Prime Nein, dude…Prime Nein.
Morris’ candidacy has challenged all of us to go back and reflect on the intangibles that sabermetrics cannot and will not capture when it comes to measuring a ball player’s heart, intensity and overall influence on a ball club. He is the quintessential “throwback player” that is personified by guts and the constant pursuit of glory. Morris pitched 250 or more innings on six different occasions. Besides winning 15 or more games 12 times, he also had a streak of winning 14 or more games in a season from 1979 – 1988. In 527 career starts, Morris had pitched into the seventh inning or later on 359 occasions (68.12%).
While you have to applaud the Baseball Writers Association of America for taking a definitive stand with regard to ball players who were either associated or could have been associated with performance enhancing substances, they have inadvertently penalized Jack Morris during a critical moment in his time on the ballot. In his final year of eligibility, Morris will once again have to encounter the same cast of characters on next year’s ballot plus first time candidates such as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent. With only 10 spots on a ballot, Morris could easily lose support and could become an afterthought.
Unless an epiphany occurs and the baseball writers begin to appreciate the significance of Morris’ intangibles as a ball player and leader, he will likely remain on the outskirts of the Hall of Fame. However, Morris could one day appear on the Expansion Era ballot every three years just like Steve Garvey, Ted Simmons and Dave Concepcion if his 15th attempt at baseball immortality is unsuccessful. In this case, the 16 member Expansion Era Committee will serve as judge, jury and executioner. Currently, Gil Hodges and Jack Morris are both inextricably tied to the fact that only two ball players have ever eclipsed 60% in the Hall of Fame voting and were never elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
While the dais at this summer’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony might look and feel strange, the festivities in 2014 could be bursting at the seams. Hopefully, the next year can provide clarity and allow the baseball writers to sift through the dense fog that is performance enhancing substances with the proper knowledge and tools. If so, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the likes of Biggio, Bagwell and Piazza join Maddux, Glavine, Thomas and possibly Mussina as members of the Class of 2014. Also, we could see the Expansion Era Committee elect a quartet of eligible managers (Torre, LaRussa, Cox, and Piniella) plus posthumous honors for Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner as well! No matter what happens in both elections, a Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2014 would be incomplete without Jack Morris.
Posted: January 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM | 91 comment(s)
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