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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Holmes: Will ’13 be lucky Hall of Fame year for Jack Morris?

You’re Gonna Miss Me…When I’m Off the Ballot!

One possibility is that Morris will get lost in the shuffle. As the Baseball Writers spread their votes out to the new candidates (voters can select up to 10, but most choose between 3-7), Morris might lose ground. Bonds and Clemens, with their very public trials over steroid use, are not going to get enough votes to make it. Piazza has only been rumored as a steroid user, but without any automatic numbers that voters seem to love (500 homers, for example), Piazza will likely have to wait just as Gary Carter did. Biggio, with more than 3,000 hits on his record and never a hint of controversy, should get enough support on his first ballot. But it’s unlikely writers who voted for Morris this year will not vote for him just because Biggio is on the ballot. Schilling is an interesting case – he will be compared to Morris, no doubt. Like Morris, Schilling didn’t win 300 games. Like Morris, Schilling’s best case for the HOF is his post-season resume and his durability and dominance over many seasons as a strikeout pitcher. Also like Jack, Schilling had a personality that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Morris was cranky and treated many sportswriters like dirt; Schilling was self-promoting and verbose. But there’s no question that both were pre-eminent hurlers of their times. Some voters may choose to hold back their votes for Morris with Schilling on the ballot if they feel that the latter is more deserving.

However, history shows us that Morris has a very good chance of being elected in 2013. In 2010, Bert Blyleven finished second in HOF voting, he was elected the next year in his 14th chance. Similarly, in 1997 Don Sutton was runner-up and was elected on the following year’s ballot, and in 1990 both Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins finished second in voting before earning induction on their next try. It’s quite possible that the 382 voters who checked the box next to Morris’ name on this year’s ballot will do so again in 2013. If history holds, enough voters who didn’t select him before, will be convinced by the majority to do so.

Repoz Posted: July 31, 2012 at 07:35 AM | 344 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, tigers

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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 31, 2012 at 07:52 AM (#4196760)
I expect Morris will fall short in 2013. The stacked ballot is going to hurt him, and he needs a second 10-point jump in a row to be inducted.

However, it seems to have become universal Old Man Baseball Player knowledge that Jack Morris was a winner and a clutch pitcher in ways that little girls who've never played the game couldn't possibly understand, so he's going to be inducted by the Vet Committee as soon as he's eligible.

I hope Morris is a Vet induction rather than a BBWAA induction - he'll be by far the biggest mistake of the modern era, and I'd rather he maintain some historical continuity with the great Vet committee mistakes of the past.
   2. Bug Selig Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4196770)
Sugar Bear - The floor is yours. I expect fanciful tales of teh ace and how the only statistic that matters is opening day starts (see - teh ace.)

He averaged ten thousand innings a year! He had 45 complete games in 35 starts! His moustache DH'ed for him!
   3. Walt Davis Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4196771)
(voters can select up to 10, but most choose between 3-7),

Huh?

in 1990 both Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins finished second in voting

Huh? Perry was third with 72%, Jenkins was fourth with 67%.

   4. Lassus Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:27 AM (#4196778)
Your math never played the game and doesn't understand.
   5. Accent Shallow Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4196784)
His moustache DH'ed for him!

How many starters do you think this could be said about?
   6. AROM Posted: July 31, 2012 at 09:12 AM (#4196802)
Also like Jack, Schilling had a personality that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Morris was cranky and treated many sportswriters like dirt


And now the sportswriters can't stop telling the rest of us how great he was. Take note players: If you want to be respected by the reporters when your career is over best to act like a jerk now.

I hope Morris is a Vet induction rather than a BBWAA induction - he'll be by far the biggest mistake of the modern era, and I'd rather he maintain some historical continuity with the great Vet committee mistakes of the past.


I don't think he's worse than Rice. He's got the same sort of good, but overrated by RBI/W regular season record. Both around 40 WAR, at least by my reckoning. Teh fear. The importance of Jack's postseason performance is probably overstated, but it is legitimately outstanding. That's the tie-breaker to me, Rice never did anything remarkable in the postseason.
   7. AROM Posted: July 31, 2012 at 09:17 AM (#4196805)
What happens when the batter that everyone fears most faces the pitcher who fears nothing?

90 PA, 301/344/458, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 3 GIDP.
   8. TomH Posted: July 31, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4196809)
"However, history shows us that Morris has a very good chance of being elected in 2013. In 2010, Bert Blyleven finished second in HOF voting, he was elected the next year in his 14th chance. Similarly, in 1997 Don Sutton was runner-up and was elected on the following year’s ballot, and in 1990 both Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins finished second in voting before earning induction on their next try. It’s quite possible that the 382 voters who checked the box next to Morris’ name on this year’s ballot will do so again in 2013. If history holds, enough voters who didn’t select him before, will be convinced by the majority to do so."


you can't use past history of who made the Hall in their late years of balloting without accounting for the new guys coming up on the ballot. If history actually holds, new votes for Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Piazza, Sosa, Lofton, Wells, et al will cause some of the 382 voters who checked Morris name last winter to uncheck him in 2013. And he won't get enough new votes.
   9. AROM Posted: July 31, 2012 at 09:26 AM (#4196812)
Jack Morris vs. Hall of Fame batters, career: 1338 PA, 284/356/442

Curt Schilling vs. HOFers: 243/300/314, 279 PA. Though running that query for Curt excludes active and recently retired players who will eventually wind up in the HOF. The players contributing the most PA to that are Larkin and Gwynn.
   10. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 31, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4196837)
I don't think he's worse than Rice. He's got the same sort of good, but overrated by RBI/W regular season record. Both around 40 WAR, at least by my reckoning.
They're roughly even on career, but Rice actually was a great baseball player for three seasons. There's nothing in Morris' career that comes close to Rice 1977-1979. He was an All-Star three years in a row, and an MVP candidate two years in a row, in 1978 he was actually the best player in the league.

Rice is a big mistake, but Morris is significantly bigger. Rice at least did play like a Hall of Famer for a stretch of time longer than a single game.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: July 31, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4196844)
And now the sportswriters can't stop telling the rest of us how great he was. Take note players: If you want to be respected by the reporters when your career is over best to act like a jerk now.


Another way Jack is similar to Jim Ed. If Barry and Roger had only been much, much lesser ballplayers, they might have stumbled around in the 40 percent range for a decade before becoming latter day causes among the ink-stained set.

   12. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 31, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4196848)
Tom Verducci channeled and summarized this space's arguments pretty well last spring, though not of course with the rich subtlety with which they've been proffered herein.

   13. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 31, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4196886)
#12. Great post, and I mean that seriously.
   14. Bug Selig Posted: July 31, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4196891)
Tom Verducci channeled and summarized this space's arguments pretty well last spring, though not of course with the rich subtlety with which they've been proffered herein.


True, but let's keep that in context. He didn't even vote for him, and he had to pull stuff completely out of his ass to support the storyline:

"It's not that Morris threw 10 shutout innings and refused to come out in Game 7; it was that such an effort was totally within his established profile."

Right - so much a part of his established profile that he did it how many other times? None. He did it none other times. But it fits the imaginary, fraudulent pattern.

Just because Tom Verducci wrote it doesn't make it true. Just like Cito Gaston or Hal McRae saying something doesn't make it true.

   15. jobu Posted: July 31, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4196894)
So, Jack Morris is on the Hall of Fame ballot? You don't say. I wonder if we'll be hearing a lot about this over the next 5 months.
   16. DanG Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4197027)
Morris not only had the most wins in the 1980's, he had the most wins in the quarter century 1975-99.

