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Thread: Jack Morris

  1. #1

    Jack Morris

    I've seen some Tiger players mentioned but I haven't seen the name Jack Morris come up.

    I think it's because of a unrealistic expectation for low ERA's and high strikeout totals. I think his post-season performances and 154 wins is plenty enough for a nod.

    Anyone?

  2. #2

    Jack again

    I see his percentage is going up. There may be hope.

    Year Election Votes Pct
    2000 BBWAA 111 22.24
    2001 BBWAA 101 19.61
    2002 BBWAA 97 20.55
    2003 BBWAA 113 22.78
    2004 BBWAA 133 26.28

  3. #3
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    Meh. His entire reputation is based on his great postseason starts. Let's take a closer look, eh?

    He's a very respectable 7-4 in the postseason with a decent 3.80 ERA. But the difference between his wins and losses are night and day. Note: He started every game he appeared in and earned a decision for 11 of his 13 starts.

    In wins: 7-0, 2.16 ERA
    In losses: 0-4, 6.50 ERA
    In no decisions: 2 starts, 6 ER in 9.1 IP, 5.81 ERA

    And let's not forget where his two worst losses came from: the '92 World Series with the Jays. 2 G, 0-2, 10 ER in 10.2 IP for a 8.44 ERA.

    He certainly earned his '91 Twins ring. I'm never going to argue that he didn't. But he wasn't dominant against the league. Peak ERA+ of 133. Broke 125 a total of 3 times, including the 133. Career ERA+ of 105. Seriously. 105.

    So you have a slightly above average regular season pitcher and a night-and-day postseason pitcher who could pitch a 10-inning shutout in game 7 of the World Series but was almost as likely to crash and burn horribly than win at all.

  4. #4
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    --I'm not going to argue too hard for Jack. He is at best a marginal Hall of Famer. There are some pitchers in the hall not as good as he is, but there are more pitchers better who aren't.
    --The disparity in his wins and losses in the postseason is pretty easy to explain though. It isn't like he was up and down in post season games in his prime. Four of those six bad games came in the 1992 postseason when he had nothing left in the tank. Although he won 21 games that season, he was just over league average in ERA+ (102) and struggled down the strech. He got bombed in the post season and lasted only two more seasons, both of which he spent time on the DL and was awfull when he wasn't (ERA+s in the 70s and 80s).
    --Morris was a workhorse who was amoung the league leaders in IP and wins for over a decade and who came up big in the big games. He wasn't amoung the elite pitchers of all time, but he has to be in the 80s All Stars rotation and all but a handfull of teams in any era would be happy to have him as their number one guy.

  5. #5
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    I just think it's kind of funny that he went from 4-0 in the '91 postseason to 0-3 in the '92 postseason. The Jays won that World Series despite him.

    Maybe being a workhorse should earn him brownie points. I don't know. I just can't bring myself to support a man with a 105 ERA+. He also had 4 seasons of at least 160 IP where he had a sub-100 ERA+.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by zzazazz

    I think it's because of a unrealistic expectation for low ERA's
    I'm really not following this at all ...

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    Jack Morris seemed like the dominant American League pitcher in the 80s so he deserves the Hall of Fame.

  8. #8

    Era

    My point is that he had an excellent 18 year career and by not having a super low ERA such as Koufax or Gibson he is not seriously considered. As of right now there are only three active pitchers that have more wins than Morris: Glavine, Maddux and Clemens.


    Quote Originally Posted by dgarza
    I'm really not following this at all ...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Designated Fielder
    Jack Morris seemed like the dominant American League pitcher in the 80s so he deserves the Hall of Fame.
    It was a weak decade. If you're looking at the entire decade, his closest competition is Dave Stieb, who was as good, if not better, as Morris, minus the post season heroics. (Although that is a lot.)

    The NL's best pitcher for the entire decade was, maybe, Fernando Valenzuela, who was more iconic than superstar.
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    The 80s are a forgotten decade. The players of the 80s did not produce the numbers so their dominance is forgotten. Where is Dale Murphy on Hall of Fame ballots?

