Hall Of Fame Debate: Making The Case For Jack Morris

Hall Of Fame Debate:  Making The Case For Jack Morris

I will reserve my vote until the end of this post, but I thought that the best way to kick off this new series would be to take the guy that was the closest to Hall of Fame election in 2012, let’s call him the ‘next guy in line’.

That player in Jack Morris, 18-year veteran and former starting pitcher for the Tigers, Twins ,Blue Jays, and Indians.

Morris collected 382 votes for election into the Hall of Fame on his 13th ballot in 2012.  He received 66.7% of the votes cast, falling 8.3% short of the needed 75% for enshrinement at Cooperstown.

First, let’s get to the stat that everyone talks about first when mentioning Morris’ name – Most wins in the decade of the 1980’s.  While this is a very nice way to complement a player’s performance, it also usually means that he is one of very few that played for the entire decade (kind of like Mark Grace having the most hits in the 1990’s (didn’t bode well for his HOF eligibility as he is no longer on the ballot)).

Morris’ numbers are solid – 527 starts with a 254-186 record.  Morris recorded 20 or more wins on three occassions and 15-19 wins nine times.  He has a career ERA of .390 with 2,478 strikeouts (league leader in 1983 with 232).  He threw 175 complete games and 28 shutouts during his career.  Morris’ K:9 inning ratio is 5.9:1.00 and his K:Walk ratio is 1.78:1.00.  In 3,824 innings of work, Morris allowed 3,567 hits and 1,815 runs scored against him.

As for accolades, Morris was named as an All-Star five times.  He also finished in the Top Five for the Cy Young Award on five occasions as well.

As for post-season play, this may be where Morris stands out the most.  He competed in three World Series match-ups and won all three times – 1984, 1991, 1992.  All three titles came with different teams too.  Morris has a post-season record of 7-4, with a 4-2 World Series record.  He was the MVP of the 1991 World Series in which he went 2-0 against the mighty Atlanta Braves.

So, is Jack Morris a Hall of Famer?

My answer is ‘NO‘.  He was a fine pitcher, and the ace of his rotation for the majority of his career.  I would put him in a place in which he was compared to the likes of Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling, two other very fine pitchers that will/should get consideration for Hall of Fame entry but might not get elected.  Ultimately, I think that the Hall of Fame should be reserved for the elite players to have played the sport, and I don’t see Morris in the same light as I see Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal, and other starting pitchers with similar tenures in the sport.

What about you?  If you had a vote, would Jack Morris get yours?  Let me know.

Thanks for reading.

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14 responses to “Hall Of Fame Debate: Making The Case For Jack Morris

  1. Do i believe that Jack Morris should be enshrined in Cooperstown before others on the ballot…..No

    This year should have been a no brainer but instead its a nightmare you have two guys on the ballot who should already be in McGwire and Palmerio….( if they had not used PEDs)…..

    As well as another 5 from this years ballot that should be highly considered Bonds the Home Run King….Clemens one of the greatest pitchers of our generation and Sosa.

    That leaves Biggio a 3060 hits owner and Piazza a great catcher with a. 308 BA.

    This is quite possibly the biggest HOF vote for our generation and it will all be overshadowed by PEDS.

    I know who I wish was going to get in but I know who will most likely get in instead.

  2. I agree with you that Morris shouldn’t get elected into the HOF, but I disagree with you in comparing Morris to Mussina. Morris couldn’t dominate in his era while Mussina who pitched in the heart of the steroid era gave up fewer homeruns and fewer runs than Morris did. If Mussina pitched in late 70’s 80’s when Morris did he’d have over 300 wins.

    I think if Morris gets in, it’ll turn the MLB HOF into the Football HOF where everyone gets in!

  3. I think Morris should be in. I would vote for him above anyone else on the 2013 ballot. Morris has better stats than Whitey Ford

    • Tony- excellent call on Ford, but I think Morris had a lot more competition to be the best in the AL compared to Ford.

      And to be honest, I would say Ford is on the lower end of the HOF for starting pitchers that are in.

  4. I’m a “big Hall” guy. There are several guys on the ballot that I think should have been in long ago: Morris, Mattingly, Murphy, Parker, just to name a few. However, I’m against the PED guys. I do not believe Clemens, Bonds, et al, should be given entry.

    I would be okay with the idea of a “tiered” HOF, with guys such as Ruth and Mays on tier 1, while Drysdale, Ford, and Morris are on a lower level. But that may cause more confusion than just a straight induction.

    On Mussina and Schilling, I vote yes on the first and no on the second. I don’t think the HOF would be harmed by Schiling’s induction at all, but I don’t see him on the same level as Moose or Morris.