Rk             Player    QS%   W   L ERAOPS+     IP  CG  ERA   BA
1         Jack Morris 0.564
254 186  105   89 3824.0 175 3.90 .247
2       Roger Clemens 0.658
247 134  147   66 3462.1 115 3.04 .227
3     Dennis Martinez 0.584
245 193  106   93 3999.2 122 3.70 .256
4          Nolan Ryan 0.622
233 206  111   76 3933.1 137 3.26 .207 H
5        Frank Tanana 0.589
224 215  106   97 3893.1 129 3.70 .255
6         Greg Maddux 0.699
221 126  144   69 3068.2  93 2.81 .241
7           Bob Welch 0.606
211 146  106   95 3092.0  61 3.47 .249
8       Bert Blyleven 0.602
207 175  113   88 3634.1 165 3.53 .250 H
9      Orel Hershiser 0.635
203 145  114   88 3105.2  68 3.41 .247
10      Charlie Hough 0.570
203 210  107   90 3609.2 107 3.76 .235
11   Dennis Eckersley 0.571
197 171  116   84 3285.2 100 3.50 .246 H
12      Steve Carlton 0.614
196 139  113   89 3021.2 123 3.34 .240 H
13      Dwight Gooden 0.624
188 107  111   85 2695.2  68 3.46 .242
14        Phil Niekro 0.583
188 167  109   95 3188.0 127 3.66 .255 H
15        Tom Glavine 0.642
187 116  120   84 2659.2  45 3.38 .252 
   17. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4197066)
Morris not only had the most wins in the 1980's, he had the most wins in the quarter century 1975-99.
Because I was curious:

1900-1924: Walter Johnson (377), Mathewson (373)
1925-1949: Lefty Grove (300), Red Ruffing (273)
1950-1974: Warren Spahn (298), Robin Roberts (264)

And, for the hell of it:

2000-July 30, 2012: Sabathia (186), Halladay (183)
   18. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4197073)
I'm pretty sure Morris is going to make it. No one is hitting the ballot next year that is going to take votes away from him. Clemens and Schilling are going to get a cold shoulder from nearly everyone that's been marking Morris off, and Morris is going to get a fair chunk of the votes that Blyleven got last year. I think he's going in.
   19. Brian C Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4197075)
Morris not only had the most wins in the 1980's, he had the most wins in the quarter century 1975-99.

I'm sold - Dennis Martinez belongs in the Hall of Fame!
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4197076)
Rk             Player    QS%   W   L ERA+ OPS+     IP  CG  ERA   BA
1         Jack Morris 0.564
% 254 186  105   89 3824.0 175 3.90 .247
2       Roger Clemens 0.658
% 247 134  147   66 3462.1 115 3.04 .227
3     Dennis Martinez 0.584
% 245 193  106   93 3999.2 122 3.70 .256 
And as this helpfully points out, he had basically the same career as Dennis Martinez. If Martinez and Morris had switched clubs in 1980 or so, it would be Martinez at the top of the list.

I don't know why there was such a dry spell between Blyleven and Clemens. My guesses are (a) random variation and (b) the crazy workloads that were possible in the second deadball era were continued into the normal offense late 70s and shredded the arms of the best young pitchers who came up in the 75-85 period.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4197090)
and Morris is going to get a fair chunk of the votes that Blyleven got last year.


Wouldn't he have already gotten those votes in the most recent election (possibly explaining his rather impressive rise)?

I think it will be close, still leaning no. But that's a big change, because this time last year I didn't think he had much of a chance at all.

   22. DanG Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4197110)
Because I was curious:
When I researched this factoid some years ago, I found only one 25-year period pre-Morris where the leader was not in the HOF:

Most wins in the quarter century 1953-77:

Rk           Player    QS%   W   L ERAOPS+     IP From   To
1          Jim Kaat 0.588
253 212  110   95 4026.0 1959 1977
2        Bob Gibson 0.680
251 174  127   77 3884.1 1959 1975 H
3     Gaylord Perry 0.675
246 200  123   81 4097.1 1962 1977 H
4     Juan Marichal 0.632
243 142  123   80 3507.0 1960 1975 H
5      Warren Spahn 0.646
241 154  116   86 3359.2 1953 1965 H
6       Whitey Ford 0.643
227 105  132   82 3058.1 1953 1967 H
7       Jim Bunning 0.620
224 184  115   89 3760.1 1955 1971 H
8     Mickey Lolich 0.597
215 188  104   95 3554.1 1963 1976
9         Jim Perry 0.586
215 174  106   94 3285.2 1959 1975
10   Fergie Jenkins 0.623
213 160  120   82 3304.0 1965 1977 H
11   Catfish Hunter 0.632
210 151  106   91 3226.1 1965 1977 H
12     Don Drysdale 0.665
209 166  121   85 3432.0 1956 1969 H
13      Milt Pappas 0.598
209 164  110   92 3186.0 1957 1973
14       Tom Seaver 0.753
203 113  142   73 2980.0 1967 1977 H
15     Lew Burdette 0.563
197 133   99   95 2924.2 1953 1967 
   23. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4197113)
If Martinez and Morris had switched clubs in 1980 or so, it would be Martinez at the top of the list.


Martinez's problem from 1980 - 83 wasn't the team he was on (they won 100 games in 1980; 94 games, losing the division on the last day of the season in 1982; and 98 regular-season games and a World Series in 1983). His problem was alcohol. If he'd been sober and healthy those three seasons (he was 14-5 in strike-shortened 1981), he could have probably won another 15 games as an Oriole.
   24. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4197115)
Morris not only had the most wins in the 1980's, he had the most wins in the quarter century 1975-99.


and his 254 wins over 1975-1999 may be the lowest leading win total of any 25 year period in MLB history
1969-1993: Ryan 318 (4 guys over 300)
1970-1994: Ryan 312
1971-1995: Ryan 305
1972-1996: Ryan 295
1973-1997: Ryan 276
1974-1998: Ryan 255
1975-1999: Morris 254
1976-2000: Clemens 260
1977-2001: Clemens 280
***
1988-2012: Maddux 347

   25. PreservedFish Posted: July 31, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4197127)
If history actually holds, new votes for Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Piazza, Sosa, Lofton, Wells, et al will cause some of the 382 voters who checked Morris name last winter to uncheck him in 2013. And he won't get enough new votes.


I don't know if Morris will get in, but I think he'll get a lot of new votes and it will be very close. Voters tend to give candidates the benefit of the doubt when they're at the end of eligibility.

And the list I quoted above is really disingenuous. I mean, why even name Sosa, Lofton or Wells, none of whom have a prayer of stealing a vote from Morris? Even the other guys won't be stealing many votes from Morris. You need to find voters that will definitely list 10 names and that will not be concerned with steroids, voters that will list the best 10 candidates without giving any thought at all to the fact that Morris is about to fall off the ballot, voters that don't mind letting less than immediately obvious candidates wait a few years before getting 75%.

How many voters will fit that profile? I don't think it's something Morris really needs to worry about yet. If Maddux, Glavine, Johnson etc were on the ballot next year, then he would have something to worry about.
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: July 31, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4197130)
And now the sportswriters can't stop telling the rest of us how great he was. Take note players: If you want to be respected by the reporters when your career is over best to act like a jerk now.


Jim Rice and Jack Morris are great examples of this.

