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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Joe Posnanski Blog: Best pitcher of the 1980s …

Attention All Jack Morris Fans!  Just turn away and go back to your rooms until Stachetober (National Morrismonth) comes around where we all can celebrate Jacktober 27th in peace.

I’m not going to lie to you here — I hate the Jack Morris Hall of Fame campaign. Hate it. Despise it. Loathe it. And it isn’t just because there are a few people who will put Jack Morris on their ballots but leave off Bert Blyleven, which is so obviously and clearly wrong that it makes my teeth hurt. I know the other day I tried my best to climb into the minds of one of these voters, and I tried to put some logic behind it, but honestly, I failed miserably. To me, this Blyleven or Morris question seems easier than one of those sample questions you would get on those aptitude tests in the third grade.

Hmm, so you’re telling me that Blyleven has 33 more wins, 32 more shutouts, 1,223 more strikeouts, 68 fewer walks, an ERA that more than a half run better, an ERA+ that’s 13 points better, a better overall postseason record and five or six individual seasons that were better than Jack Morris’ best season … wow, can I have a few more minutes to think about this? Wait, Blyleven had a lot more losses too, so that, oh, he played for worse teams, yeah, that might have had something do with that, um, hold on, I need to sharpen my No. 2 pencil and think about this …

No, that’s not the reason I hate the campaign. And it’s not because I hate Jack Morris — I don’t. I kind of liked the guy in that “he’d stick the ball in your butt to get you out” sort of way. Plus he had a cool stache.

Repoz Posted: December 29, 2007 at 02:01 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 29, 2007 at 03:12 PM (#2656177)
Really good article by Posnanski. This is why he's the best baseball writer in the business.
   2. . Posted: December 29, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2656206)
I didn't realize there WAS a Jack Morris campaign.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2656230)
Starts in the 1980s

1. Jack Morris 332
2. Dave Stieb 331
3. Jim Clancy 317
4. Nolan Ryan 314
5. Bob Welch 311
6. Bob Knepper 306
7. Frank Tanana 304
8. Floyd Bannister 294
9. Doyle Alexander 289
10.Bert Blyleven and Rick Rhoden 288
   4. Anthony Giacalone Posted: December 29, 2007 at 04:08 PM (#2656232)
Best Pitcher of the 1980s? I'm glad to see that someone is finally championing Dave Stieb and Dan Quisenberry.
   5. asinwreck Posted: December 29, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2656248)
Stieb and Quisenberry get plenty of attention in the article.
   6. Joe Posted: December 29, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2656421)
I think they should both be in. Morris because for more than a decade he was the best "big game" pitcher in the bigs. Blyleven simply because of his curve ball. Best ever.
   7. Srul Itza Posted: December 29, 2007 at 10:50 PM (#2656557)
If Jack Morris' entry into the Hall was the price we had to pay for Bert getting in, I would be okay with it.
   8. buddy Posted: December 29, 2007 at 10:55 PM (#2656559)
hasn't the notion that morris was the "best big game pitcher in the bigs" been thoroughly debunked? he had a truly memorable game. other than that?

another terrific article by joe.
   9. Jesus Melendez Posted: December 30, 2007 at 12:20 AM (#2656592)
The Jack Morris argument is an interesting one. HOWEVER (and the author DID do this) DO have to take his numbers versus his peers into consideration. Comparing him to Jim Kaat though...c'mon. As far as the 80s are concerned...Morris was THE pitcher of the decade. Screw win shares! I mean, how did Nolan Ryan fair when it came to win shares? Other stats aside, the guy wasn't much better than a .500 pitcher!

I've written about Morris (and other potential Hall of Famers) over at my blog...The Hall of Very Good. Check it out!
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2007 at 12:47 AM (#2656615)
Mark Grace has the most hits of the 90s!
   11. Jesus Melendez Posted: December 30, 2007 at 01:09 AM (#2656631)
Write up your argument for Grace, email it to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and I'll post it at The Hall of Very Good.
   12. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 30, 2007 at 01:09 AM (#2656632)
That was the argument for Grace.
   13. Jesus Melendez Posted: December 30, 2007 at 01:10 AM (#2656635)
One stat? C''re better than that!
   14. Tracy Posted: December 30, 2007 at 01:39 AM (#2656649)

I can't decide if your site is a parody, or if you are really obtuse.

