Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ringolsby: Hall of Fame Vote Hurts Everyone

(Jack) Morris could get lost in the shuffle, which is why this year’s election was so vital for him. It is sad that Morris has been caught in the morass of the PED controversy, even though he has never had his character questioned on any grounds.

He’s not a Bert Blyleven type, who will suddenly get a surge of support from numbers crunchers. Quite the opposite. Morris has become the whipping boy for those who lean more on numbers, who refuse to acknowledge that as vital as stats are in examining a Hall of Famer, there also is a value to the so-called “wow factor” the player created among his peers during his playing days.

With Morris it wasn’t wow. It was WOW.

Thanks to Warcraft Barnald.

 

Repoz Posted: January 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM | 60 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

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

   1. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 12, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4345560)
Why did anyone WOW for Morris? He didn't look all that spectacular. If I were going to WOW for someone not in the HOF it would be Dwight Gooden or Eric Davis or Bo Jackson or Jose Canseco or Darryl Strawberry. Morris always seemed like one of the better pitchers in a pretty weak crop, weakened by Gooden's drug use and injuries to Mario Soto and Jose Rijo and maybe even Ted Higuera. If anything Morris has more of an argument for the consistency and longevity factor than the WOW factor. At no point did I consider him better or more fearsome than a healthy Bret Saberhagen. Why the heck writers chose Morris over Trammell to represent the 1980s Tigers is a mystery to me.
   2. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4345561)
Why did anyone WOW for Morris? He didn't look all that spectacular. If I were going to WOW for someone not in the HOF it would be Dwight Gooden or Eric Davis or Bo Jackson or Jose Canseco or Darryl Strawberry.

Clearly, Morris's WOW facto was so wowy that there was wowverload, leading the people that most directly saw his legendary dominance to give Jimmy Key more Cy votes and overwhelmingly vote nay as soon as the chance to honor the wowness came.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4345565)
I don't remember Morris being "WOW" at all. He was very good but I don't remember him being this dominant force.

Compare him to Jim Rice. My recollection (and I'm biased as a Red Sox fan of course) is that for a large portion of his career Rice WAS viewed as "future Hall of Famer" while Morris was not. Rice's lack of even a modest decline phase changed that perception some but certainly in the late 70s he was viewed as one of the game's elite. I don't remember Morris having that same narrative around him until 1991 and of course he didn't have much in the way of a decline phase either.

Do others who remember have the same recollection? I'm curious if my memory is wrong here.

(and note: I'm not making any claims as to the accuracy of these statements, just trying to get a feel for the conventional wisdom at the time)
   4. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4345566)
Rice was a WOW guy for a few year, Jose. But I'm a Sox fan, too.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 12, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4345570)
I vaguely recall thinking in the early 80's that Morris was a special pitcher after he had the Orioles completely flailing at his splitter one night in 1982 or 1983. And if you're the kind of person who only remembers a pitcher's best games, then yeah, I can see the WOW bit for Morris. Problem is, the WOW quickly goes away once you examine his overall record, and realize that he's a perfect candidate for the HOVG and the the HOF. Pretty much the same thing could be said about Rice, but in Rice's case his fan base is concentrated in one super high profile media saturated city and not scattered in bits and pieces throughout the midwest and Canada. If Morris had spent his entire career in Boston and Rice in Detroit/Minnesota/Toronto/Cleveland, it wouldn't surprise me if Morris would be already in the Hall of Fame and Rice still looking in from the outside.

   6. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 12, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4345572)
My distinct memory of watching Morris pitch was definitely a "Wow." As in, "Wow, how the #### is this guy not getting his ####### ass kicked all over the field."
   7. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 12, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4345574)
Also, I think Ringolsby is just wrong about Morris getting "caught in the morass of the PED controversy." Absent PED controversy, Clemens probably takes at least a few votes away from Morris on this year's ballot. OTOH, electing Clemens this year might have helped Morris next year, but I kind of doubt it with several better-qualified pitchers becoming eligible.
   8. AROM Posted: January 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4345599)
I didn't see Morris's whole career, but I did see from 1981 on. Ringolsby must have been watching a different Jack Morris than I was.

Believe it or not, I am not adamant about voting based on the numbers. If you want to put players in the HOF for the WOW factor, then just be consistent about it and make sure you are supporting the players who gave us the most WOW.

Eric Davis and Dwight Gooden are the kind of guys who I could get behind if the argument was "don't look at the numbers, you had to have seen them play" Jack Morris? About as much WOW to me as his teammate Alan Trammell. At least Trammell did have the numbers.
   9. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 12, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4345604)
With Morris it wasn’t wow. It was WOW.


