs and that guys like Hershiser, El Presidente, TJ, Kaat, et al were screwed and deserved to be elected.... The argument falls apart as the Maddux's, Glavines, and other surefire Hall of Famers come onto the ballot -- but I think the best argument for Morris is that we need more pitchers to represent the modern era. Sure, there are better candidates than Morris to represent the era - but Morris' argument is bound to era + amorphous 'Fame' from the era.
   95. pikepredator Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4632550)
Wahoo: Bear in mind that although 60% of voters say Yes NOW, they didn't 15 years ago. When Morris first entered the ballot and the memories of his exploits were fresh in the minds of HOF voters, they agreed (except for a small minority) that he was NOT a HOFer. Absent a Jim-Rice style campaign, his support has grown over the years - even though the more one examines his record, the less he looks like a HOFer! If it was strictly Morris' reputation that makes him hall-worthy, I don't understand why his initial vote total was so low. So as you point out, something either led the writers to change their minds and decide he is a HOFer after all, or something has led voters to check his name even though they don't think he's actually a HOFer. The first is a vote on Morris' merits. The 2nd is using a vote for Morris as a proxy for a larger statement.

The question is, what has changed during those 15 years that has led to more people checking the box next to Morris' name? The rise of analytics is the easy knee-jerk answer, but I think it's more involved than that. As has been pointed out ad nauseum, people decide to vote for Morris, and then make up a reason that doesn't stand up to scrutiny but does permit the voter to bask in the illusion of intellectual honesty. I believe (and some of the recent Morris voters have bloviated as much) that many of the votes for Morris are statements much larger than simply "Jack Morris deserves to be in the HOF".

Edit: Beverages of choice to Greg and DA
   96. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4632557)
@TracyRingolsby: @ladodger34 @mike_petriello @dodgerscribe Not as a columnist. Doesn't matter where. Don't know that I wrote anti-PED anywhere.


I got in a little twitter catfight with Rigonsby his above quote was a response to my asking him if he ever wrote an anti-PED column prior to testing. I'm damn sure that Gurnick never said anything about LoDuca or Gagne in the early aughts.
   97. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4632558)
And the HOF voting village has found it's idiot!
   98. alilisd Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4632560)
Wahoo Sam, I believe it is largely a vote based on narrative, but the narrative is not supported by the facts. It's a post hoc narrative (Most wins of the 80's!) which ignores evidence contradicting it (he pitched the entire decade for the team which won the second most games of the 90's). There are more examples, but hopefully you're familiar with them.

The other basis, I believe, was identified by GregD. There were other better pitchers from the 80's (itself an artificial construct as Morris's "era" created by using cherry picked starting and ending points), but they burned out early. It seems reasonable there has to be a HOF pitcher from the 80's, so when those who actually had a HOF peak didn't have the career length of a HOF pitcher, the writers fall back on Morris.

So, yes, the writers are seeing something many BBTF readers are not seeing, but I don't believe it has any validity or that it results in a HOF quality career.
   99. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4632562)
And the HOF voting village has found it's idiot!


Until the next one. This ain't over yet.
   100. GregD Posted: January 07, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4632570)
I may be in a minority here but I separate Morris from Jim Rice. Not in the sense that I would have voted for Rice--I wouldn't have--but in the sense that I at least understand his narrative. Did Jim Rice seem like an HOFer in the 70s-early 80s? Absolutely. he was top 5 in the MVP voting 6 times and is 31st all-time in MVP voting. Especially after his good 1986, he seemed prime to roll into his very late 30s and get some compiler stats to pile up on that.

And if Rice had aged more normally, if he had, say, put up 3 more meh years like 1988 and then collapsed at age 39 instead of age 36, his counting stats probably would have driven him to a much-quicker inclusion. He would have had, say, 430-450 HRs, 2850 hits, 1700 RBIs, enough to make him feel like an HOFer to the writers who remembered his big years. He wouldn't have been more valuable but he would have felt like an HOFer. (And if he had put up 3 more years like 1986, he not only would have been an easy HOFer but would have received a lot more support here, too.)

Instead he collapsed quickly and in a way that made him look unimpressive, especially as his teammate Evans became the ageless wonder. And that hurt Rice's narrative.

It took time for people to revive Rice's narrative (and in part steroids helped him gain support) but in fairness to him it was a revival, not an invention. Most people believed he was a genuinely great player in the late 70s/early 80s.

It turned out as we got more attuned to walks and double plays and the like, that Rice seemed not as great as we imagined. Fine, but not superlative. One could engage with a writer on those terms. Why Rice and not Dave Parker is a reasonable question.
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