Please enlighten.
   15. Dag Nabbit at Posted: December 30, 2007 at 02:35 AM (#2656669)
The thing is that (some) people want you to FEEL the Morris case, feel it in your gut

So the Morris campaign is an exercize in truthiness?
   16. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 30, 2007 at 02:38 AM (#2656670)
I can't decide if your site is a parody, or if you are really obtuse.

Don't #### with The Jesus!
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2007 at 03:10 AM (#2656677)
"I don't talk to women when I'm naked, unless they're on top of me or I'm on top of them."

-Jack Morris

How many women are voting for the Hall of Fame?
   18. Mudpout Posted: December 30, 2007 at 05:06 AM (#2656706)
I wonder how much of the argument for Morris is fueled by the fact that his best years were between '79 to '92, making him a guy tailor-made for the "Best of the Decade" argument, because you can count up the years '80 to '89, then look at his '91 and '92. What if his best years had been from '73 to '86 instead?

And even looking at the starts list posted above, most of the guys on there, except for Ryan and the last half of Blyleven's career, are guys who had good, but not great careers that were centered on the '80s. It was a decade that had a lot of great pitchers either see their careers end or start around the middle of the decade.
   19. Jesus Melendez Posted: December 30, 2007 at 05:29 AM (#2656715)

I'd say a GREAT deal has to do with the timeframe that Morris pitched...he makes out like a bandit! HOWEVER...dumb stats like that is precisely what the Hall of Fame loves.

To yourself a favor and actually READ what the plaques say at Cooperstown. Some of them mention the number of one hitters pitchers have thrown or opening day starts. NONE of them mention OPS+ or sabermetrics.

I think when you talk about the Hall of Fame, you have to put yourself into the mindset of a voter...not a statsgeek. The writers remember who was out there EVERY opening day. They remember who seemed to have always dominated the game. They remember dynamic figures.

They don't think about "win shares" or the like.
   20. ValueArb Posted: December 30, 2007 at 06:14 AM (#2656739)
Does anyone even post in these threads anymore without including a link to their crappy web site and/or blog?
   21. Mudpout Posted: December 30, 2007 at 12:02 PM (#2656786)
Alright, this needs to be settled. It seems that, statistically, it's incredibly hard to justify the Jack-Morris-For-HOF argument. But the truthiness of the argument is so strong, due in large part to his mustache. So there's really only one solution that'll make everyone happy: Jack Morris must embark on a career as a major league manager. Combining the personalities of James Gammon's Lou Brown and Tom Hanks' Jimmy Dugan to create the most likable modern manager, Morris will quit his job as a fur coat model to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates back into the playoffs while schooling his younger players on how to avoid the clap.

Edit: The eventual, implied conclusion of this is that he will make it into the hall as a manager.
   22. Greg Posted: December 30, 2007 at 05:07 PM (#2656866)

I'm a fairly moderate guy, I really hate arguments unless they are a vehicle for getting people to understand one another better, so this whole Jesus Melendez thing gets to me.

But I think this last post sort of shows where some of the argument comes from.

I think you'll see that on this site whether or not a guy WILL make the Hall of Fame is not talked about much. The majority of people assume the Hall of Fame SHOULD have the game's best players, and therefore that's what they discuss.
   23. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 30, 2007 at 05:28 PM (#2656873)
Yes, Jesus seems much more interested in what will happen, thus the whole "Jim Thome is not a first ballot guy."

Either that, or his main criteria for determining who is the better player is "What do the writers think?" If Jack Morris gets better support than Bert Blyleven, then Morris, by default, was the better pitcher.
   24. Internet Commenter Posted: December 30, 2007 at 05:34 PM (#2656876)
If Morris isn't a HOFer, then neither are Feller, Gibson, or Mathewson.
   25. Answer Guy. Posted: December 30, 2007 at 05:36 PM (#2656879)
The numbers I can't get past are 3.90 and 4.08. The former being Morris' career ERA and the latter being what an average AL pitcher was doing ERA-wise in over the course of his career. Those numbers are just too close.
   26. Jesus Melendez Posted: December 30, 2007 at 06:42 PM (#2656912)
Yes, Jesus seems much more interested in what will happen, thus the whole "Jim Thome is not a first ballot guy."

I kinda laid that out (most recently) in post 19...I do throw in my own opinions though.

On a related note...I just noticed the "Stachetober" reference above. There are a group of us that have been celebrating "Mustache May" for some time now as well. Start the month, clean shaven...then feel free grow out your glorious "womb broom".

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