And five years after he retired, roughly one in four voting writers agreed wholeheartedly with you.

Do others who remember have the same recollection? I'm curious if my memory is wrong here.
Morris never struck me as actually being tough. He looked tough, had the tough nickname, and had durability going for him, which gave him the impression of being gritty, or something; don't impressive pitchers impress by missing bats, or in lieu of that demonstrating impeccable control? Morris did neither.

From age 33 on he was on average a below average pitcher (something I don't see mentioned often, but you could look it up). He had almost nothing going for him except durability. He was giving up more than a hit an inning. Looked nothing like a HOFer, which is why I think he got so few votes from the writers in the early going. It took more than a decade for the 254 wins to overwhelm the lousy last third of his career.
   10. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: January 12, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4345616)
Morris has become the whipping boy for those who lean more on numbers

Damn numbers crunchers and their insidious plan to brainwash the members of the BBWAA to vote against Morris...
   11. puck Posted: January 12, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4345618)
Do others who remember have the same recollection? I'm curious if my memory is wrong here.


That matches mine. Those big years for Rice pegged him as something above. And I don't remember the FEAR thing so much, but there were lots of stories about his legendary strength (breaking golf clubs mid swing, etc.) which is part of what I always figured was the FEAR.

In contrast, I don't remember Morris being a WOW pitcher, or even regarded as such by many. Respected, definitely. People noticed the win totals and all the starts. I think it's telling that despite pitching in an era when wins were still so important for Cy Young votes that he received comparatively few votes despite wins being one of his strengths.

But he wasn't seen as just an innings eater, I think he was seen as a staff leader (I wish I could remember if he got the "ace" tag). Maybe Dave Stewart w/the A's is a good comparison? Though Morris didn't win 20 multiple seasons in a row, he had the big World Series performance which was like Stewart's playoff performances against Clemens.
   12. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: January 12, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4345633)
WOW = Wins Over (Milt) Wilcox.
   13. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 12, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4345639)
One thing I do recall about Morris was his early 1984 nohitter. It was the first one I remember seeing on TV and was probably the first one I saw on TV. Not sure if that helps his legend or not. He also was one of the first guys that I recall using the splitter, though as an AL fan I wasn't steeped in Bruce Sutter.

Ya know, his early career was in the prime of my baseball wheelhouse (my teens), but most of his supporters seem to be at least a decade older than me. Shouldn't they be waxing rhapsodic over Vida Blue or Luis Tiant?
   14. base ball chick Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4345641)
jack morris was WOW?

okayyyyyyyy - i guess in that famous game 7

but on that score, brandon backe was WOW - game 4 WS 2005, which of course, brad lidge blew. also in the sunday night game vs the giants on espn in which he threw a shutout and barry lamar didn't get a hit. and brandon also threw another shutout 8 innings in an 04 postseason game. you talk about your postseason pitcher.

i also don't go for that - ohhhhh, he started the first game of the year - stuff. when roger clemens was with the astros, roy oswalt always started the first game - didn't make him the better pitcher. although roy was a great pitcher until he really hurt himself a couple years back. ah LUUUUUUUUUUUUVVVs me some roy-o, although i know very well he has no business in the HOF

only a few (starting) pitchers have ever made me say WOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! and neither of them were carlos zambrano or matt cain, who no hit the astros in the past few years.

the first pitcher i remember seeing who really struck me was ace de al ace/future ace was roy-o in the 2000 olympics (where he was overshadowed by ben sheets who did NOT make me say WOWWWWWWW)

after that, it was francisco liriano when he was with the tigers and they came to the Box - his stuff was freaking unbelieveable. same thing with oliver perez when he was first with the pirates. i thought he was gonna make sandy koufax look mediocre. then, of course, tim lincecum when he first came up. didn't know how anyone managed to get anywhere near that baseball.

oh yeah - also taylor buchholz when he first came up with the astros (until he hurt his shoulder and he kept getting sent back out there) - i thought we had a superSUPER staH!!!! pitcher.

   15. Dale Sams Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4345649)
I think it's actually..."wow."

"Morris wasn't even the best regular season pitcher on any of those WS winning teams he played on."

Lana: "wow."
   16. GregD Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4345650)
Yeah this is like the opposite of the truth. Dwight Gooden was WOW. I wouldn't put him in the HOF but I would understand a WOW standard for him. Rice and Parker had WOW years but not enough of them.

Jack Morris had strengths but the other kind, steady, underwhelming, and lasted. If he had 210 wins, no one would ever mention him; he exists as a candidate because he hung around and gave decent value for a long time. That's valuable but not WOW.