I don't think he's worse than Rice. He's got the same sort of good, but overrated by RBI/W regular season record. Both around 40 WAR, at least by my reckoning. Teh fear. The importance of Jack's postseason performance is probably overstated, but it is legitimately outstanding. That's the tie-breaker to me, Rice never did anything remarkable in the postseason.


He is better than Rice, as a career candidate. War understates the value of a quality pitcher you can count on for 200 ip a year. But he loses out as a peak or great year candidate, basically it depends on what you value more, but neither are remotely deserving of the hovg, much less the hof.
   27. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 31, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4197143)
I mean, why even name Sosa, Lofton or Wells, none of whom have a prayer of stealing a vote from Morris?


In reality, I think you're right, but to me, David Wells is a guy who really highlights the weakness of Jack Morris's case. Wells's career (239 wins, 108 ERA+, 3,439 IP) looks a lot like Morris's (254 wins, 105 ERA+, 3,824 IP) - he was traded for Roger Clemens, threw a perfect game, was thought of for a time as an ace (the White Sox picked him up to be a #1 playoff starter - obviously, that didn't work out, but it was the perception of Wells at the time), did well in the playoffs (10-5, 3.17) - and nobody thinks of David Wells as anything close to a Hall-of-Famer. Jack Morris v. David Wells.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: July 31, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4197153)
And the list I quoted above is really disingenuous. I mean, why even name Sosa, Lofton or Wells, none of whom have a prayer of stealing a vote from Morris? Even the other guys won't be stealing many votes from Morris. You need to find voters that will definitely list 10 names and that will not be concerned with steroids, voters that will list the best 10 candidates without giving any thought at all to the fact that Morris is about to fall off the ballot, voters that don't mind letting less than immediately obvious candidates wait a few years before getting 75%.


Nah, strong new fields can and will take votes from all candidates, not just direct positional contemporaries. And not just from the guys who fill out their ballots.

Now, in the unusual current environment history may be less of a guide than it has in the past, but Morris can't just count on his existing support to carry over, let alone pick up new votes (he might, but players in similar positions in the past have seen support erode when a strong batch of new candidates hit the ballot).

but neither are remotely deserving of the hovg, much less the hof.


Neither guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but let's not go overboard here. Rice is 202nd on the all-time WAR leaderboard for position players. If that's not hovg, then you're not just a small hovg guy, but a miniscule one.
   29. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 31, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4197169)
Neither guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but let's not go overboard here. Rice is 202nd on the all-time WAR leaderboard for position players. If that's not hovg, then you're not just a small hovg guy, but a miniscule one.
I think the HoVG is a good deal smaller than the Hall of Fame. The actual Hall has a very wide range of greatness. If your HoVG cut-off is below Rice, you're looking at inducting guys like JD Drew, Lenny Dykstra, and Al Oliver.
   30. AROM Posted: July 31, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4197189)
I don't know why there was such a dry spell between Blyleven and Clemens. My guesses are (a) random variation and (b) the crazy workloads that were possible in the second deadball era were continued into the normal offense late 70s and shredded the arms of the best young pitchers who came up in the 75-85 period.


That might be it. Makes me curious who some of those pitchers with potential greatness were. Born 1952-1961, ERA+ over 110, most wins through age 25:

Fernando, Tanana, Eckersley, Petry, Witt, Candelaria, Steib. A bit more down the list is Mario Soto.
   31. The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4197190)
David Wells is a guy who really highlights the weakness of Jack Morris's case.
Orel Hershiser is another one who is clearly not any worse than Morris either statistically or intangible-y, yet is not even considered a candidate.

If your HoVG cut-off is below Rice, you're looking at inducting guys like JD Drew, Lenny Dykstra, and Al Oliver.
JD Drew and Al Oliver should totally be in the Hall of Very Good.

I dunno about Dykstra. (Does the Hall of Very Good have a character clause? Or a semi-character clause? "Voting can be based on the player's integrity, sportsmanship and character, but meh.")
   32. Tippecanoe Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4197228)
If your HoVG cut-off is below Rice, you're looking at inducting guys like JD Drew, Lenny Dykstra, and Al Oliver


To user your own arguments against you...Top 5 seasons by BRef WAR:

Jim Rice 7.4, 6.1, 5.4, 5.4, 4.9
Al Oliver 5.0, 4.6, 4.0, 3.4, 3.3
Len Dykstra 7.0 5.7, 4.1, 3.4, 2.9
JD Drew 8.1, 5.4, 4.1, 3.8, 3.5

I guess Drew is sort of comparable, but not Oliver and Dykstra only on massive PEDs.
   33. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4197264)
Defining a notable debut as someone who surpasses 10%:

2012: 5.1 names per ballot (notable debuts: none)
2011: 6 names per ballot (notable debuts: Bagwell, Walker)
2010: 5.67 names per ballot (notable debuts: Alomar, Larkin, Edgar, McGriff)
2009: 5.4 names per ballot (notable debut: Rickey)
2008: 5.35 names per ballot (notable debut: Raines)
2007: 6.6 names per ballot (notable debuts: Ripken, Gwynn, McGwire)
2006: 5.6 names per ballot (notable debut: Hershiser)
2005: 6.3 names per ballot (notable debut: Boggs)
2004: 6.55 names per ballot (notable debuts: Molitor, Eckersley)
2003: 6.6 names per ballot (notable debuts: Murray, Sandberg, L. Smith)
2002: 5.96 names per ballot (notable debuts: Ozzie, Dawson, Trammell)
2001: 6.3 names per ballot (notable debuts: Winfield, Puckett, Mattingly)
2000: 5.64 names per ballot (notable debuts: Gossage, Morris)
1999: 6.74 names per ballot (notable debuts: Ryan, Brett, Yount, Fisk, Murphy)
1998: 5.4 names pr ballot (notable debuts: G. Carter, Blyleven)
1997: 5.3 names per ballot (notable debut: Parker)


If the average amount of names per ballot were to reach 10.0, which it won't, there wouldn't be enough votes to go around. And that's before factoring in any unusual circumstances that might conceivably affect the voting, although nothing in particular comes readily to mind.
   34. bjhanke Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4197268)
It might be worth noting that, while Morris does lead the list in #16 in Wins, he also has the lowest ERA+ of anyone listed. Maybe pitching a lot of complete games (his most impressive stat on that list) wasn't really a good thing for his arm overall. And he simply does not have enough IP to be a Pud Galvin quality accumulator (Galvin, a 19th century pitcher whose Hall credentials are sometimes questioned because of a low ERA+, had a 107 ERA+ - in six thousand IP, not just under 4K). The list also suffers from cutoff problems, as these things tend to do. Steve Carlton for example, had been in the majors for 8 years before 1975, including his monster 1972. And Glavine and Maddux had, shall we say, a wee tad of mileage left in them after 1999.

On the other hand, I can't really get upset with a post that includes footage of the 13th Floor Elevators. I didn't know there WAS any footage of this one-hit one-album acid rock legend (and yes, the clip is of the hit, "You're Gonna Miss Me"). Footage of Roky Erikson (sp?) sitting in with practically every other band of the 1970s and 80s, yes. But The Elevators? Thank you! - Brock Hanke
   35. TomH Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4197279)
<i>"And the list I quoted above is really disingenuous. I mean, why even name Sosa, Lofton or Wells, none of whom have a prayer of stealing a vote from Morris?"<i>

Sir, you underestimate the strange behavior of some BBWAA voters. Seriously, NONE of them stealing A vote? I won't call you post disingenuous; I prefer to believe you were sincerely in error, and incautious in your use of words toward my post.
   36. AROM Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4197288)
I can't wait to see how the BTF ballot, done by HOF rules, turns out.