    Both Murphy and Morris deserve election.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zzazazz
    As of right now there are only three active pitchers that have more wins than Morris: Glavine, Maddux and Clemens.
    So what? There are also 7 retired pitchers with more wins than Morris!

    At any point in time, there is going to be an extremely few number of active pitchers with more than 254 wins in their career. How on earth does that justify Morris's election?

    I don't give much additional credit to a pitcher for "being a workhorse" (as it is already born out in his career numbers), nor because he would supposedly have been the "ace" for a number of other teams.

    If I were a manager in the 1980s, I don't know that there'd have been any difference between Morris and Dave Stieb, or Dennis Martinez, or anyone else and I'd rather have had a half-dozen other guys in any given year (Valenzuela, Gooden, Clemens, Viola, Scott, Ryan, etc.) heading my rotation than Morris.

    Had Morris pitched for the Indians or Mariners in the 1980s and put up exactly the same stats year-after-year, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
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  12. #12

    Thank you veddy much

    I appreciate all the opinions about Jack Morris. Much of what you all have said has made lean toward him not making the hall.

    Especially telling was the ERA+ career stat that someone referenced. Although when you look at his best years his ERA+ is just as good as the other top pitchers of the 80's (except for Gooden's second year which is ridiculous).

    I don't buy that it was a weak decade. Just becuase pitching didn't dominate then all the pitchers were not as good? Does anyone know that percentage of pitchers and batters in the 80's that were non-white and how that compares to other decades?

    The reason I mentioned the three active pitchers who had more wins than him because two of those three are first ballot hall of famers.

    Ed

  13. #13
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    Wins aren't everything, not to a pitcher--there are too many other things that need to happen for a pitcher to win that're out of his hands. If a pitcher gives up 6 runs per game, but gets 7 runs in support, he'll win with a 6.00 ERA. Sure, he gets plenty of wins, but not because he's a good pitcher--it's because the lineup is good enough to cover his tail. And as for the reverse situation, just look at Randy Johnson's '04 season.

    Morris' career-high ERA+ is 133. That is not "just as good" as other pitchers.

    Pitcher: Years with ERA+ >133
    Clemens: 12
    Maddux: 9
    Blyleven: 6
    Saberhagen: 6
    Ryan: 4
    Stanley: 4
    Viola: 4
    Tanana: 3
    Valenzuela: 3
    Gooden: 2

    He's not in the same class, not with ERA+.

  14. #14

    Era +

    If you want to split statistical hairs the consider those with years over 120 ERA+


    Clemens 15
    Blyleven 11
    Morris 6
    Tanana 4

  15. #15
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    120+? Fine.

    Name - 120+ count - Career/Peak

    Clemens ---- 15 - 141/226
    Maddux ----- 12 - 141/273
    Seaver ----- 12 - 127/193
    Blyleven ---- 11 - 118/158
    Stieb -------- 8 - 122/171
    Key --------- 7 - 122/164
    Ryan -------- 7 - 112/194
    Blue --------- 6 - 108/183
    Morris ------ 6 - 105/133
    Saberhagen -- 6 - 126/178
    Stanley ------ 6 - 118/158
    Viola --------- 6 - 113/161
    Hershiser ----- 5 - 112/172
    Hough ------- 5 - 106/154
    Langston ----- 5 - 108/142
    Tudor -------- 5 - 124/183
    Tanana ------ 5 - 106/154
    Gooden ------ 4 - 110/226
    Valenzuela --- 4 - 103/143

    Well then. 6 seasons of at least 120+ is good. But it's by no means distinguishing. Morris has the second-lowest career ERA+ on this list (Valenzuela) and the lowest peak number. So how does Morris' ERA+ compare again? That's right, it really doesn't.

  16. #16
    I agree with the sentiments that at best, Morris is a good borderline candidate. I think his record is more a reflection of pitching for some pretty good teams than indicative of his actual skill. A career high ERA+ of 133 is not impressive at all, neither is his 3.80 career ERA. That being said, Morris was a good and consistent pitcher with some very memorable postseason performances, and I think that's why his vote numbers have been going up each year. After this year's election, I was surprised by the amount of attention thrown Morris' way, especially on ESPN. So it does seem that a buzz is growing in favor of Morris' candidacy, but I think he's a long, long way off from making it. If he Morris were to get in before Blyleven, I'd lose faith in all that is good.