I like longevity and am not opposed to rewarding it. An HOF with Dennis Martinez and Kaat and Tommy John, that would be an HOF where I'd be cool with Jack Morris. And that HOF wouldn't bother me. That HOF would probably also have Harold Baines and maybe Vada Pinson, HOVG guys who had long careers. That's not implausible. But an HOF that has none of those guys does have Morris makes no sense at all.
   17. rr Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4345652)
Back in the late 70s and early-mid 80s, when I was a geeky kid baseball fan, the place to be was the cover of SI. Rice and Dave Parker were on the cover the 1979 Baseball issue, and Rice, along with George Foster and Dave Parker, was probably the wowiest slugger in the game for a brief time. Carew, Schmidt, Brett and Yount were wowy too but in different ways, and of course there were no HOF debates about those guys.

In the last BB Abstract in 1988, Bill James wrote profiles of many of the game's top players, and included a Jamesian feature in them, called "In a Word." The word he chose for Dale Murphy was "Cooperstown." The word he chose for Morris IIRC was "Ace." Morris was the #1 pitcher on the 1984 Tigers and of course won Game 7 with the 1991 Twins; he made a big impact on the baseball of that time, and that is what guys like Ringolsby are focusing on.

But the wow pitchers of those days IMO were Ryan, Gooden, Carlton and Valenzuela, not Morris.
   18. Dale Sams Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4345655)
An HOF


You pronounce it "oaf" in your head? hmmmm.
   19. Dale Sams Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4345658)
Morris was the #1 pitcher on the 1984 Tigers


He may have been "No.1", but he wasn't the best.
   20. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4345659)
You pronounce it "oaf" in your head? hmmmm.


It works if you read "HOF" by the letters; "an Aitch Oh Eff"

I had the same reaction as you initially.
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4345662)
I've been watching baseball since the late 1960s, and Morris was never a WOW*.
As noted, Rice was at his peak. Bad HOF pick, but less mystifying than the Morris increasing support over time. Does seem like a defensive move against the straw man created here.

I went to about 15 of Dwight Gooden's starts at Shea in his best year - and virtually no other games.
I'll bet you'd be hardpressed to find anyone who ever went virtually exclusively to Morris starts in any season.

This might be the dumbest Morris voting pitch I've read in quite a while.

* - obviously, after his Game 7 shutout was a brief WOW - but mainly because it was shocking that he threw any shutouts, given his 3.90 career ERA.

   22. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 12, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4345666)
This might be the dumbest Morris voting pitch I've read in quite a while.

I think it's more lacking in self-awareness than lacking in intelligence. This line of reasoning is based on the recognition that the stat geeks probably understand stats better than the BBWAA does. The writer doesn't take the next step, creating some cognitive dissonance, and thus we have a narrative that runs counter to reality. But this is an issue that can be resolved with time.
   23. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 12, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4345668)
obviously, after his Game 7 shutout was a brief WOW - but mainly because it was shocking that he threw any shutouts, given his 3.90 career ERA.


Other way around -- it wasn't surprising that he was the guy to pitch a Game 7 gem like that, even though his career ERA was 3.90. (*)
If Game 7 was a surprise, as opposed to confirmation, Morris's voter support would be much lower.

(*) Or wherever it stood in October 1991.
   24. baudib Posted: January 12, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4345669)
This is, indeed, probably the dumbest Morris pitch ever. Morris is probably the weirdest HOF campaign ever.

I grew up watching baseball in the 1980s; I saw the NBC no-hitter and got caught up like everyone else in the "Bless You Boys" Tigers of 1984. But to me the impression of Morris at the time was that he was finally living up to pretty high expectations and moving into the realm of elite pitchers. The wow pitchers of the time were Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Fernando and Dave Stieb. Morris is nowhere near the 50th percentile of "Wow" factor among plausible recent HOF candidates. He might be ahead of someone like Rick Reuschel or Jim Kaat but far, far behind guys like Gooden, Guidry, Saberhagen, Cone, Hershiser. If you want to make a "wow" case for a marginal candidate, it works for Bruce Sutter and Dennis Eckersley, and yes, Jim Rice. Not for Morris.
   25. flournoy Posted: January 12, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4345672)
Jack Morris was a WOW guy, but only just as much and as often as he needed to be. He WOWed to the score.
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: January 12, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4345679)

"If Game 7 was a surprise, as opposed to confirmation, Morris's voter support would be much lower."

