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.