  17. #17
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    Another thing is that I'm extremely wary of someone who's entire case is built around (a) having the most wins in a 10-year period of time, (b) pitched his best in a couple of short post-season series, and (c) pitched a lot of innings for many years.

    If those supplemented other fine qualities, then he'd be a very good candidate. Since that's pretty much his whole case....
    "What is not discussed, will not be advanced." -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan
    "They didn't call amphetamines 'ability pills' because they allowed you to re-roll your AD&D character sheet." -- Dan Szymborski

  18. #18
    Not once did Morris ever finish in the top 3 in his league in ERA or ERA+. He was a solid pitcher, not a Hall of Famer.

  19. #19
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    In 1999 I wrote this Baseball Digest-styled article, making the best case I could for Jack Morris.

    You Don't Know Jack: Morris for the Hall of Fame
    By Dan Greenia

    This year, Jack Morris debuts on the hall of fame ballot. He will not be a first-year electee. People are so imbued with a "you need 300 wins" mentality that Jack may have a hard time getting mentioned on 5% of the ballots casts. That would be a crime because the doors of the Hall would be forever barred to Morris. (Candidates need a minimum of 5% to continue on the ballot.) In this article, you will get to know Jack and see that he is up to Hall standards.
    Let's start with arguments against Morris. The first thing you hear is "he only won 254 games". Only 254 wins?! No active pitcher has had 250 wins since Jack retired over five years ago. And this is actually rather silly because 254 happens to be the median number of wins among starting pitchers in the Hall of fame. That's right. Of the 57 starting pitchers now enshrined, #29 is Red Faber with exactly 254 wins.
    The fact is, over time a line has been drawn, but not at 300. Only the elite pitchers, the top third in the Hall, have 300 wins. The hall of fame line is at 250 wins. Every pitcher with 250 wins since the modern pitching distance was established in 1893 is in the hall of fame--except for Morris and three others on the ballot with him (Tommy John, Bert Blyleven and Jim Kaat). Everyone else, even those with weak W-L pcts (Rixey .515, Lyons .531), has been put in eventually.
    Then you hear, "Wait, those three other guys all have more wins than Morris, so they're better and they go in before Jack." Well, maybe, but that has nothing to do with the issue of whether Morris deserves the hall of fame or not. A player's worth should be judged on its own merits, not set against whoever happens to be on the ballot with him. Unfortunately, many voters fall into this trap. A good example is Luis Tiant's voting support.
    Tiant, a 229-game winner, received 132 votes his first year on the ballot. The next year he got only 47. Wow, he must have had a bad year! Actually, it had nothing to do with whether he deserved the Hall or not, it was the competition. In 1988, the voters measured Luis against Jim Bunning and Mickey Lolich; in '89, his support waned as Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins entered the ballot.
    So, yeah, John and Blyleven should be elected ahead of Morris, but so what? If they are all qualified for the Hall (which they are) then they should all get a vote. Few voters fill in all ten slots on their ballot anyway, so there is room for writing down three or more pitchers on most ballots.
    Another knock against Jack is that he had only three 20-win years. Mainly, this is because it was a much more difficult feat to win 20 in Morris' era than in the previous one. In the fifteen years that Morris was a regular starter (25 GS or 150 IP), 1979 to 1993, there were 62 20-game winners (4 per year). This is less than half as many as the previous fifteen years: from 1964 to 1978, there were 139 20-game winners (9 per year).
    Anyway, there are already 14 starters in the Hall with three or fewer 20-win years. Ten of these have fewer career wins than Jack (Bender, Bunning, Drysdale, Ford, Haines, Hoyt, Koufax, Marquard, Pennock and Vance).
    Another strike against Morris is he never won a Cy Young award. Again, many hall of fame pitchers never did. Relying partly on retroactive surveys, there are at least 10 pitchers in the Hall who were never their league's top pitcher (Haines, Bender, Pennock, Marichal, Willis, Lyons, Niekro, Sutton, Ryan and Plank); five of these had fewer career wins than Jack.
