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Luis Tiant or Jack Morris in the HOF?

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    Bothrops Atrox
    IDC/ZRC/NJC*/*

  • Bothrops Atrox
    replied
    Originally posted by Go get em Tigers View Post
    I think some of you guys are forgetting that Tiant spent ten years pitching before the designated hitter era. Give Morris a .115 hitter every ninth batter, and I'm sure his numbers would have improved dramatically. Unless you account for that, then you're comparing apples and oranges.
    Yes, but his ERA+ (which a barely above average) of 104 is being compared to guys who pitched in the same conditions - excluding defensive support, of which Morris recieved a lot of. For a guy to have an ERA+ that low to make the Hall, they need well over 4,000 innings, and something else, such as Early Wynn's dynamic offensive production which equaled about 5-6 ERA+ points.

    Bottom line: even amung his peers, Morris' ability to prevent runners from scoring was not much above average.

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  • Go get em Tigers
    Registered User

  • Go get em Tigers
    replied
    I pick Morris

    I think some of you guys are forgetting that Tiant spent ten years pitching before the designated hitter era. Give Morris a .115 hitter every ninth batter, and I'm sure his numbers would have improved dramatically. Unless you account for that, then you're comparing apples and oranges.

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  • Paul Wendt
    Registered User

  • Paul Wendt
    replied
    Originally posted by 538280 View Post
    Morris's wins and losses were what you could expect from his runs allowed and his support-he didn't beat that expectation significantly. In other words the number of games he won is predicted correctly by his runs allowed and runs scored for him-if his mental toughness and big game ability translated into real success for his teams, he would be beating that expectation.
    . . . the number of games Morris won are a natural result of the runs he gave up and that his team scored for him-if he was "saving" his stuff for the important times or was really bearing down when his team needed it most, if those things are such big factors as you suggest, then he would beat that expectation by more than he actually does.
    . . .
    Second, if Morris' durability, because he could stay in games longer, led to more wins than his rates would suggest then it would show in the expectation I showed above. If his ability to stay in games was truly as benificial as you make it sound, he won-lost record would reflect that in it being much better than his rates would suggest-but that isn't the case.
    . . .
    Not disputing that, but again, if Morris staying in the game so long due to his durability had a big effect then it would show up in him winning more games than his ERA would suggest.
    Durability, mental toughness, etc, could be a point in favor of Morris simply on the grounds that he remained in games whose outcome was not in doubt and thereby provided extra rest for his staffmates. That would not show up in his starts or decisions, wins or losses, only in innings and complete games.

    That isn't the only point people do make of his durability, etc, so this kind of analysis (as in the rebuttal quoted here) certainly needs to handle the number of decisions as a variable, given the number of starts. Maybe it needs to handle the number of starts as a variable. In other words, it isn't a good reply to focus on winning percentage.

    Of course, it's fair to say that the burden of developing the argument is on the other side, in favor of Morris.

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  • curveball
    Registered User

  • curveball
    replied
    Morris has absolutely no business in the HOF. He had the luxury of playing for great Tiger teams, and had very good run support over his career. The only thing that stood out over his career was his won-loss record which stood at 254-186. Wins are so overrated anyways, but translate that record to neutral wins, and his record becomes 229-204.

    When it comes to statistical arguments, Morris fails miserably. Most of the arguments people make for him are perceptual ones. He was a workhorse, his era was high because he pitched to the score, he was dominant, etc... Do a little stat based research on the guy, and the conclusion should be pretty obvious in my opinion.

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  • digglahhh
    Pedrophile/Food Metaphor

  • digglahhh
    replied
    Originally posted by Tigerfan1974 View Post
    As you know, that is just so much mumbo-jumbo to me.
    Sorry!
    Right, when you confuse evidence for mumbo jumbo and add a splash of fanboy, you wind up favoring hometown guys with meaningless distinctions (most wins over a specific ten year period) over superior pitchers.
    jalbright
    Researcher/advocate/mod
    Last edited by jalbright; 04-04-2008, 12:38 PM. Reason: no personal attacks

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  • Tank Riggins
    Registered User

  • Tank Riggins
    replied
    I don't really care for Morris and his attitude, when he played, but he is a HOFer. I don't think ERA is the sole stat for determining a person candidacy for the HOF. He was the dominate pitcher of the 1980's. I would slightly favor him over Tiant

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  • Chisox
    God Bless, #34.