Sammy Sosa is 14th in career WAR on the ballot. Jack Morris is 22nd. Not that I vote straight WAR or recommend doing so, but to put Sammy on your ballot you've got to leave off at least 4 qualified guys. I could see a good number of people jumping him over Lofton, maybe Biggio, Trammell, Walker, Palmeiro, Edgar would be left off. The anti-roids voters could throw out Bonds, Clemens, Mac, Palmeiro, etc., but it takes a unique evidence parser to throw them out and then vote yes on Sosa.

It would be for the best if the voters reached a semi-consensus, elected 3-4 guys, AND put maybe 5 potentially deserving guys under the 5%. More likely, all the marginal ones have enough supporters to stay on, Dale Murphy falls off (15th year), only Biggio and maybe 1 more get in due to split votes, and we add 5 more highly qualified guys next year.
   37. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 31, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4197327)
Sugar Bear - The floor is yours.


Lol.
   38. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 31, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4197344)
I don't think he's worse than Rice. He's got the same sort of good, but overrated by RBI/W regular season record. Both around 40 WAR, at least by my reckoning. Teh fear. The importance of Jack's postseason performance is probably overstated, but it is legitimately outstanding. That's the tie-breaker to me, Rice never did anything remarkable in the postseason.


I disagree with your overall point. Rice at least had some legitimately outstanding seasons. Sure, his peak was overrated -- not as great and not as long -- but he was legitimately outstanding. On the other hand, Morris's _high_ in ERA+ was 133. Come on.

EDIT: Or, what MCOA said.
   39. PreservedFish Posted: July 31, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4197386)
Sir, you underestimate the strange behavior of some BBWAA voters. Seriously, NONE of them stealing A vote? I won't call you post disingenuous; I prefer to believe you were sincerely in error, and incautious in your use of words toward my post.


You're right, I was exaggerating. It's possible that some strange voter will bump Morris in favor of David Wells.
   40. Rob_Wood Posted: July 31, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4197467)
So you are saying that there will be many baseball sportswriters who will vote for Jack Morris to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame but will not vote for Roger Clemens. The bizzaro world indeed.
   41. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 31, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4197479)
His problem was alcohol. If he'd been sober and healthy those three seasons (he was 14-5 in strike-shortened 1981), he could have probably won another 15 games as an Oriole.


And he would then be 260-190 and still would get 0 votes.
   42. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: July 31, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4197501)
You Morris lovers can rationalize all you want. The Hall of Fame doesn't need a man who viciously clubbed baby seals for fun as a member.
   43. Chris Fluit Posted: July 31, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4197508)
Orel Hershiser is another one who is clearly not any worse than Morris either statistically or intangible-y, yet is not even considered a candidate.


According to the list in #33, he picked up over 10% in his first year on the ballot so obviously some people considered him a candidate.
   44. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 31, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4197526)
Hershiser got 11.2% of the vote, then dropped off the ballot with 4.4% one year later. That was when three more formidable candidates arrived: Gwynn, Ripken and McGwire arrived. (Which turned out to be 2.5 formidable candidates for extracurricular reasons.)

The second-highest debut candidate in 2006 was Albert Belle, who also followed Hershiser off the ballot one year later. Fellow debuters Will Clark and Dwight Gooden didn't even make it to the second year.

All of this is actually a very ominous sign for the 2013 bloody pileup, particularly if you're Jack Morris trying to clear that last hurdle (or hurdles), or if you're one of the Raines/Trammell/Edgar/Walker/McGriff guys trying to hang in there through the chaos, or if you're one of the Lofton/Wells/Rogers/Delgado/Hoffman/Wagner guys who would have figured to slot in at around the same position, or even one of the Mussina/Kent/Schilling/Sheffield guys who ordinarily would be a cut above that. You're going to see candidacies crippled, and stupid early exits. I have a sense that Jeff Kent is the most likely unlikely to join Grich and Whitaker and Simmons and Randolph and Brown and Quisenberry (and Will Clark) in the ridonkulous "one and done" club.
   45. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: July 31, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4197533)
How's Roky doing these days? Schizophrenia's no joke, but it looks (if Wikipedia is anything to go by) that he was doing better a few years ago.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: July 31, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4197543)
Sammy Sosa is 14th in career WAR on the ballot

I could be wrong but I have vague memories that he had a good peak. :-)

It is a sign of how stacked the ballot is -- Sosa has 55 WAR and is 14th.

As to how I'd vote -- well, if I had a real vote, I'd have to start voting strategically. Mac and Palmeiro are clearly lost causes so they are the first casualties. Now that still means I gotta get rid of two more to get Sammy on the ballot. Can I be intellectually honest and do that? Who cares, I'm a Cub fan! So 2 of these 3 are out: Lofton because I think he's a lost cause and no point me being one of 1-2 people to vote for him; Schilling because I think he'll survive without me; and Edgar because he's on my borderline and I haven't "voted" for him in the past anyway.

But unless they actually elect 3-4 deserving players this year, even I won't be capable of the mental gymnastics to keep Sosa on my 2014 ballot. In 2014, he'll be 18th in career WAR. Edgar Martinez will be 14th on that ballot. Tim Raines is at #11, Trammell at #10, even Thomas is tied for 8th with Walker. Some of this is pitcher WAR dominating the top spots but jiminy.

That is one of the reasons why Mac and Palmeiro just have to go. In this field it's not obvious they deserve a top 10 vote and voting for them necessarily means not voting for a deserving player who might actually have a chance.
   47. Big fan Posted: July 31, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4197551)
If he makes it, I am of the opinion that Morris would be the WORST starting pitcher voted in. (Right now I believe it is Catfish or maybe Pennock.) And for all the talk about his awesome post season, 7-4 is really no great shakes.
   48. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 31, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4197559)
If he makes it, I am of the opinion that Morris would be the WORST starting pitcher voted in. (Right now I believe it is Catfish or maybe Pennock.)


Rube Marquad

   49. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 31, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4197568)
If he makes it, I am of the opinion that Morris would be the WORST starting pitcher voted in. (Right now I believe it is Catfish or maybe Pennock.)



Rube Marquad


I think he meant BBWAA, and I tend to agree.
   50. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 31, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4197574)
I have absolutely no idea how anyone can argue that Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame (as at least 70% of the BBWAA voters are going to declare) but Orel Hershiser does not (as more than 95% of the BBWAA declared). That is ###### up.

And Hershiser probably isn't among the top ten pitchers who aren't in the Hall of Fame but should be. Even among his contemporaries he lines up behind Stieb, Saberhagen, Wells, Brown, maybe Cone, maybe Reuschel.

People talk about Morris being the Pitcher of the 80s, but nobody outside of Detroit in 1989 thought that Jack Morris was a better, more famous, more notable, more clutch, more anything pitcher than Orel Hershiser.