    Also, if you compare his 1986 season to many Cy Young winners of that era you can see that it was a Cy Young-type year.
    Code:
    	             	W-L	ERA	IP	CG	SO
    Morris     	1986	21-8	3.27	267	15	223
    Perry      	1978	21-6	2.73	261	5	154
    Flanagan 	1979	23-9	3.08	266	16	190
    Vuckovich	1982	18-6	3.34	224	9	105
    Hoyt       	1983	24-10	3.66	261	11	148
    Denny     	1983	19-6	2.37	243	7	139
    Saberhagen	1985	20-6	2.87	236	10	158
    Clemens   	1987	20-9	2.97	282	18	256
    Drabek    	1990	22-6	2.76	231	9	131
    Glavine    	1991	20-11	2.55	247	9	192
    Clemens   	1991	18-10	2.62	271	13	241
    McDowell 	1993	22-10	3.37	257	10	158
    The average season among these eleven Cy Young pitchers is 21-8, 2.94 ERA, 253 IP, 11 CG, 170 SO. There are certainly some years where Morris' season could have won the award.
    The most glaring weakness in Jack's credentials is his lifetime ERA. At 3.90 it his higher than any pitcher in the Hall. There are several points to note about this:
    Some of this was the manager. Sparky would leave Jack in to be pummeled even if he didn't have his good stuff that day, just because he was his workhorse and his ace.
    Morris and Blyleven are the first serious Hall candidates to pitch over 2750 innings in a DH league. Without the DH, Jack's ERA would be under 3.50.
    The league's ERA during Jack's career was 4.09. So, although 3.90 isn't great, it's easily better than average.
    When the veterans committee finally stops messing around and elects Wes Ferrell, Morris will not have the highest ERA in the Hall. Ferrell was a six-time 20-game winner who compiled a 4.04 ERA in the heavy-hitting AL of the 30's.
    Jack was hit hard at the end of his career. Before his last two years, his ERA was 3.73. One hall of famer (Red Ruffing 3.80) has a higher ERA than that.
    Up to this point, we have seen that Morris' perceived weaknesses do not disqualify him from Hall consideration. What accomplishments does he have that support his election?
    You often hear that Jack had the most wins in the 1980's, but it's more than that. Morris is baseball's winningest pitcher over the past quarter-century. From 1975 to 1999, the top winners were: Morris (254), Roger Clemens (247), Dennis Martinez (245), Nolan Ryan (233), Frank Tanana (224), Greg Maddux (221).
    The significance of being the top winner of a generation is seen by the fact that the leading winner for every other 25-year period in baseball history is in the Hall. [Later, I also found that Kaat led in wins from 1953-77 with 253. The only other quarter-century with less wins than Morris was 1929-53 when Feller led with 249.] That's not really surprising and it demonstrates how Morris is truly qualified to join the ranks of the immortals.
    There are other unique distinctions in Jack's resume. Morris was THE workhorse pitcher of his generation, completing the highest percentage of his career starts. From 1975 to 1999, the leaders in complete game percentage (minimum 300 GS) were: Morris (33.2%), Steve Rogers (32.8%), Blyleven (32.5%), Steve Carlton (29.5%), Ron Guidry (29.4%), Mike Torrez (28.2%).
    Jack also has the highest career won-lost percentage among long-career pitchers not in the hall of fame. Among the 85 retired pitchers with 3250 IP or 375 decisions since the modern pitching distance was established in 1893, the leaders in WL Pct who are not in the Hall are: Morris (.577), Tiant (.571), Vida Blue (.565), Dennis Martinez (.559), Billy Pierce (.555), Tommy John (.555).
    Seven hall of famers have shorter careers and lower percentages than Jack: Hunter, Haines, Hoyt, Drysdale, Bunning, Waddell and Marquard. Two others (Newhouser and Vance) have much shorter careers and only slightly higher percentages. Three others (Lyons, Faber, and Willis) have much lower percentages and only slightly longer careers.
    Lastly, we cannot forget Morris' reputation as perhaps the leading big game pitcher of his generation. His two complete game victories in the 1984 World Series led the Tigers to the championship. A 2-0 mark in the 1991 Series, including a 10-inning shutout in game seven, earned him the Series MVP.
    Hopefully, it has been demonstrated that Jack Morris' achievements outweigh his unimpressive ERA. Unfortunately, John and Blyleven are blocking the door to the Hall and as long as they are on the ballot Jack will get lagging support. While there is no chance that Morris will be a first-ballot electee to the Hall (and probably will not be elected by the writers at all), he deserves enough support to draw the attention of the veterans committee twenty or thirty years from now.
    Eradicate, wipe out and abolish redundancy.