If Morris had pitched a complete-game, 6-3 win that day, including getting a double play with the bases loaded in the 8th at 5-3, THAT would have been a confirmation of the perception - "gutsy pitcher who finds a way to win."

   27. Steve N Posted: January 12, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4345680)
Morris got in the top 5 of Cy Young Award votes 5 time. Never higher than third. This fits with my picture of a good, not great, pitcher. The watchers at the time would seem to have agreed.
   28. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: January 12, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4345685)
Jack Morris was respected, but he was not a "WOW" pitcher at all. If you have to make up lies this big to support your case, you don't have a very good one.

My distinct memory of watching Morris pitch was definitely a "Wow." As in, "Wow, how the #### is this guy not getting his ####### ass kicked all over the field."


Yeah. Because he was terrible. Please.

obviously, after his Game 7 shutout was a brief WOW - but mainly because it was shocking that he threw any shutouts, given his 3.90 career ERA.


And that's another cheap shot. I guess he shocked you 28 other times as well.

Can we all just agree once and for all: Not a Hall of Famer, but a damned good pitcher that any team would've loved to have in their rotation.
   29. TDF, situational idiot Posted: January 12, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4345706)
My distinct memory of watching Morris pitch was definitely a "Wow." As in, "Wow, how the #### is this guy not getting his ####### ass kicked all over the field."

Yeah. Because he was terrible. Please.
Actually, this is my memory, too. What made made Morris non-terrible was that he could get out of those situations.
   30. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 12, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4345724)
My distinct memory of watching Morris pitch was definitely a "Wow." As in, "Wow, how the #### is this guy not getting his ####### ass kicked all over the field."

Yeah. Because he was terrible. Please.


Well, see #29, except it made him a lot better than non-terrible. But there's a huge gulf between terrible and "WOW." Morris was the kind of pitcher that really pissed you off if you were a fan of the team he was pitching against. He'd typically get in and out of trouble all day long, and beat your guys 7-4 or something. The feeling after losing to Morris was usually that your team had let him off the hook at least a time or two. Of course, he would throw dominant games on occasion, as any very good but not truly great pitcher will. But those occasions were not the expected result of a Morris start. "WOW" pitchers are the guys you expect to throw a gem every time. The only way a "WOW" pitcher is not a HOFer is if he just doesn't last long enough, and that was not Morris' problem.
   31. rr Posted: January 12, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4345725)
It works if you read "HOF" by the letters; "an Aitch Oh Eff"


Obviously. It isn't a one-word acronym like AIDS, or one that go either way, like "SAT" test.

I will keep my choice of the form of the indefinite article in mind the next time I use HOF though; it is probably technically correct to use "a" instead of "an" and this is clearly a key thing that I need to remember. Yes, I know this was another guy's post in this case, but I use "an HOF" as well.

As to the #1 thing, Petry (and Berenguer, actually) had a better ERA+ in 1984 than Morris did, but Morris was the better pitcher overall, the consensus #1 starter on those teams, and when people talked and wrote about those teams, it was always "Morris and Petry." That is the kind of thing that guys like Ringolsby focus on WRT to Morris and the HOF.
   32. Moeball Posted: January 12, 2013 at 05:41 PM (#4345730)
If Game 7 was a surprise, as opposed to confirmation, Morris's voter support would be much lower.


His voter support WAS lower - his first four years on the ballot he only received 22.2%, 19.6%, 20.6% and 22.8%, respectively. Four years and he was basically right back where he had started. No steady growth pattern whatsoever. Nobody considered him even remotely as a "WOW" legitimate HOF candidate. It wasn't until his 5th year on the ballot that he finally started to pick up a little traction to 26.3% and made it into the top 10 vote-getters for the first time. In fact, Morris didn't see his vote % start to jump until Bert Blyleven's did and he rode Blyeven's coattails for the next 8 years.

Not that it will matter much. If Morris doesn't get in next year via the BBWAA, the VC will probably put him in the HOF eventually. Then the BBWAA can point to his election as yet another example of the VC's loose policies letting in guys the BBWAA knew weren't fit to be elected.
   33. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 12, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4345733)
30 just isn't close to what Morris was. He was an underachiever,
not a guy that made the other team wonder how they lost. Read what Parrish and
His teammates and Sparky said.
   34. Squash Posted: January 12, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4345749)
I think this article is a pretty good example of people's ability to rewrite their own memory to reach a conclusion they want to believe. The 80s were when I discovered baseball and I was completely obsessed. Morris was not a Wow guy, not even close. He was seen as a very respected staff leader type, even a lower-tier ace, but never a Wow guy. The Wow guys were Dwight Gooden, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, healthy Dave Stieb though he was always under-appreciated due to pitching in Toronto, Fernando before he fell apart. There really just weren't that many Wow pitchers in the 1980s and Jack Morris was never thought of as one of them. He was thought of as a battler whose ability to battle helped make up for what he might have lacked in pure stuff. Dave Stewart is a good comp - a good leader who never gave in and could be counted on to throw a bunch of good innings.
   35. TDF, situational idiot Posted: January 12, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4345752)
30 just isn't close to what Morris was. He was an underachiever,
not a guy that made the other team wonder how they lost. Read what Parrish and
His teammates and Sparky said.
Yea, because his teammates and manager are very likely to say "He was lucky he won so many games". Gibson, Parrish, and Lemon would have been in the HOF years ago if it was up to Sparky.