Morris's candidacy is 100% about Game 7, and it's bizarre.
   51. The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4197576)
According to the list in #33, [Hershiser] picked up over 10% in his first year on the ballot so obviously some people considered him a candidate.
This is totally a semantic discussion, but that's not that much to begin with, he fell off the ballot in his second year, and I've never seen anyone advocate him as a Veterans' pick, so I feel comfortable characterizing him as someone who is not considered a candidate.
   52. OCF Posted: July 31, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4197593)
My first reaction to the Sosa talk above was "What? Is he eligible this year?" He is eligible, and somehow that had slipped my mind. Maybe that has something to do with why his HoM thread only has five posts so far.
   53. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4197615)
People talk about Morris being the Pitcher of the 80s, but nobody outside of Detroit in 1989 thought that Jack Morris was a better, more famous, more notable, more clutch, more anything pitcher than Orel Hershiser.

Morris's candidacy is 100% about Game 7, and it's bizarre.


Don Larsen topped 12% a couple of times, more than Hershiser got, and lasted the full 15 years on the ballot.
   54. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4197634)
I think in addition to his Gm7 performance, a lot of voters are looking at him being the ace of those Tigers teams, his multiple 20 win seasons, pretty good .577 win/loss percentage, 254 wins,& that he was around when pitchers still threw 15 or so complete games a year. He also gets credit for the 84 WS win & some may credit him for 92 & 93 WS wins though the Jays won those in spite of his poor 92 postseason & horrid 93 reg season (so bad he didnt pitch in the postseason). It is also possible his 254-186 record catches the eye more than say Blyleven's 287-250, Kaat's 283-237, or Tommy John's 288-231
   55. OCF Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:43 PM (#4197640)
He also gets credit for the 84 WS win

The narrative of the 84 WS: having some reliable starting pitchers beats having no reliable starting pitchers. The San Diego starters were dreadful in that series (although their long relief was good). Morris ate his innings and did his part.

But then, of course, shouldn't some credit go to the lineup that destroyed those Padre pitchers? Or another way to put it: take the players on that 84 Tiger team and rank them by HoF suitability. Doesn't the list start with Trammell and Whitaker?
   56. AROM Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:46 PM (#4197643)
"And Hershiser probably isn't among the top ten pitchers who aren't in the Hall of Fame but should be. Even among his contemporaries he lines up behind Stieb, Saberhagen, Wells, Brown, maybe Cone, maybe Reuschel."

If you asked me to rank Hersh, Sabes, and Cone, and then asked me the same question tomorrow, I'd probably give you two different answers. Their HOF cases seem interchangeable to me.
   57. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: July 31, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4197654)
Trammell & Whitaker definitely are better HOF choices than Morris but to be perfectly honest I'd rather just see Morris get in via the BBWAA than have him fall to the Vet Comm, which I'm pretty sure would elect him. Having Morris tie up the Vet Comm Expansion Era ballot (which only votes every 3 years) will hurt or delay the possible elections for overlooked candidates like Trammell (who I doubt will get in via BBWAA), Whitaker, Dwight Evans, Simmons & Grich. Having Morris get in now will help Trammell case in his last few BBWAA yrs & a higher vote percentage will help get him more Vet Comm support.
   58. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 31, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4197685)
I hope Morris is a Vet induction rather than a BBWAA induction - he'll be by far the biggest mistake of the modern era, and I'd rather he maintain some historical continuity with the great Vet committee mistakes of the past.

I'd vote for Bruce Sutter. The guy only played 12 seasons, averaged about 90 IP per season, and was only really GREAT in 3 or 4 of them. His last useful year was at age 31. His career-defining stat is saves, and he ranks 22nd on the all-time list. A definite head-scratcher.

I'm sold - Dennis Martinez belongs in the Hall of Fame!

I realize I'm in the minority here, but I vote for Dennis Martinez and Tony Fernandez every year on my pretend ballot. Both are closer to HOF-worthy than most people seem to think.
   59. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:27 AM (#4197800)
Morris's candidacy is 100% about Game 7, and it's bizarre.


No, it's not. It's probably 30% about game 7, another 40% about winningest pitcher of the 80's, 10% a f-u stat geeks and Bert Blyleven, with the rest being 254 wins and another 10% 14 opening day starts + 3 all star starts.

I'd vote for Bruce Sutter. The guy only played 12 seasons, averaged about 90 IP per season, and was only really GREAT in 3 or 4 of them. His last useful year was at age 31. His career-defining stat is saves, and he ranks 22nd on the all-time list. A definite head-scratcher.


It's not a head scratcher in the slightest. He was the face of the changing style of relief specialist, he was the face of the pitch of the 90's(the splitter) he was about the story and not about value.

I agree he isn't deserving, but he isn't a head scratcher, we know why he went in, it's just not something many people with the ability to add without using their fingers, really support. Relievers are going to have to be looked at differently than other players, when you evaluate why they got in.
   60. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:50 AM (#4197812)
No, it's not. It's probably 30% about game 7, another 40% about winningest pitcher of the 80's, 10% a f-u stat geeks and Bert Blyleven, with the rest being 254 wins and another 10% 14 opening day starts + 3 all star starts.


I really don't think so. Well... I know what you mean, and obviously you're right from the perspective you're coming from. If Jack Morris had pitched that Game 7 and finished his major league career with a 9-8 record, no one would suggest he was a Hall of Famer. so saying it's "100% about Game 7" is on its face patently absurd.

But.

If Game 7 had never happened, I very, very much doubt this thread would exist, because Morris would have been recognized for the good/not elite pitcher he was, celebrated in some circles, and his HOF vote would have peaked at around 40-45%. At best. As such I think the only real reason we have constant arguments about Jack Morris is because of Game 7.
   61. Booey Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4198072)
If Game 7 had never happened, I very, very much doubt this thread would exist, because Morris would have been recognized for the good/not elite pitcher he was, celebrated in some circles, and his HOF vote would have peaked at around 40-45%. At best. As such I think the only real reason we have constant arguments about Jack Morris is because of Game 7.


I think he'd have been off the ballot years ago if not for game 7. As people have pointed out, his numbers aren't much different than Denny Martinez or Frank Tanana or David Wells or Jamie Moyer or several others that either fell off the ballot their first season (or will as soon as they're eligible).

The "ace" nonsense may have bought him a few extra years on the ballot than the comparables above, but the 40-45% peak seems awfully high, to me. I'd guess something like a Keith Hernandez type ballot run. Maybe Don Mattingly at the absolute best.
   62. zonk Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4198103)
I realize I'm in the minority here, but I vote for Dennis Martinez and Tony Fernandez every year on my pretend ballot. Both are closer to HOF-worthy than most people seem to think.


I think if it meant el Presidente got to tag along, I'd vote for Martinez.

I know this came up before in another Morris thread and I can't find it - but what's the closest anyone's ever gotten but then denied? I think that as of now - it's Morris... right?

Just like with Lee Smith - Jack wouldn't make my ballot, but I've pretty much decided that it's less who does get in that bothers me, it's who doesn't. If Morris goes, so be it -- it will be the names Morris voters DIDN'T vote for that will tick me off because I think with every ballot I can remember in Morris' time on the ballot, I could have easily put 10 names above him.
   63. bachslunch Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4198109)
On the other hand, I can't really get upset with a post that includes footage of the 13th Floor Elevators. I didn't know there WAS any footage of this one-hit one-album acid rock legend

Agreed, great to see. But the group actually has two worthy albums "The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators" (the better of the two) and "Easter Everywhere." Plus there's some fine solo work by Roky Erickson such as the album "Roky Erickson and the Aliens" and the EP "Clear Night for Love."

The Hall of Fame doesn't need a man who viciously clubbed baby seals for fun as a member.

Character clause issue!