  • Chisox
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    I guess I view Morris' career as the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. No one factor makes him a HOFer, but taken together, I believe that Morris should be in the HOF.

    I normally consider the "intangibles" as nonsense; things about a player that may be assets, but can't be proved; kind of like "goodwill" on a ledger sheet. I consider Jack Morris to be one of the mentally toughest pitchers I ever saw, and I believe that this enabled him to win games other pitchers would lose.

    I don't believe that pitching is dumb luck; that hitting support makes all the difference. There are some pitchers who are simply intimidated by the pressure of competition, and will throw a gopher ball or walk a key batter at just the worst possible moment. Morris, under pressure, could be counted on to NOT do that, more often than not. He won when he didn't have his best stuff, and this had to do with his mental toughness.
    Here's the problem in a nutshell. If each "point" that is brought up in his favor is worth one point, he needs 50 to be a HOFer in addition to his unimpressive resume. There all "tie-breakers" only, and there is absolutely no tie to break. Morris' career is nowhere near HOF level. If he was borderline, then those could be enough to put him in, but he's not. Basically, people want to take a pitcher who might not even be a top 200 all-time, let alone top 100, and cherry-pick points until he comes up HOF worthy.
    It just isn't possible.

    If Morris was as "mentally tough" as you say he was, wouldn't those be reflected in the stats? Wouldn't that mental toughness lead to fewer runs/runners and be evident in ERA, ect., or wins as you claim? His ERA is only slightly better than average, and I highly suspect when compared only to other starters, it would be average at best. His winning percentage is fairly pedestrian for a pitcher with his longevity, despite being on some darn good teams. (And some bad ones, too, I acknowlege.)

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  • 538280
    Prophet of Rage

  • 538280
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    I normally consider the "intangibles" as nonsense; things about a player that may be assets, but can't be proved; kind of like "goodwill" on a ledger sheet. I consider Jack Morris to be one of the mentally toughest pitchers I ever saw, and I believe that this enabled him to win games other pitchers would lose.

    I don't believe that pitching is dumb luck; that hitting support makes all the difference. There are some pitchers who are simply intimidated by the pressure of competition, and will throw a gopher ball or walk a key batter at just the worst possible moment. Morris, under pressure, could be counted on to NOT do that, more often than not. He won when he didn't have his best stuff, and this had to do with his mental toughness.
    But Morris' won-lost record was almost exactly what you would expect given the runs he gave up and the support he got-see my post earlier. Morris didn't do any better with runners in scoring position than he did overall. It just seems to me as if Morris' wins and losses are precisely a function of how he pitched and the fact he got well above average run support had just as much to do with it as his own pitching.

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  • Bothrops Atrox
    IDC/ZRC/NJC*/*

  • Bothrops Atrox
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    I guess I view Morris' career as the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. No one factor makes him a HOFer, but taken together, I believe that Morris should be in the HOF.

    I normally consider the "intangibles" as nonsense; things about a player that may be assets, but can't be proved; kind of like "goodwill" on a ledger sheet. I consider Jack Morris to be one of the mentally toughest pitchers I ever saw, and I believe that this enabled him to win games other pitchers would lose.

    I don't believe that pitching is dumb luck; that hitting support makes all the difference. There are some pitchers who are simply intimidated by the pressure of competition, and will throw a gopher ball or walk a key batter at just the worst possible moment. Morris, under pressure, could be counted on to NOT do that, more often than not. He won when he didn't have his best stuff, and this had to do with his mental toughness.
    Morris' BAA, Slg%A and OPSA are all worse with RISP than with nobody on over his career...for what it is worth. Not drasticaly worse, but worse. Certainly not better to much better.
    Bothrops Atrox
    IDC/ZRC/NJC*/*
    Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 06-11-2007, 08:48 PM.

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  • Fuzzy Bear
    Say Hey!

  • Fuzzy Bear
    replied
    I guess I view Morris' career as the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. No one factor makes him a HOFer, but taken together, I believe that Morris should be in the HOF.