I was in Detroit for the meat of his career (moved there in '81, left in '93), and the description in #6 is spot on. No one considered him as good as his best contemporaries, but he won a crap load of games by always walking away from that fine line unscathed.

He was a good, but not great, pitcher for a very long time. There's nothing wrong with that. He was rarely the best pitcher on his own team, let alone in the league as some now say (which is evidenced by his meager CYA support and his slow climb in HOF voting until very recently).
   36. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4345767)
Not only was Morris not a "WOW" pitcher, it would seem to run completely counter to the Morris case.

Morris was that annoying guy who wasn't going to let you win. He was that guy who would find a way to beat you when he didn't have his best stuff. He was the guy you thought you should be scoring tons of runs off of but seemed to always get the double play at the right time. He was never the fastest or the strongest, he was the toughest.

That's the Morris case. It is 100% grunt, 0% wow.*

*OK, it's 50% grunt, 50% BS but I'm trying to be nice here.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2013 at 07:39 PM (#4345782)
And, yes, if anything, the PED controversy helped Morris. In all it probably made no difference but, pretty much by definition, the more votes going to Mac and Palmeiro (and possibly Bagwell) as they got elected, the fewer votes for Morris.

Huh ... it never sunk in for me before but Mac's first year on the ballot was the Gwynn/Ripken year. Man, that would have been a massive election. Anyway, Morris fell back 4% that year as it was so he'd have fallen back even farther if Mac had soaked up another 6 names per ballot or so. Worst-case scenario for the backlog would be McGwire not quite making it over the line -- not likely but possible given Gwynn/Ripken -- then he soaks up votes for two years. Of course it's possible some of the post-2007 Mac voters that didn't vote Morris would have if they hadn't been voting Mac but it doesn't seem likely there'd have been many of those. Still, Morris probably just bounces back fully after getting whacked harder in 2007.

Palmeiro came on the ballot in 2011 which was, oddly, a stagnant year for Morris. The other big new names were Bagwell and Walker, no reason to think they would cause Morris to stall. Obviously having Palmeiro soaking up another 65-70% wasn't gonna help him especially if Bagwell also soaks up more votes. Also if Palmeiro gets 75-80% in 2011, it's possible Blyleven doesn't quite make it across, leaving him on the 2012 ballot which likely keeps Morris from the big jump he made. Anti-roiding almost certainly helped in 2011-12.

And this year? What can you say -- unless they were going to ban Biggio, Piazza, Bonds and Clemens from the ballot, Morris had little hope of election.

   38. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: January 12, 2013 at 09:21 PM (#4345832)
[Morris] looked tough, had the tough nickname . . .


I'm at a loss. I grew up watching Morris and the rest of the Tigers, and other than "Jack," I don't recall him having a nickname at all. Once in a great while, someone would refer to him as "Morris the Cat"--but that can't possibly be what you are talking about.
   39. JRVJ Posted: January 12, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4345835)
Morris is either going in next year or he's not going in at all via the BBWAA.

I, for one, have no interest whatsoever to discuss his candidacy anymore (67% of voters like him as a HoFer, but it looks like Morris has hit a wall, and next year's ballot almost certainly will overwhelm him. So that's that).
   40. ajnrules Posted: January 12, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4345861)
I wonder how many voters will withhold votes for Greg Maddux using the argument that "Jack Morris deserves to go in first." I have a sinking suspicion Murray Chass may be one.
   41. DL from MN Posted: January 12, 2013 at 09:48 PM (#4345869)
I'll toss in Orel Hershiser in the "Wow" pile. The scoreless innings streak was pretty special.

My memory of Jack Morris is mainly the 1991 season and mostly gone but my impressions of the 80s Tigers are all Trammell and Whitaker (with a smidge of Kirk Gibson). How about we elect Trammell and Whitaker instead?
   42. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 12, 2013 at 10:03 PM (#4345878)
I wonder how many voters will withhold votes for Greg Maddux using the argument that "Jack Morris deserves to go in first." I have a sinking suspicion Murray Chass may be one.

