Pat: The case for Jack Morris is a lot more cut-and-dry than most people would like to think. It really boils down to this: Was he ever the best pitcher of his era?
The easy answer is no. He wasn't even close, really. He never won a Cy Young, and never finished higher than 3rd. Also, his career ERA was 3.90, which is alarmingly pedestrian. He never once had a sub-3.00 ERA in a season, and his career ERA+ is 105 (100 is average).
Morris was a horse, and he was a good pitcher for a while. But the Hall of Fame isn't for good pitchers. It's for the all-time greats. Sorry, but Jack Morris simply isn't one of them.
WILL HE GET IN: Nope. The last two years were definitely his best chance. But now, as the ballot gets more and more congested, guys like Morris drop lower on the list. Especially since there are several pitchers on the ballot for the first time (Maddux, Glavine) who are undeniably better. Morris will once again be on the outside looking in, and his vote total might actually drop for the first time since 2007.
Eric: First, let’s all be happy this is the last time we have to debate Jack Morris (well, unless he ends up on a Veterans’ Committee ballot). The lines in the sand on this one and pretty much drawn, and I’m not going to bury the lede here, I’m a NO.
There is an argument for Morris that can be made honestly. I don’t quite buy it, but at least it’s based on concrete facts, such as:
- His durability. Very few of Morris’s contemporaries lasted nearly as long and his 175 complete games is high, especially compared to now.
- Game 7, 1991. I think too much emphasis is placed on this (if we based HoF on one game, Don Larsen would be in), but it’s a well deserved feather in Morris’s cap.
- His 254 wins and “the most of the 1980s.” My thoughts on pitcher wins are well known by now, and using arbitrary endpoints is not usually how I like to go, but for some, this is a legitimate argument.
The crusade against Morris, while admittedly not helping the rhetoric, isn’t personal. If Morris gets elected, good for him. Seriously. What drives the “stat people” crazy is the argument. If it was simply “Morris ate a lot of innings, won a lot of games, and had one of the best World Series starts ever,” it wouldn’t be like this, because that stuff is all true. It’s when things cross over to solely narrative that it gets frustrating, and that’s mostly what the pro-Morris camp is peddling. If there’s one thing those in the stat community would like most, it’s less use of narrative and more use of actual evidence in making these decisions.
WILL HE GET IN: He was 42 votes shy last year. I thought a combination of old-timey sportswriters, plus the anti-PED and the anti-stats voting bloc would’ve gotten him across the line, but his vote total was basically flat. As I said above, the lines in the sand might be too entrenched for it to happen for Morris. However, this is his last chance, so every voter is going to give him one last look. It’s going to be close. If we’re being honest though, if it doesn’t happen here, it’s probably happening via the Veterans Committee.
The comment section is below. Let's fight this fight until the horse is well and truly dead.