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Jack Morris

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  • #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.

    Comment


    • #17
      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....
      "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
      "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
      "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
      "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

      Comment


      • #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.

        Comment


        • #19
          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.
          Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

          Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

          Comment


          • #20
            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

            Comment


            • #21
              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.

              Comment


              • #22
                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.
                Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

                Comment


                • #23
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      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...
                      "Hall of Famer Whitey Ford now on the field... pleading with the crowd for, for some kind of sanity!"

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Wow, this was, like, the first thread I started on the this site. I'm so proud it's still going.

                        I just hope that someday at least one Tiger from the 1984 team will some day be in the hall. It looks like Alan Trammell is our only hope...or Kirk Gibson just because he was so cool.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          --Freakshow, I thought that was a great post. Morris was always one of my favorite pitchers, but I have him just south of the border for the Hall. Your post gives me reason to think maybe he can creep over to the good side of the border. I'll try and add sometime to his case shortly.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by zzazazz
                            Wow, this was, like, the first thread I started on the this site. I'm so proud it's still going.

                            I just hope that someday at least one Tiger from the 1984 team will some day be in the hall. It looks like Alan Trammell is our only hope...or Kirk Gibson just because he was so cool.
                            I wouldn't count on Gibson. No All-Star appearances, no .300 seasons, no 30 home run seasons, no 100 RBI seasons, no anything really (he does have the 1988 NL MVP, but I think Strawberry was the better player that year and likely lost the MVP by having teammate Kevin McReynolds cut into his vote total). Gibson was a good player for a five or six year stretch, but was never able to get to that next level. He's the 80's version of Tim Salmon. Plus even though Gibson spent most of his career and had his best seasons with the Tigers, I think most people remember him as a Dodger because of the World Series homerun (I still don't get what's so great about that homerun anyway, especially since it's touted more than homeruns hit at much more significant moments in a series).

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              --Okay, I'll tackle the no Cy Young Award arguement. Morris was top ten in the Cy Young balloting 7 times, with 2 3rd places as his best finishes. Both of his third place finishes he could easily have won.
                              --In 1981, Morris was probably the best starting pitcher in the league, but the award went to reliever Rollie Fingers. Morris was first in wins and 2nd in IP that year, but had two things working against him in the balloting. One, the strike canceled a third of the season and his 14 wins and 198 IP didn't look as impressive as 20+ and around 300 would have. Morris was also not then an established pitcher with a track record to give him a push. The Tigers were also not a very good or popular team at the time.
                              --In 1983, Morris was 4th in wins, but did get 20. He was first in both IP and K's. He lost out to Lamar Hoyt, basically becasue the writers were excessively impressed with Hoyt's 24 wins and perhaps the White Sox first trip to the postseason in 3 decades. A quick comparison:
                              ................W-L.......IP.....ERA....ERA+....K's
                              Morris........20-13....294....3.34...117.....232
                              Hoyt..........24-13....261....3.66...115....148
                              --Morris beats Hoyt in everything but W-L and Hoyt played for the better team. Obviously this was not a season marked by great pitching and being more deserving than Lamar Hoyt is a weak plank to build your Hall of Fame case on. However, this wasn't Morris best year, just the one where he deserved the Cy. Had the writers done their job in 1983 then "never won the Cy Young" wouldn't be part of the argument against Morris making his way to Cooperstown.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by leecemark
                                --In 1981, Morris was probably the best starting pitcher in the league, but the award went to reliever Rollie Fingers.
                                --In 1983, Morris was 4th in wins, but did get 20. He was first in both IP and K's. He lost out to Lamar Hoyt, basically becasue the writers were excessively impressed with Hoyt's 24 wins and perhaps the White Sox first trip to the postseason in 3 decades. A quick comparison:
                                ................W-L.......IP.....ERA....ERA+....K's
                                Morris........20-13....294....3.34...117.....232
                                Hoyt..........24-13....261....3.66...115....148
                                --Morris beats Hoyt in everything but W-L and Hoyt played for the better team. Obviously this was not a season marked by great pitching and being more deserving than Lamar Hoyt is a weak plank to build your Hall of Fame case on. However, this wasn't Morris best year, just the one where he deserved the Cy. Had the writers done their job in 1983 then "never won the Cy Young" wouldn't be part of the argument against Morris making his way to Cooperstown.
                                In 1981 McCatty was probably the best starting pitcher.
                                In 1983 neither Hoyt nor Morris deserved the Cy Young. See Stieb, Dave
                                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

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