Since Chass has already announced his intention to vote for Morris and nobody else next year, then stop voting afterward, I think you can consider your suspicions confirmed.
   43. JRVJ Posted: January 12, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4345897)
42, it would be interesting to find out how many BBWAA voters don't vote because of death or incapacitation.

Not for morbid reasons (I bear no ill towards these people, not even old curmudgeons like Chass), but to find out how quickly the BBWAA membership is changing.
   44. AROM Posted: January 12, 2013 at 10:58 PM (#4345911)
I'll toss another name in for WOW, among guys not in the HOF: Mike Scott. Less of a career than Morris, didn't sustain it nearly as long. Stuff was similar, low 90's fastball and splitter. But Morris never dominated like Scott in 86.
   45. OCF Posted: January 12, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4345920)
I'll toss another name in for WOW, among guys not in the HOF: Mike Scott.

NLCS 1986, Game 6. A fantastic, unreal, amazing game. One of the tensest and most exciting post-season games ever. Why do I bring it up under Mike Scott's name when Scott never even appeared in that game? Because everyone was treating Game 6 as if it were the whole series. Had the Astros won Game 6, Scott would have pitched Game 7. And every fan I know was just conceding that potential Game 7 as an Astro win, all because of Scott.

That's domination. That was followed two years later by Hershiser '88, which is also a story of domination.

Stuff was similar, low 90's fastball and splitter.

Umm, OK, I guess you could call it that. A lot of people assume that abrasives had something to do with it.
   46. Howie Menckel Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4345986)

"Because everyone was treating Game 6 as if it were the whole series. Had the Astros won Game 6, Scott would have pitched Game 7. And every fan I know was just conceding that potential Game 7 as an Astro win, all because of Scott."

This was so true; I remember it well also.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2013 at 01:02 AM (#4345993)
Since Chass has already announced his intention to vote for Morris and nobody else next year, then stop voting afterward, I think you can consider your suspicions confirmed.

Yes and no. Chass is voting only Morris and then stopping as some form of pointless protest. He hasn't said that Morris deserves to go in before Maddux. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure Chass realizes Maddux is on the ballot next year. I would wager not a single voter thinks Morris should go in before Maddux; if there are any, they won't say so; and that other than Chass and one or two other open protest votes, not a single ballot will list Morris but not Maddux.

While Murray is certainly a stubborn curmudgeon and will probably follow through on it, you should never believe sportswriters HoF promises a year in advance. They're very flexible ... or the years of drinking have killed their memories. Chass could always say that Idelson's "we're fine with the voting" comment as "clear direction from the HoF that roiders don't belong" and vote accordingly.
   48. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 13, 2013 at 02:45 AM (#4346014)
Because everyone was treating Game 6 as if it were the whole series. Had the Astros won Game 6, Scott would have pitched Game 7. And every fan I know was just conceding that potential Game 7 as an Astro win, all because of Scott.

MLBN was talking about this game with some of the Mets and I think it was Hernandez who expressed that exact thought.
   49. AROM Posted: January 13, 2013 at 03:07 AM (#4346020)
If I were going to WOW for someone not in the HOF it would be Dwight Gooden or Eric Davis or Bo Jackson or Jose Canseco or Darryl Strawberry.


I was not especially wowed by Strawberry. He had a hell of a lot of talent and a very productive start to his career. But even if he had fulfilled his potential, he wasn't going to be anything that hadn't been seen before. If Straw stayed clean and healthy, he's Reggie Jackson. A first ballot HOFer, but at a level below Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron.

Eric Davis and Bo Jackson wowed me in that they did things on the field that forced you to stretch your conception of what is humanly possible. Or to conclude they weren't human.
   50. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:14 AM (#4346050)
I would wager not a single voter thinks Morris should go in before Maddux; if there are any, they won't say so; and that other than Chass and one or two other open protest votes, not a single ballot will list Morris but not Maddux.

Sure. I was addressing Chass only; Morris vs. Maddux is a joke of a comparison.

Not that I mind doing it anyway. Maddux is Morris, plus almost 1200 innings of 0.75 ERA pitching. He also has about 3/4 of Morris's walks in about 4/3 of Morris's innings.
   51. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4346055)
Mike Scott vs. the Mets, 1986:
26.1 IP
13 H
2 BB
26 K
1.37 ERA

The ERA was elevated because he'd given up 3 of his 4 runs to the Mets in July. In 1985, Scott had pitched 9.2 IP against the Mets with a 0.00 ERA.
   52. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:39 AM (#4346057)
Morris has become the whipping boy for those who lean more on numbers, who refuse to acknowledge that as vital as stats are in examining a Hall of Famer, there also is a value to the so-called “wow factor” the player created among his peers during his playing days.