    Free El Duque!(and Mark Mulder) -- discover how the HOF rules are cheating this renowned member of Torre's Yankees dynasty and ask the HOF to include him on the ballot for the next BBWAA election.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freakshow
    In 1999 I wrote this Baseball Digest-styled article, making the best case I could for Jack Morris.

    You Don't Know Jack: Morris for the Hall of Fame
    By Dan Greenia
    Let's start with arguments against Morris. The first thing you hear is "he only won 254 games". Only 254 wins?! No active pitcher has had 250 wins since Jack retired over five years ago.

    Not exactly a long amount of time, and Wins are not the end-all . . .

    Everyone else, even those with weak W-L pcts (Rixey .515, Lyons .531), has been put in eventually.

    . . . nor is W-L pct

    Another strike against Morris is he never won a Cy Young award. Again, many hall of fame pitchers never did. Relying partly on retroactive surveys, there are at least 10 pitchers in the Hall who were never their league's top pitcher (Haines, Bender, Pennock, Marichal, Willis, Lyons, Niekro, Sutton, Ryan and Plank);

    Pennock probably was the best pitcher in his league in 1925, Willis in 1899 AND 1901, Lyons in 1927, Niekro in 1974 AND 1978, and Ryan in 1977.

    The most glaring weakness in Jack's credentials is his lifetime ERA. At 3.90 it his higher than any pitcher in the Hall. There are several points to note about this:
    Some of this was the manager. Sparky would leave Jack in to be pummeled even if he didn't have his good stuff that day, just because he was his workhorse and his ace.

    He might have left him in but he only led the league in CG once

    Morris and Blyleven are the first serious Hall candidates to pitch over 2750 innings in a DH league. Without the DH, Jack's ERA would be under 3.50.

    How do you figure this?

    The league's ERA during Jack's career was 4.09. So, although 3.90 isn't great, it's easily better than average.

    His ERA+ is 105, which I believe would be the worst in the Hall

    When the veterans committee finally stops messing around and elects Wes Ferrell, Morris will not have the highest ERA in the Hall. Ferrell was a six-time 20-game winner who compiled a 4.04 ERA in the heavy-hitting AL of the 30's.

    So heavy-hitting that Ferrell's ERA+ is much higher, 117.

    Jack was hit hard at the end of his career. Before his last two years, his ERA was 3.73. One hall of famer (Red Ruffing 3.80) has a higher ERA than that.

    So since they made one mistake ...

    That's not really surprising and it demonstrates how Morris is truly qualified to join the ranks of the immortals.
    There are other unique distinctions in Jack's resume. Morris was THE workhorse pitcher of his generation, completing the highest percentage of his career starts. From 1975 to 1999, the leaders in complete game percentage (minimum 300 GS) were: Morris (33.2%), Steve Rogers (32.8%), Blyleven (32.5%), Steve Carlton (29.5%), Ron Guidry (29.4%), Mike Torrez (28.2%).

    If you're using CG to complain that Morris was left in too long, should you be using it as a positive then?

    Seven hall of famers have shorter careers and lower percentages than Jack: Hunter, Haines, Hoyt, Drysdale, Bunning, Waddell and Marquard. Two others (Newhouser and Vance) have much shorter careers and only slightly higher percentages. Three others (Lyons, Faber, and Willis) have much lower percentages and only slightly longer careers.