   64. TomH Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4198110)
Lonnie Smith is Jack Morris's ticket to the HoF. If Morris gets in, can I write his acceptance speech? :)
   65. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4198113)
It's not a head scratcher in the slightest. He was the face of the changing style of relief specialist, he was the face of the pitch of the 90's(the splitter) he was about the story and not about value.


Of course, since voters don't and never have voted strictly on "value," no matter how measured. (*) The idea that they should, very popular in these parts (**), is but one potential voting philosophy among many ... and categorizing Morris as potentially the "worst" Hall of Famer presumes the application of that philosophy.

(*) See, e.g. and again, Johnny Vander Meer.

(**) And that philosophy is itself but a subset of value properly understood, since it relies entirely on a looking-back evaluation of aggregate data and not, for example, perceived in-career prospective value. It's a nook within a niche.
   66. SoSH U at work Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4198116)
I know this came up before in another Morris thread and I can't find it - but what's the closest anyone's ever gotten but then denied? I think that as of now - it's Morris... right?


The record for someone who wasn't voted in by the BBWAA belongs to Jim Bunning, who topped out at 74.2 percent. Of course, he was elected by the Vet's Committee.

The record for someone who wasn't voted in by the BBWAA and has thus far been rejected by the Vet's is Gil Hodges, who reached 63.7 percent.

Jack's 66.7 percent would be the new mark, though he's a pretty good bet to make it in through a future Vet's committeee (and, of course, he's still got a shot with the writers), so it's kind of incomplete right now.

   67. AROM Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4198143)
And that philosophy is itself but a subset of value properly understood, since it relies entirely on a looking-back evaluation of aggregate data


Which is how 99.99% of people understand value. Maybe not all limiting to aggregate data, there is plenty of space for game by game analysis, but looking at what actually happened is the key.

and not, for example, perceived in-career prospective value. It's a nook within a niche.


Now that's a nook within a niche. With the distinction selectively applied by one person, you, to one person, Morris. At least as far as I've read. Maybe there are Blue Jays fans who perceived Joe Carter to be on the level of Frank Thomas, but they don't post around here.
   68. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4198166)
Now that's a nook within a niche. With the distinction selectively applied by one person, you, to one person, Morris. At least as far as I've read. Maybe there are Blue Jays fans who perceived Joe Carter to be on the level of Frank Thomas, but they don't post around here.

That's not even close to true. There's contemporaneous expressed opinions, there's ace status, and there's pay level -- each of which has been explored at length in this debate. (*) Those have nothing to do with looking back at aggregate numbers 15 years after a guy's career is over, tallying them, and making a list.

(*) And now adoped by Tom Verducci. Among the highlights:

"If you had [Morris and D. Martinez] on the same staff Morris would have been your number one starter, no questions asked."

Entirely true.

************************

"After I sent my ballot, however, I wondered if I was not being fair to Morris by looking too hard at the numbers. Don't get more wrong. The numbers are extremely useful and important, but was I missing the essence of his candidacy? After all, I had covered Morris for most of his career and knew his value among players, managers, coaches and executives.

(This perspective -- not mine, but inside-industry people who make value judgments for a living -- is an important one to me with all candidates. Would he front a rotation? Would it take a blockbuster deal to trade for him? How did opposing hitters view him? Was he among the highest paid players at his position? Tricky stuff, I know, but important to consider.)"

Covered at length herein.

****************************

"Back in 1985, Hal McRae, the Kansas City DH, said, "If you gave baseball people their choice among Dan Petry, Jack Morris and [Bert] Blyleven, Blyleven would probably be third." And that was during the second straight year Blyleven finished third in Cy Young Award balloting -- the only times he finished that high."

Entirely true.

****************************

"What the advanced numbers don't show is that the baseball community regarded Morris as a prototypical ace."

Entirely true.

*****************************

"This ground-level definition of an ace is what shapes Morris' candidacy."

It's certainly a big part of it, and rightfully so.
   69. Booey Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4198172)
Just like with Lee Smith - Jack wouldn't make my ballot, but I've pretty much decided that it's less who does get in that bothers me, it's who doesn't. If Morris goes, so be it -- it will be the names Morris voters DIDN'T vote for that will tick me off because I think with every ballot I can remember in Morris' time on the ballot, I could have easily put 10 names above him.


That's pretty much how I see it too. If all the worthy holdovers from previous ballots had already been elected and the 2012 ballot featured only the likes of Morris, Smith, Mattingly, Murphy, etc, and a weak group of new candidates highlighted by Bernie Williams, then it wouldn't have bothered me that much if the writers had elected Morris as what they perceived to be the best of a mediocre bunch.

But to select him on the 2013 ballot which features at least a dozen and probably more like 15 CLEARLY better candidates? That's just mind-blowing. Morris is likely only a middle of the pack candidate on that ballot even after including all the one-and-done courtesy names. They may as well just draw names from a hat if they're going to do that.
   70. RJ in TO Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4198174)
The record for someone who wasn't voted in by the BBWAA belongs to Jim Bunning, who topped out at 74.2 percent. Of course, he was elected by the Vet's Committee.


I thought it was Nellie Fox, who hit 74.7% in 1985, and then had to wait until the VC elected him in 1997.
   71. SoSH U at work Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4198184)

I thought it was Nellie Fox, who hit 74.7% in 1985, and then had to wait until the VC elected him in 1997.


Damn, you're right. I forgot Nellie.

Not only is Hodges the record holder for highest percentage without ever getting elected, he's the only player to ever eclipse 50 percent of the vote and not get voted in (either by the BBWAA or Vet's committees).

   72. RJ in TO Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4198189)
Not only is Hodges the record holder for highest percentage without ever getting elected, he's the only player to ever eclipse 50 percent of the vote and not get voted in (either by the BBWAA or Vet's committees).


And it's not like he just broke the 50% mark in his final season on the ballot. He hit 50% in his third year of voting by the BBWAA, and then did it 10 more times in his remaining 12 years on the ballot. He even broke 60% three times, with the earliest being in his eighth year. Nowadays, if a guy did that, it would just be a matter of time before they were elected, but he kept stalling out at about that percentage and was never able to build towards that 75% level.
   73. AROM Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4198199)
"What the advanced numbers don't show is that the baseball community regarded Morris as a prototypical ace."

What does this actually mean? Take his best years, say he's got 275 innings, 15 complete games, an ERA+ of 125. Those are very valuable numbers. And the advanced stats take all of that into account. With above average run support, say that leads to a 19-10 record. The wins reflect what you would expect given the inputs of runs allowed (which Morris is mostly responsible for) and runs scored (which he is 0% responsible for, thanks to the DH he can't even claim a few points here like Bob Gibson or Steve Carlton could).

If I get that production, I win a certain amount of games. It doesn't really matter if baseball people saw that and said "ace" or if they weren't impressed.
   74. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4198208)
What does this actually mean?

It means the baseball community regarded Morris as a prototypical ace.

It doesn't really matter if baseball people saw that and said "ace" or if they weren't impressed.

To me, and plainly to many HOF voters, it does matter whether someone was perceived and used as an ace. It's important to the story, and tells you quite a bit about the essence of the player. I can't begin to understand the insistent and obstinant injunction that we completely ignore these things.
   75. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4198224)
"Back in 1985, Hal McRae, the Kansas City DH, said, "If you gave baseball people their choice among Dan Petry, Jack Morris and [Bert] Blyleven, Blyleven would probably be third."