With Morris it wasn’t wow. It was WOW.

Does anyone know if Ringolsby was one the seven voters who put Saberhagen on a HOF ballot. I would think someone who, like Morris, won a World Series MVP and two Cy Young Awards (WOW) would be a prime candidate for this line of support.
   53. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:59 AM (#4346063)
Ringolsby did not vote for Saberhagen. His 2007 ballot: Gwynn, Ripken, Gossage, Lee Smith, Morris, Trammell, Concepcion, Blyleven. There's no way of figuring what weight Ringolsby puts on WOWness; apparently he didn't vote for Boggs or Carew because he felt they weren't dominant enough (he specifically wrote that Boggs was not among the dominant third basemen of his era, while Concepcion met that test at his position). But he did vote for Jim Kaat.
   54.   Posted: January 13, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4346070)
That's because he wins on talent; Jack Morris is the only pitcher in baseball history who Wins On Will, thus he is the only player in history who was WOW.
   55. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: January 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4346073)
Ringolsby did not vote for Saberhagen. His 2007 ballot: Gwynn, Ripken, Gossage, Lee Smith, Morris, Trammell, Concepcion, Blyleven.

Thanks for the info.

That's because he wins on talent; Jack Morris is the only pitcher in baseball history who Wins On Will, thus he is the only player in history who was WOW.

Hey, if the pro-Morris argument was about his durability compared to the other starters mentioned above who towered over Morris in any given year and compiled most of their value in the '80s, it wouldn't change my mind about Morris as a HOFer, but I'd appreciate the intellectual honesty.
   56. Moeball Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4347465)
That's because he wins on talent; Jack Morris is the only pitcher in baseball history who Wins On Will, thus he is the only player in history who was WOW.


That one's good. Personally, I was thinking the whole thing about Morris was this:

His
Offensive
Run
Support
Exceeded
Such
Hurlers as blyleven and stieb, etc.
I'd rather talk about
Trammell.
   57. AROM Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4347472)
Hey, if the pro-Morris argument was about his durability compared to the other starters mentioned above who towered over Morris in any given year and compiled most of their value in the '80s, it wouldn't change my mind about Morris as a HOFer, but I'd appreciate the intellectual honesty.


If it's dominance over a longer stretch than a 10 inning game - whether single season or multi-year peak, then he falls short of guys like Saberhagen, Hershiser, Guidry, etc.

If it's durablility and consistent above average pitching, he's got nothing on Don Sutton.
   58. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4347511)
As Michael Wolverton of BP shows in this article from over a decade ago, when the HOF arguments for a candidate are weak, the candidate's supporters focus on the intangibles rather than the cold, hard numbers. (And when they do focus on the numbers we get context-free proclamations about Morris "pitching 8 innings in 52% of his starts," or whatever the BS stat trotted out last week was.

Quoting:

January 17, 2002

The Legend of Jack Morris
Slowing a Bandwagon
by Michael Wolverton

...What caught my attention was Jack Morris. No, Morris didn't get that much attention from the BBWAA voters. His total of 21% of the vote was up slightly from last year, but still miles away from the 75% needed for induction. However, Morris got very enthusiastic support from a number of high-profile analysts, including three of ESPN's most visible personalities: Joe Morgan, Peter Gammons, and Jayson Stark. Page 2's Bill Simmons also gave Morris a strong endorsement.

It wasn't so much the fact that they supported Morris that caught my eye, but the arguments the four used. They discuss Morris as if he were a mythological entity, a baseball legend who single-handedly carried teams to world championships. Like a lot of legends, this one focuses on individual anecdotes at the expense of the big picture, and it stretches the truth a little to make the character larger than life.

...

•Bill Simmons: Morris "served as the ace for three championship teams."

That depends on how you define "ace"...

...So maybe Morris was only the ace for two world champions. Isn't that still impressive? Not really. At least it hasn't impressed Hall voters in the past. Don Gullett was the staff ace for two world champions, and I've never noticed a campaign to get him in the Hall. Same with Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi, and Mort Cooper.

•Simmons: "That 10-inning, complete-game shutout in Game 7 of the '91 Series was the best 'big-game' pitching performance I've ever seen."