  5. I agree, Brian – No. I wouldn’t vote for Morris to be in the Hall and you present some EXCELLENT arguments for that by highlighting his strong (not excellent) stats but add some perspective, partocularly with your comparison to Mark Grace.

    I also like how you mention that some of his greatest achievements were his performances in the post-season. These should definitely be noted and remembered and even play a small role in his consideration, but post-season performance is very subjective because it relies on the success of the player’s team as a whole. If you have spectacular individual stats that are accompanied by post-season achievements, it can really create an attractive and impressive WHOLE body of work. But when everything esle is strong at best, you need to be careful.

    Doesn’t the NFL require that a certain quantity of players be inducted every time? That’s a travesty. The BBWAA has a lot of issues with how they have handled their imperfect election process for baseball, but at least they have the option to pass if a particular offering of candidates is not impressive enough. Eesh…..

    This will surely be a BIG year. The PED question must be at least partially answered again. It is hard for me to say that I believe suspected cheaters should gain admittance. I believe they violate two of the major criteria that are specifically stated: character and integrity. Yes, other players may have been elected in the past that didn’t fulfill those attributes to the highest level (Ty Cobb and character?) but there is a big difference in playing hard, or even playing dirty when you compare it to knowingly breaking the rules to artificially gain an advantage over your opponent.

    I write about some of this stuff in my latest blog post (www.ryanspitch.blogspot.com). If only we bloggers could gain our BBWAA memebrship, fellas!? How great it would be…..

    Thanks for the great discussion, B!

  6. Brian, in your post last week about naming your 5 HOF votes from current ballot, I said Morris if I had to choose a fifth. In my view, Morris is the lesser of the “No’s” list.

    I boil it down to this, if you were compiling a team from his era of pitchers whose careers overlapped, does Morris make the starting five rotation?

    Undoubtedly, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, Steve Carlton and Fergie Jenkins would be mine. Then you have several guys who had long, work-horse type careers that would probably be in the mix if there was a sixth spot, including: Morris, Bert Blyleven, Don Sutton and Tommy John.

    • Charlie- I cannot argue that at all. You grouped with with a crop of guys that he should be compared to. But, would you take him over any one of them?? I wonder how their single best statistical seasons stack up against one another…

  7. I don’t think a two-tiered Hall of Fame would work. What would you call it? “Baseball Hall of Decent”? “Hall of OK players”? The fact is Morris was one of the best pitchers of his time, and at the time who was better than him? The Tigers of those years were pretty good teams, as were the Twins later on. I remember when Detroit was in the AL East, it was a huge rivalry with the Blue Jays. Probably even more than the Yankees. I look at his counterparts of around the same time and here is who I found and who I think were the best. Dennis Martinez, Frank Tanana, Jerry Reuss, and Luis Tiant. All good pitchers, but Tanana was basically a .500 pitcher, Tiant has 229 wins which I don’t think is enough, Reuss is similar to Tiant with 220 wins. The closest is Dennis Martinez 245-193 to Morris’ 254-186. Dennis had 2149 SO’s, Morris had 2428. Dennis had 122 complete games and Morris had 175. Martinez didn’t have enough votes to carry over. Perfect game notwithstanding, Martinez I feel wasn’t as dominant as Morris. Morris was a “money pitcher”, when you needed the win, he was the guy. Obviously, the baseball writers think Morris deserves consideration, for the most part, his vote totals have increased every year. I don’t think there was a better player at his position for the period that he played.

  8. Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame. Here are some interesting things to keep in mind. Jack Morris is the first starting pitcher with serious Hall of Fame consideration that pitched his entire career after the mound was lowered and with the designated hitter already introduced. Both of these actions took away from the dominance of pitchers. Morris pitched alot of complete games and games through the 8th inning. That is why managers across the league respected and feared him. Morris allowed for his bullpen to be rested and quite scary. Morris has the record of the most World Series Rings with different teams – 3. So wherever Morris went his winning attitude rubbed off on the team. Morris has 4 World Series rings 84,91,92 and 93. Off starting pitchers elected in by the Baseball Writers since the 80’s only one starting pitcher has more rings Catfish Hunter at 5. The truth of the matter is Jack Morris is not in because the voting staff write now does not like starting pitchers, he did not like giving interviews, and he played for small market teams. If Morris won a World Series under lets say the Cubs, Red Sox, and White Sox he would of already been voted in. The fact is people hardly remember the 84 Tigers, 91 Twins except for his performance in Game 7, and 92/93 Blue Jays. The biggest travesty is Red Ruffing voted in that guy got carried.

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