Jack Morris' HOF Candidacy Seems All But Dead
For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers' Association of America did not select anyone to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This was the eighth time that no one was selected by the writers but most onlookers could see this coming. The influx of suspected steroid users on the ballot makes it tough to judge players and there has been plenty of debate surrounding who should be elected in the coming years.
Craig Biggio was the closest person to getting 75% of the vote needed to be enshrined but he only mustered 68.2% in his first year on the ballot. Twins World Series hero Jack Morris came in second with 67.7% of the vote in his 14th year on the ballot. Rounding out the rest of the top five were Jeff Bagwell (59.6%), Mike Piazza (57.8%), and Tim Raines (52.2%).[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
In my ballot that I released last week, I hoped that Biggio and Bagwell would comprise the Class of 2013. I knew this was a long shot but it seemed fitting for two of the former "Killer B's" from the Astros. With so many other worthy candidates, I had a full ballot of 10 players but I divided them into different categories. Those categories included: "Future Inductions," "May Never Get In (But Still On My Ballot)," and the "Under-Appreciated Duo." Check out the entire piece to see the reasons I gave for each selection.
For Morris, it was discouraging to see that he only made a small jump in the voting. In the 2012 voting, he finished in second place with 66.7% of the vote and it was looking like he could make the jump needed to get to 75%. His 1% increase this year doesn't bode well for the 57-year old former pitcher that will be on the ballot for one last time in 2013. As more players from the steroids era enter the ballot, the numbers for Morris look more likely that they won't stack up to the competition.
The clock is ticking for Jack Morris since there will be some very strong first time candidates on next year's ballot. Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas will all have strong cases to be elected in their first time on the ballot. There will also be some strong returning candidates like Biggio, Bagwell, and Piazza. Morris will get one more chance but the odds are not exactly looking like they will be in his favor when it comes to election time next January.
When compared to Glavine and Maddux, Morris doesn't seem to stand a chance on the 2014 ballot. Maddux has a career WAR of 101.6 and this should make him almost a lock to be a first ballot selection. Glavine has a very good 76.8 WAR, which isn't as high as Maddux but it is still very good. Morris is much further down the list with a 39.3 WAR and that would rank sixth among pitchers on next year's ballot.
There are plenty of people on both sides of the debate surrounding Morris. Some writers have loudly pushed for Morris to get in as he runs out of years on the ballot. Other's have compared Morris to other top pitchers and his numbers don't exactly stand out above the crowd. With one year left, the voices against Morris seem to be bringing down any momentum that he had building in the last couple of years.
Twins fans saw Bert Blyleven get elected in his 14th year of eligibility so there were some that thought this might be the year for Morris. Blyleven had much better numbers for his career and his induction should have come much sooner than it did. The extra years on the ballot helped to build the narrative in favor of Blyleven. The problem for Morris has been the fact that the narrative has been building as much against him as it has been for him.
Morris pitched one of the biggest games in World Series history and he happened to be wearing a Twins uniform when he did it. On my ballot, I voted for Morris because of the nostalgia involved with Game 7 from 1991. He was the last addition to my ballot so if I had to remove one player it would have probably been him.
Does this mean that he probably doesn't deserve to be in the Hall? Most likely...