It was an amazing game, and Morris pitched wonderfully. He deserves some of the mileage he gets out of it. But as I've argued before, if Lonnie Smith and Bobby Cox enter the park with two functioning neurons between them that night, the Braves score at least one run off Morris in the eighth, and John Smoltz is the one whose "big-game performance" is frozen in our memories. Morris gave up the go-ahead run in that inning twice; the Braves were just too slow-witted to accept it.

•Stark: "There was a reason Morris was the winningest pitcher of his era by such a vast margin."

There was a reason, and it's called "run support."
   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4347527)
April 24, 2003

The Jack Morris Project
Does Jack Morris Belong in the Hall of Fame?
by Joe Sheehan

...What I'm trying to do is determine if we've missed something. Did Morris actually "pitch to the score" in such a way that inflated his 3.90 career ERA?

...With that goal in mind, I entered every one of Jack Morris' 527 career starts into an Excel file, along with the starts of his teammates in that time. I charted the innings pitched and runs allowed in each start, along with whether the starting pitcher left with the lead, tied or losing. I charted run support (both while the pitcher was in the game, and for the entire game) and what the relievers in that game did. For Morris, I also tracked whether he gave up the lead during the game (and if so, how many times) and whether he allowed the first run of the game.

...

I can find no pattern in when Jack Morris allowed runs. If he pitched to the score-and I don't doubt that he changed his approach-the practice didn't show up in his performance record.

I tracked a couple of extra categories for Morris, things that I thought might fit someone "pitching to the score." Morris made 527 starts, and in 235 of them, 44.6%, he gave up the first run of the game.

Setting aside those games in which he allowed the first run, Morris gave up a Tiger lead in another 109 starts. [Note: the definition of "blowing a lead" is extremely generous. Morris had to be on the mound when the go-ahead run scored. This excludes all leads blown by relievers, even if the runs scoring were charged to Morris.]

Of everything I've presented here, I believe this is the one point that best refutes the arguments for Jack Morris as a Hall of Famer... What we now know is that instead of "pitching to the score," as his supporters claim he did, Morris actually put his team behind in 344 of his 527 career starts. All told, Morris blew 136 leads in 527 starts, or about one every four times out, and that's using a generous definition of "blown lead."

*Conclusion*

As I said, I don't know what the performance record of someone who had successfully pitched to the score would look like. I am certain, though, that for a pitcher to build his Hall of Fame case on the notion that he did such a thing, he couldn't have put his team behind in nearly two-thirds of his career starts, and he couldn't have blown leads once a month throughout his career.

   60. sunnyday2 Posted: January 15, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4347648)
I'm not sayin' Jack is an OAF or anything, but the 7th game in 1991 is as WOW as it gets. The question of course is how many WOW games constitutes anything. But I also remember he got off to a great start in '84 and at the All-Star break was considered to be their MVP. And his no-hitter in '84 just confirmed that he was a WOW type of player. The 2nd half of the season, not so much.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Sebastian
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogRoyals encounter problem with online sale of playoff tickets
(33 - 3:48am, Sep 22)
Last: Bhaakon

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(353 - 2:01am, Sep 22)
Last: Swedish Chef

NewsblogHBT: Talking head says Jeter is “a fraud” and “you are all suckers”
(102 - 1:25am, Sep 22)
Last: bobm

NewsblogCameron: The Stealth MVP Candidacy of Hunter Pence
(48 - 1:07am, Sep 22)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogJohn Thorn: Fame & Fandom
(18 - 12:51am, Sep 22)
Last: Bunny Vincennes

NewsblogA’s lose Triple-A Sacramento affiliate
(92 - 12:40am, Sep 22)
Last: Toothless

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(8037 - 12:34am, Sep 22)
Last: AuntBea

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(296 - 11:51pm, Sep 21)
Last: Der-K and the statistical werewolves.

NewsblogEn Banc Court May Call Foul on Bonds Conviction
(42 - 11:50pm, Sep 21)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT August 2014:  Wrassle Mania I
(204 - 11:37pm, Sep 21)
Last: SouthSideRyan

NewsblogJames Shields is the perfect pitcher at the perfect time
(47 - 11:03pm, Sep 21)
Last: Shibal

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(834 - 10:57pm, Sep 21)
Last: CrosbyBird

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(3429 - 10:56pm, Sep 21)
Last: Greg K

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-21-2014
(102 - 10:51pm, Sep 21)
Last: salvomania

NewsblogAthletics out of top wild-card spot, Texas sweeps
(18 - 10:30pm, Sep 21)
Last: Spahn Insane

Page rendered in 0.3715 seconds
52 querie(s) executed