    I normally consider the "intangibles" as nonsense; things about a player that may be assets, but can't be proved; kind of like "goodwill" on a ledger sheet. I consider Jack Morris to be one of the mentally toughest pitchers I ever saw, and I believe that this enabled him to win games other pitchers would lose.

    I don't believe that pitching is dumb luck; that hitting support makes all the difference. There are some pitchers who are simply intimidated by the pressure of competition, and will throw a gopher ball or walk a key batter at just the worst possible moment. Morris, under pressure, could be counted on to NOT do that, more often than not. He won when he didn't have his best stuff, and this had to do with his mental toughness.

    Leave a comment:

  • Chisox
    God Bless, #34.

  • Chisox
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    It's not like any one of the arguments for Morris puts him in the HOF, in my opinion.
    Not one of the arguements for Morris is a good one.
    Whether or not the pitcher you cite deserves consideration for the HOF depends upon the rest of that pitcher's career. Bobo Newsom ate up a lot of innings, but I wouldn't put him in the HOF.
    The pitcher is Livan Hernandez and his 101 ERA+. There is no way he's a HOFer, and he's similar so far to Morris.

    Morris' WS performance alone doesn't put him in the HOF. Josh Beckett will have to have a career to get there, and Don Larsen isn't going in. But Morris DOES have a 7-4 record in the postseason, and he DOES have the shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 WS to his credit. He WAS a 3 time 20 game winner and had very few true off seasons, until his last two years of decline.
    Which is virtually meaninless as it describes tons of pitchers.


    Morris was more durable than Tiant; this is unquestioned. Many of Tiant's gaudy ERAs are the result of the era he pitched in. That's not to say that Tiant wasn't a great pitcher, but he mixed in some great years with some really bad years, and had serious arm troubles in mid-career that almost ended his career in 1970-71. Tiant may have been better than Catfish, but Tiant was also never considered the best pitcher in his league.
    Morris had 3,824 IP, Tiant had 3,486 IP. Morris had a 105 ERA+, Tiant had a 114 ERA+. Maybe that repuation as the best was unearned?

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  • Fuzzy Bear
    Say Hey!

  • Fuzzy Bear
    replied
    Originally posted by Chisox View Post
    How about this pitcher:
    Innings
    Year3NL-234.3-5
    Year5NL-240.0-5
    Year6NL-226.7-7
    Year7NL-216.0-10
    Year8NL-233.3-1
    Year9NL-255.0-1
    Year10NL-246.3-1

    Would a pitcher like that deserve consideration? Seems like a similar argument.
    It's not like any one of the arguments for Morris puts him in the HOF, in my opinion. Morris has his deficiencies, and, no, he's not in the class of a Clemens. Nobody is saying that.

    Whether or not the pitcher you cite deserves consideration for the HOF depends upon the rest of that pitcher's career. Bobo Newsom ate up a lot of innings, but I wouldn't put him in the HOF.

    Morris' WS performance alone doesn't put him in the HOF. Josh Beckett will have to have a career to get there, and Don Larsen isn't going in. But Morris DOES have a 7-4 record in the postseason, and he DOES have the shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 WS to his credit. He WAS a 3 time 20 game winner and had very few true off seasons, until his last two years of decline.

    Morris was more durable than Tiant; this is unquestioned. Many of Tiant's gaudy ERAs are the result of the era he pitched in. That's not to say that Tiant wasn't a great pitcher, but he mixed in some great years with some really bad years, and had serious arm troubles in mid-career that almost ended his career in 1970-71. Tiant may have been better than Catfish, but Tiant was also never considered the best pitcher in his league.

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  • Chisox
    God Bless, #34.

  • Chisox
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    Innings
    1981 AL-198.0-2
    1982 AL-266.3-3
    1983 AL-293.7-1
    1985 AL-257.0-6
    1986 AL-267.0-3
    1987 AL-266.0-5
    1990 AL-249.7-2
    1991 AL-246.7-3
    1992 AL-240.7-10
    Car-3824.0-48
    How about this pitcher:
    Innings
    Year3NL-234.3-5
    Year5NL-240.0-5
    Year6NL-226.7-7
    Year7NL-216.0-10
    Year8NL-233.3-1
    Year9NL-255.0-1
    Year10NL-246.3-1

    Would a pitcher like that deserve consideration? Seems like a similar argument.

    Leave a comment:

  • Chisox
    God Bless, #34.