What's the context of this quote? Is this asking guys in 1985, if they could have one pitcher to build a pitching staff around going forward who would you want, then it's worth pointing out that in 1985, Blyleven was 34 years old and had already completed most of his Hall-of-Fame resume, while Morris was 30 and just entering his prime and Petry was only 26 (although, interestingly, 1985 was also Petry's last decent season).
   76. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4198229)
SBB:

So you're saying because Morris always "felt" like a HOFer, he should be in, no matter what the actual numbers say?

I lived in Detroit at the time, and despite what you claim there wasn't a feeling that Morris was clearly superior to Dan Petry, or that Morris even deserved to be considered the #1 starter over Petry. We never felt Morris was one of the top 5 pitchers in the league; we thought the Tigers were lucky to have a guy who could give them 250+ quality innings every year, but never considered him irreplacable.

That's not even close to true. There's contemporaneous expressed opinions, there's ace status, and there's pay level -- each of which has been explored at length in this debate. (*) Those have nothing to do with looking back at aggregate numbers 15 years after a guy's career is over, tallying them, and making a list.

Answer this: If he was percieved the way you and Verducci claim, how did he receive CYA votes in only 7 of the 16 seasons he was a full-time starter (do you realize that in his entire career, he received 6 1st place votes for the CYA, spread over 3 separate years)? How did he only make 5 ASG appearances? Beyond meaningless platitudes, where's the actual evidence that contemporary writers (those voting for awards) or managers (those choosing AS teams) thought he was among the greats not in the game but just in his league? You want to ignore his numbers (except, oddly, for his salary) and concentrate on what people in the game "felt" about Morris, yet there isn't any evidence that people in the game at the time felt any differently than most posters here do - Morris was a good pitcher for a long time who had an iconic moment, but nothing else.

Hell, by 1990 people thought Jack Morris and Frank Viola were the same person.
   77. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4198240)
I lived in Detroit at the time, and despite what you claim there wasn't a feeling that Morris was clearly superior to Dan Petry, or that Morris even deserved to be considered the #1 starter over Petry. We never felt Morris was one of the top 5 pitchers in the league; we thought the Tigers were lucky to have a guy who could give them 250+ quality innings every year, but never considered him irreplacable.

Like Andy Pettitte, you misremember.(*)

Was Morris ever on the trade block? Did the Tigers ever seriously consider trading him? Was he considered by other teams as being someone available in trade? If the Tigers had traded him for Bert Blyleven in the winter of 1984-85, would Tiger fans have been happy?

(*) If you were 10 years old or less in 1984, we'll give you a pass.

how did he receive CYA votes in only 7 of the 16 seasons he was a full-time starter

Because he had a balky arm and the Tigers called him up too late in 1979, limiting him to 27 (top-grade) starts and he had a balky arm and didn't pitch well in 1989 and 1990.

   78. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4198242)
fixed?

Yay!
   79. GregD Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4198244)
Answer this: If he was percieved the way you and Verducci claim, how did he receive CYA votes in only 7 of the 16 seasons he was a full-time starter (do you realize that in his entire career, he received 6 1st place votes for the CYA, spread over 3 separate years)? How did he only make 5 ASG appearances? Beyond meaningless platitudes, where's the actual evidence that contemporary writers (those voting for awards) or managers (those choosing AS teams) thought he was among the greats not in the game but just in his league? You want to ignore his numbers (except, oddly, for his salary) and concentrate on what people in the game "felt" about Morris, yet there isn't any evidence that people in the game at the time felt any differently than most posters here do - Morris was a good pitcher for a long time who had an iconic moment, but nothing else.


Rank by Cy Young Award shares, career:
72--Bob Welch
73--Jack Morris
74--Steve Stone

By comparison:

Rank by MVP shares, career:
28--Dave Parker
29--Jim Rice (tie) Mike Piazza
31--Manny Ramirez
32--Joe Morgan!
   80. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4198247)
Cy Young Award voting is a look-back exercise at numbers. Perception and use aren't.

They're different animals, which the baseball community understood and understands.
   81. AROM Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4198249)
You want to ignore his numbers (except, oddly, for his salary) and concentrate on what people in the game "felt" about Morris, yet there isn't any evidence that people in the game at the time felt any differently than most posters here do - Morris was a good pitcher for a long time who had an iconic moment, but nothing else.


Let's not say there was no evidence, SBB has provided plenty of quotes to the contrary. But there is certainly evidence that Morris was not universally considered the dominant pitcher of his time.
   82. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4198252)
Cy Young Award shares for pitchers who peaked in the 1980s:

2.20 - Bret Saberhagen
1.56 - Dwight Gooden
1.56 - Rick Sutcliffe
1.55 - Fernando Valenzuela
1.44 - Mike Scott
1.32 - Orel Hershiser
1.22 - Dave Stewart
1.20 - Kevin Viola
0.83 - Lamarr Hoyt
0.80 - Bob Welch
0.73 - Jack Morris

The names on that list which stick out to me are Rick Sutcliffe and Dave Stewart. Both Sutcliffe and Stewart got the same sort of praise as tough, gritty, workhorse "aces". Those are Morris' comps - he was a more durable Dave Stewart, a more consistent Rick Sutcliffe.
   83. GregD Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4198253)
Cy Young Award voting is a look-back exercise at numbers. Perception and use aren't.

They're different animals, which the baseball community understood and understand.
To make sure I understand the subtle minds of "the baseball community": They perceived and used Morris as a top-flight ace during the season but then a month later didn't push him for Cy Young votes because...why?

   84. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4198255)
They perceived and used Morris as a top-flight ace during the season but then a month later didn't push him for Cy Young votes because...why?

They did "push him." He got plenty of CYA votes and didn't get any in 1979 when he would have finished Top 5 (or better) if he hadn't been limited to 27 starts.

That aside and accepting the premise, the answer is because the aggregate numbers he put up in a season didn't match how good he really was. I see no inconsistency in an HOF voter ocnsidering how good someone really was and a CYA voter ignoring that very same thing -- indeed, that's exactly how it should work.
   85. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4198257)
I was in my 20's. How old were you, and were you in Detroit?
Was Morris ever on the trade block? Did the Tigers ever seriously consider trading him? Was he considered by other teams as being someone available in trade?
Neither you, I, or anyone who reads this blog knows, but I'd say this: If he wasn't on the block at least once, the Tigers were idiots: He was a bad pitcher in the last year of his contract on a bad team in '90.
If the Tigers had traded him for Bert Blyleven in the winter of 1984-85, would Tiger fans have been happy?
Of course not, they'd just won the World Series. But fans would have been more unhappy if they'd traded Trammel or Whittaker or Willie Hernandez.
he had a balky arm and didn't pitch well in 1989 and 1990.
Would this "balky arm" be why he was 1st in starts and 2nd in IP in '90?
   86. SoSH U at work Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4198258)
To make sure I understand the subtle minds of "the baseball community": They perceived and used Morris as a top-flight ace during the season but then a month later didn't push him for Cy Young votes because...why?


From my vantage point as a fan in the 80s (non-Detroiter), and considering the hold that pitcher wins held on our view of the species, Jack's consistent run of 15-plus victory seasons gave a sense that he was one of the game's aces. But when the guys who did the voting on the Cy Young went back and looked closely at each year's results, Morris's pedestrian ERAs justifiably kept him from getting any meaningful support as the season's best pitcher.