    The "mistake" comment above
    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

  21. #21
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    Not winning a Cy Young isn't a death sentence concerning Hall of Fame candidacy. But Morris never even deserved one.

    Let's look at '86, shall we?

    6th in ERA
    2nd in wins
    5th in W-L %
    5th in WHIP
    8th in H/9IP
    Unranked in BB/9IP
    7th in K/9IP
    3rd in IP
    3rd in K
    6th in GS
    t-3rd in CG
    1st in SO
    2nd in HR allowed
    t-6th in Wild Pitches
    3rd in Batters Faced
    6th in ERA+ at 127

    Is that a good year? Yes. Would I like Morris in my starting rotation for this year? Unless I already have Maddux, Johnson, Clemens, Santana, and Schilling, then yes. Is this a Cy Young-worthy season for '86? No, Clemens blows him away. Is this a Cy Young-worthy season for any year? No. It's good, but it's not special.

  22. #22
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    Remember that the article is a Baseball Digest-styled article. It's simplistic, along the lines of the typical BBWAA voter's mentality. You can't mention ERA+ because they don't know it or understand it. The most important number BY FAR is career victories. You can't say that Niekro was the best pitcher in 1974 AND 1978, and Ryan in 1977 because the Cy Young award voting proves that they were not.

    By its nature, the article makes the argument for Morris based on things other than sabermetric analysis. That sabermetrics refutes some of these misses the point.

    The impact of the DH on run scoring is nearly one run per game. There were several old studies, none of which I can cite offhand, that reached similar conclusions. If you look at AL vs NL scoring over the last 30 years it suggests an increase around .80 R/G for both teams combined.

    Also, in an incomplete search, I found Marquard at ERA+ of 103. Pennock (106) and Grimes (107) are close.
    Eradicate, wipe out and abolish redundancy.

    Free El Duque!(and Mark Mulder) -- discover how the HOF rules are cheating this renowned member of Torre's Yankees dynasty and ask the HOF to include him on the ballot for the next BBWAA election.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freakshow
    Remember that the article is a Baseball Digest-styled article. It's simplistic, along the lines of the typical BBWAA voter's mentality. You can't mention ERA+ because they don't know it or understand it. The most important number BY FAR is career victories. You can't say that Niekro was the best pitcher in 1974 AND 1978, and Ryan in 1977 because the Cy Young award voting proves that they were not.

    Also, in an incomplete search, I found Marquard at ERA+ of 103. Pennock (106) and Grimes (107) are close.
    Cy Young voting doesn't "prove" anything. I'm not suggesting Morris would have the worst ERA+ in the Hall, I'm suggesting he would open the floodgates further.
    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthMayBond
    Cy Young voting doesn't "prove" anything.
    THANK YOU!

    Just because the writers and pundits say it doesn't make it so. Clemens was not better than Johnson last year, I don't care what their W-L records were or what a bunch of head-in-the-ground writers think.

    To say that writers only care about wins is both appaling and truthful. Really, it's appaling because it's truthful.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freakshow
    Remember that the article is a Baseball Digest-styled article. It's simplistic, along the lines of the typical BBWAA voter's mentality. You can't mention ERA+ because they don't know it or understand it.
    OK, don't put it in terms of ERA+. Put it in terms of "Morris' ERA was 5% better than his league's average, while adjusted for his home parks."

    20th Century Pitchers with more IP (3824) and a better career ERA+ (105) than Morris:

    Frank Tanana
    Dennis Martinez
    Bert Blyleven
    Tommy John
    Jim Kaat
    Jerry Koosman

    20th Century Pitchers with more IP but a worse ERA+:

    Sam Jones (104 ERA+)

    20th Century Pitchers with fewer IP but a better ERA+:

    Charlie Hough (3801 IP)
    Bobo Newsom (3759 IP)
    Paul Derringer (3645 IP)
    Bob Friend (3611 IP)
    Rick Reuschel (3548 IP)
    Luis Tiant (3486 IP)
    Wilbur Cooper (3480 IP)

    etc...

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