  • Chisox
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    Morris' big game ability, his ability to win the game, his mental toughness, are REAL assets that translated into REAL success for his teams.
    Other than literally a number of games you can count on your hands, I'd like to see that proven.

    Morris doesn't translate out well in many of the new stats, and in ERA, because he was THE workhorse pitcher of his generation:
    So were Ed Walsh and Walter Johnson, and both of them at one point held the all-time ERA title. Walsh still does.

    Innings
    1981 AL-198.0-2
    1982 AL-266.3-3
    1983 AL-293.7-1
    1985 AL-257.0-6
    1986 AL-267.0-3
    1987 AL-266.0-5
    1990 AL-249.7-2
    1991 AL-246.7-3
    1992 AL-240.7-10
    Car-3824.0-48

    Here's Roger Clemens' innings pitched for a comparable range of time:

    Innings
    1986 AL-254.0-5
    1987 AL-281.7-2
    1988 AL-264.0-3
    1989 AL-253.3-4
    1990 AL-228.3-6
    1991 AL-271.3-1
    1992 AL-246.7-6
    And that's supposed to prove what? He was among the leaders like Clemens? What does that mean?

    Morris' ERA is higher because (A) he was a control pitcher, (B) he was not an EXTREME strikeout pitcher, and (C) Sparky left him in the game longer than anyone else. Had Clemens walked more batters, he might have an ERA in the 3.40 range, and people wouldn't be picking him to death as they are.
    He'd be worse.

    Clemens was used differently than a host of starting pitchers, and was more durable. He ate up innings, AND won the game. He threw strikes. He won big games, many times, and his pitching won a championship for one of his teams. He was, arguably, the best pitcher in the AL in 1983, and was without a doubt, the best pitcher in the AL of his generation; the best pitcher born in the second half of the 1950s.
    #1. I assume you mean Morris and not Clemens
    #2. And that's different than a host of pitchers how?
    #3. So winning a world series gets you go the HOF? So Josh Beckett's got a HOF case? How about Orlando Hernandez?

    Tiant may well be a better pitcher than Hunter, but, subjectively, I would pick Morris ahead of him. I have no problem with all three in the HOF, but Morris ranks first, IMO.
    And you'd have very little evidence to do so.

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  • 538280
    Prophet of Rage

  • 538280
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    Morris' big game ability, his ability to win the game, his mental toughness, are REAL assets that translated into REAL success for his teams.
    Morris's wins and losses were what you could expect from his runs allowed and his support-he didn't beat that expectation significantly. In other words the number of games he won is predicted correctly by his runs allowed and runs scored for him-if his mental toughness and big game ability translated into real success for his teams, he would be beating that expectation. Morris allowed 4.27 runs per game. The league 1977-1994, Morris' career, averaged 4.51. The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia lists how far or below above league average a pitcher's run support is. Morris' for his career was 7% above average. So Morris was getting about 4.83 runs per game to support him. Based on the fact Morris allowed 4.27 runs per game, based on the pythagorean formula Morris would be expected to have a winning percentage of .561. He actually was at .577. He was 7 wins above the expectation. He was a little above the expectation-but not much, he beat it by 3%. If we add give that 3% back to his runs per game allowed he goes from 4.27 to 4.15. His ERA+ would go from 105 to 108. He's still far from HOF level.

    If Morris' mental toughness had such a huge impact that we should totally change the way we look at him, as you say, he should beat that expectation by more than that. As it is, the number of games Morris won are a natural result of the runs he gave up and that his team scored for him-if he was "saving" his stuff for the important times or was really bearing down when his team needed it most, if those things are such big factors as you suggest, then he would beat that expectation by more than he actually does.

    Morris doesn't translate out well in many of the new stats, and in ERA, because he was THE workhorse pitcher of his generation:

    Innings
    1981 AL-198.0-2
    1982 AL-266.3-3
    1983 AL-293.7-1
    1985 AL-257.0-6
    1986 AL-267.0-3
    1987 AL-266.0-5
    1990 AL-249.7-2
    1991 AL-246.7-3
    1992 AL-240.7-10
    Car-3824.0-48
    I'm not going to deny that Morris was a workhorse, he was, or the importance of being a workhorse. It is great for a team, no doubt. It puts a lot less pressure on the bullpen especially in modern eras. The thing is that to be a HOFer you need to also be very effective even if you are a workhorse, or at least pitch a number of innings in your career that is very impressive. Morris' effectiveness is not particularly impressive, as we've already been over, and while he was a workhorse, he didn't keep it up over a hugely long career like a Don Sutton or Tommy John. Don Sutton kept up basically the same rates as Morris over more than 1000 more innings. That's what we need from a HOFer with Morris' level of effectiveness-and many don't think Sutton even deserved it.