So I think there's some truth to the idea that his repuation exceeded his numbers. I just don't see how that matters. The real Jack Morris was a good to very good pitcher for a long time in a specific era that produced no one that was both great and long-lasting. The absence of the latter doesn't elevate the former.

   87. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4198261)
How old were you, and were you in Detroit?

Yes, until 1987. Age 16 to 26 in the 80s. Sorry -- you misremember, or are overemphasizing the late 80s when I wasn't around. Leading to, perhaps, this:

Neither you, I, or anyone who reads this blog knows, but I'd say this: If he wasn't on the block at least once, the Tigers were idiots: He was a bad pitcher in the last year of his contract on a bad team in '90.

Depends what you mean by "bad." Bad numbers in '90, sure, but no one thought he was a bad pitcher and the Twins thought he was an ace, paid him like one, and treated him like one.

Again, the critical distinction -- aggregate numbers standing alone, and true essence.

Would this "balky arm" be why he was 1st in starts and 2nd in IP in '90?

Sure. He had a balky arm off and on from his first appearance in the major leagues (if not earlier) and regularly pitched through it.
   88. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4198262)
I was young, but when Morris pitched against the Red Sox in the late '80s I distinctly remember that the announcers would refer to him as a "workhorse." It made an impression on me because 1987 was the first full season I started following baseball, and Morris is the first pitcher I heard that term applied to.

   89. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4198263)
My favorite Jack Morris statline:

252 IP, 215 H, 81 R, 78 ER, 89 BB, 167 K, 2.79 ERA, 21-8, +4.85 WPA

Pretty good, right? That's a Cy Young season. Those are Jack Morris' career numbers in entirely meaningless games, games played after his team had either clinched a playoff berth or been eliminated from playoff competition.
   90. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4198264)
Pretty good, right? That's a Cy Young season. Those are Jack Morris' career numbers in entirely meaningless games, games played after his team had either clinched a playoff berth or been eliminated from playoff competition.

How very Karl Rovian of you.
   91. AROM Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4198265)
Would this "balky arm" be why he was 1st in starts and 2nd in IP in '90?


He had his physical problems in 1989. He was recovered in 1990, and his pitching was just as good as it would be in his 1991 year with the Twins. The Tigers were getting a bit long in the tooth though and didn't make as many plays defensively. His innings, non-intentional walks, and strikeouts were the same from 1990-1991. He gave up 8 fewer homers in 1991, so that's an improvement. But the drop in runs allowed (37) is better explained by bad luck in 1990 combined with picking better defensive teammates in Minnesota.
   92. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4198266)
Let's not say there was no evidence, SBB has provided plenty of quotes to the contrary. But there is certainly evidence that Morris was not universally considered the dominant pitcher of his time.
I can produce "plenty of quotes" to support any position; it doesn't mean most people feel agree.

Sure. He had a balky arm off and on from his first appearance in the major leagues (if not earlier) and regularly pitched through it.
Can you provide any evidence of this?
   93. GregD Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4198267)
They did "push him." He got plenty of CYA votes
I guess we have different standards for plenty of.

One case for a player is he had stats, retrospective value, that clearly puts him in the HOF class.

Another case--the one you're making for Morris, and the one others made for Rice--is that the player was perceived as great at the time in ways that are meaningful even if not captured in the stats.

That second case can be made; Rice fits it. He gots lots of MVP votes and is in a class with another person of high peak/short career (Parker) and some guys who will likely make the Hall of Fame. Writers did value him. They may have been wrong to, but they did.

But Morris doesn't have that case. We do have a record of how writers saw him at the time, and they voted for him less often than they voted for a bunch of guys who aren't anywhere near the HOF.

If he had a strong case on the numbers, that wouldn't bother me. I don't let the writers' judgments tell me how to understand value.

But he has a weak case on the numbers, so his case depends heavily upon the perception that he was seen as a super-ace...and the best evidence we have for how he was perceived is that he wasn't perceived as a super-ace.
   94. Fanshawe Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4198273)
To make sure I understand the subtle minds of "the baseball community": They perceived and used Morris as a top-flight ace during the season but then a month later didn't push him for Cy Young votes because...why?


Well not during the whole season. Most years there were a least a few days when the manager picking the All Star team didn't perceive him as a top flight ace. Immediately after picking the team, they went back to thinking about how great he was, though. Trust me.
   95. GregD Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4198277)
Well not during the whole season. Most years there were a least a few days when the manager picking the All Star team didn't perceive him as a top flight ace. Immediately after picking the team, they went back to thinking about how great he was, though. Trust me.
And then took some kind of serum in October that made them forget how amazing he had been until the next spring training.
   96. AROM Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4198278)
How very Karl Rovian of you.


Are his numbers wrong? If MCOA is making stuff up, then sure, but I don't think he is.

The idea that Morris was better than his numbers because he got bored in meaningless games and was dominant when it mattered just doesn't hold up.

In Morris's defense:
1) In such meaningless games he would be facing more reserves and September callups, fewer regular, so most pitchers (I'd assume) would show such a split.
2) Morris was a better pitcher late in the year than early, throughout his career. Career ERA of 4.45 in April/March, 3.26 in September/October (regular season) and around 3.8-4.1 in between. This doesn't make him better or worse than the overall numbers. April games count just as much as September in the standings. He was probably just one of those pitchers who needed to get on a roll. Without checking the numbers, Sabathia seems that type as well.
   97. Jay Z Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4198281)
But he has a weak case on the numbers, so his case depends heavily upon the perception that he was seen as a super-ace...and the best evidence we have for how he was perceived is that he wasn't perceived as a super-ace.


But the voters today apparently don't care about that perception. And that's all that matters.

Morris is arguably the best starting pitcher of the 1980s. It was a crappy decade for starting pitching, but there it is. His win total isn't implausible, played for winning teams, one big memorable game.

For this era of players "narrative" seems to matter a lot. Some stories get repeated endlessly, others are forgotten. Everyone remembers Gibson in 1988, everyone seems to have forgoten Hershiser in 1988.
   98. AROM Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4198282)
They did "push him." He got plenty of CYA votes


So they thought highly of Morris. And thought more highly of other pitchers. Makes sense to me.
   99. Tippecanoe Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4198284)
Morris's candidacy is 100% about Game 7, and it's bizarre


Morris is a narrative candidate who happens to also have the 254 wins. As of the end of Game 7, 1991, Morris was 7-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his post-season career, with even better numbers if you limit it to the WS. At that moment (and with the years of complete games and logging big innings for a marquee team, with the All-Star Game starts, with the mustache) an image solidified of Morris as an all-time pro's pro, with guts of iron, a steely glare, etc. That's the outline of the narrative.

there wasn't a feeling that Morris was clearly superior to Dan Petry,


I was huge baseball fan during Morris' heyday, and, as a stratomatic junkie, I understood Morris' limitations. But the notion that Petry was equally valued at the time is strange to me, as I am sure it would be to Sparky Anderson, who started Morris on opening day year after year.

It's clear why people disagree that he's a good candidate, but I don't get why people profess bewilderment at his appeal to voters for whom the narrative is primary. The HoM criteria are not their criteria.
   100. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4198285)
Are his numbers wrong? If MCOA is making stuff up, then sure, but I don't think he is.

Depends on definitions, but preemptively casting an actual strength of your opponent as a "weakness" is vintage Rove.

I wouldn't call a game where your team is already in the playoffs "meaningless." I'd want my ace to stay sharp and not get beat up if the playoffs are approaching. If he rips through lineups, I'm quite happy. Aren't you?
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