    Second, if Morris' durability, because he could stay in games longer, led to more wins than his rates would suggest then it would show in the expectation I showed above. If his ability to stay in games was truly as benificial as you make it sound, he won-lost record would reflect that in it being much better than his rates would suggest-but that isn't the case.

    Morris' ERA is higher because (A) he was a control pitcher, (B) he was not an EXTREME strikeout pitcher,
    #1 if control pitchers do tend to have ERAs higher than strikeout pitchers then that's a strike against control pitchers. The goal of pitching is to try your best to try to prevent the opponent from scoring runs. If being a control pitcher isn't as effective in completing that goal then it just isn't as good as striking out lots of guys. I doubt that it is anyway, strikeouts aren't really much worse than regular outs in terms of their impact against scoring runs. What differs between control and power pitchers is that control pitchers' success is generally much more tied to the defense behind them, while power pitchers could be better everywhere, not that that has any effect on Morris, but that's a general point.

    and (C) Sparky left him in the game longer than anyone else.
    Not disputing that, but again, if Morris staying in the game so long due to his durability had a big effect then it would show up in him winning more games than his ERA would suggest. Basically Morris was a little above average pitcher with good durability who won more games than he should because he got very good support. His main asset was durability. If there's one thing I would like to see (not likely to sway me in any way but I still would be interested) is if relievers on Morris' teams did better in the two games after Morris starts than they did otherwise. Because that might suggest Morris' durability did have some effect of another kind: Resting the bullpen and making them more effective. If there is an effect it's not going to be all that large anyway and certainly not enough to make him a HOFer in my book but I'd still like to see if that effect is there.

    Had Clemens walked more batters, he might have an ERA in the 3.40 range, and people wouldn't be picking him to death as they are.
    If Clemens walked more batters he'd be a worse pitcher. Of course people wouldn't like him as much.

    Clemens was used differently than a host of starting pitchers, and was more durable. He ate up innings, AND won the game. He threw strikes. He won big games, many times, and his pitching won a championship for one of his teams. He was, arguably, the best pitcher in the AL in 1983, and was without a doubt, the best pitcher in the AL of his generation; the best pitcher born in the second half of the 1950s.
    I assume you mean "Morris" instead of Clemens at the beginning. I disagree that Morris was the best pitcher born in the second half of the 1950s: That would be Dave Stieb IMO, who was born in 1957. Stieb's winning percentage is a little lower than Morris' .562, which is almost entirely due to the fact that Stieb got 90% of the run support Morris got (Stieb's run support was 4% below average, Morris' as I already said, was 7% above). Stieb has a far better ERA+, 122 to 105, and while he did pitch less innings, that's still a very big difference in effectiveness. Morris a little above average, Stieb's is the same as pitchers like Bob Feller and Juan Marichal, granted in less innings but that's the difference in rates. Stieb was also just as much a workhorse as Morris was he was pitching. Stieb finished top 5 in IP every year 1981-1985, five top 5s, and led the league in IP twice. Morris had 7 top 5s and one lead. Morris was a little better because he pitched a few seasons, but when Stieb was in his prime he was just as much a workhorse as Morris in his, and much more effective:

    Top 5 ERA+
    Stieb: 171, 145, 142, 138, 135
    Morris: 133, 127, 126, 124, 124

    In looking into some comments on Stieb in Sporting News magazines that I have access to online, everyone was also very impressed with the raw stuff he had. He was regarded to have some of the best movement on his pitches. He won the 1982 Sporting News AL Pitcher of the Year Award. In the Sporting News issue in November 8th, mention that altough Stieb only went 17-14, he was playing in front of a terrible Blue Jays offense and deserved better, as his 3.25 ERA showed.

    Leave a comment:

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