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Article: A Hall Without Jack Morris Is No Hall at All

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#41 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:06 AM

There are some numbers that Jack Morris excelled at, but they are stats that are never used in HOF comparisons. (I am citing his by memory, it was stated either on Pos blog or on ESPN on Wed): Morris was the number 1 inning eater of his era, and he was 18% ahead of the #2. Its not a stat that is often appreciated by HOF writers, but GMs writing checks value it highly. If it gets you a higher salary, why isn't it part of the equation?


Jack Morris led the league in IP once in his career. Let's not confuse durability with greatness.

#42 Marta Shearing

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:09 AM

You want a good reason for the inflated era? He pitched deep into games. He wouldnt give up the ball. If he had an 8-2 lead after six innings, he didnt come out. He'd finish the game even if he gave up some meaningless runs. Also, to save the bullpen, he stayed in games he was losing. He ate up innings at the expense of his era. Its almost bothersome to me this is a thing of the past. A game with Correia comes to mind. He got roughed up early in a game at KC and Gardy yanks him after two innings. Leave him in for 6 innings. Who cares if he gives up 8 runs. Save the bullpen.

#43 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:12 AM

You want a good reason for the inflated era? He pitched deep into games. He wouldnt give up the ball. If he had an 8-2 lead after six innings, he didnt come out. He'd finish the game even if he gave up some meaningless runs. Also, to save the bullpen, he stayed in games he was losing. He ate up innings at the expense of his era.


Untrue. Read this article.

http://www.baseballp...?articleid=1815

There is no such thing as "pitching to the scoreboard". Morris simply wasn't very good at preventing runs. Full stop.

#44 Brad Swanson

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:13 AM

You want a good reason for the inflated era? He pitched deep into games. He wouldnt give up the ball. If he had an 8-2 lead after six innings, he didnt come out. He'd finish the game even if he gave up some meaningless runs. Also, to save the bullpen, he stayed in games he was losing. He ate up innings at the expense of his era. Its almost bothersome to me this is a thing of the past. A game with Correia comes to mind. He got roughed up early in a game at KC and Gardy yanks him after two innings. Leave him in for 6 innings. Who cares if he gives up 8 runs. Save the bullpen.


I posted these links in the general HOF thread, but it fits here too. This is a common narrative and it was important that he threw those extra innings to save the bullpen. But, he didn't do so at the expense of his own stats. Here's a link to his inning by inning splits. In innings 7-9 he was better than 1-3 and 4-6. Being more durable actually inflated his stats.

http://www.baseball-....e.cgi?id=c9MAS

If the extra innings affected his durability by season, his monthly splits would show it, but he actually got better as the year went on:

http://www.baseball-....e.cgi?id=Xf4Zf

Jack Morris deserves a ton of credit and praise for his durability, I don't think anyone will argue with that point. To say that his durability hurt his overall stats is just not true.

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#45 Marta Shearing

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:16 AM

Wait, what exactly did Jack Morris do that is not reflected in his statistics?

Prime example of why I cant relate to today's fans. I'm from a very different era of baseball. An era when the game was, for lack of a better word, better.

#46 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:21 AM

Prime example of why I cant relate to today's fans. I'm from a very different era of baseball. An era when the game was, for lack of a better word, better.


I know that when I think of the glory days of baseball, the first thing that springs into my head is... The 1980s?

#47 Marta Shearing

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:22 AM

Untrue. Read this article.

http://www.baseballp...?articleid=1815

There is no such thing as "pitching to the scoreboard". Morris simply wasn't very good at preventing runs. Full stop.

Alright. Im not even going to click on it, I'll take your word for it. I'll admit when I'm wrong. I'd still put him in the Hall though.

#48 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:23 AM

Alright. Im not even going to click on it, I'll take your word for it. I'll admit when I'm wrong. I'd still put him in the Hall though.


Which I think is a fine argument if you want to heavily weight his postseason heroics. The Hall of Fame means different things to different people. Some believe that crunchtime single game performances are enough to put "pretty good" guys into the Hall.

But the argument that he was a HoF pitcher during the regular season just doesn't hold water by any standard past "he sure pitched a lot of pretty okay innings".

#49 Thrylos

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:25 AM

Morris made 14 opening day starts. 3 of those teams won the World Series. It isn't rocket science, it's baseball where you send your best pitcher out on opening day. The best pitcher 14 years for good teams was Jack.



According to this logic, the Twins should be set in 2014, since they are loaded with 4 "Aces":

Nolasco: Opening Day starts (3: 2008, 2009, 2013)
Pelfrey: Opening Day starts (1: 2011)
Worley: Opening Day starts (1: 2013)
Correia: Opening Day starts (1: 2011)
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#50 Marta Shearing

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:26 AM

I know that when I think of the glory days of baseball, the first thing that springs into my head is... The 1980s?

I think the 80's was a great era of baseball. For one thing, it was pre-steroids. Atleast the game was pure. I gotta get back to work. Signing off. Peace.

#51 cmathewson

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:26 AM

Wait, what exactly did Jack Morris do that is not reflected in his statistics?


If anything, looking past the numbers reveals an ugly picture. Jack was widely known as a dick for most of his career. Even in '91, he had his clubhouse issues, which was one of the reasons MacPhail got him so cheap.

I have a hard time understanding why people in this area are so fond of him for his intangibles. When he pitched for Detroit, he was known for plunking our best hitter routinely, just for the fun of it. Then, when he had a chance to do right by us, he opted out of his contract to get like $1 M more per year to pitch for Toronto. He showed zero loyalty to his hometown team.

The only thing I can think of is selective memory. In the anals of the Twins, he is not even in the top 10 in any category but one--World Series wins. And don't get me started on "the greatest WS game of all time." He pitched great. But he also had a lot of luck, including two 3-2-3 double plays and the biggest base running blunder in WS history. Any of those remarkable plays don't happen, and he is the Game 7 loser.
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#52 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:31 AM

I think the 80's was a great era of baseball. For one thing, it was pre-steroids. Atleast the game was pure. I gotta get back to work. Signing off. Peace.


Yep, the game was pure... As pure as the snow Daryl Strawberry was doing off the backs of strippers in the clubhouse.

1980s baseball was a lot of fun to watch. More fun than the 90s slugfest, that's for sure... But it was a tainted game. Baseball has always been a tainted game.

#53 tobi0040

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:33 AM

If anything, looking past the numbers reveals an ugly picture. Jack was widely known as a dick for most of his career. Even in '91, he had his clubhouse issues, which was one of the reasons MacPhail got him so cheap.

I have a hard time understanding why people in this area are so fond of him for his intangibles. When he pitched for Detroit, he was known for plunking our best hitter routinely, just for the fun of it. Then, when he had a chance to do right by us, he opted out of his contract to get like $1 M more per year to pitch for Toronto. He showed zero loyalty to his hometown team.

The only thing I can think of is selective memory. In the anals of the Twins, he is not even in the top 10 in any category but one--World Series wins. And don't get me started on "the greatest WS game of all time." He pitched great. But he also had a lot of luck, including two 3-2-3 double plays and the biggest base running blunder in WS history. Any of those remarkable plays don't happen, and he is the Game 7 loser.


The HOF is 95% numbers, then intangibles like WS games, post-season record, innings pitched can play a role. Curt Schilling is not a first ballot HOF but any writer on the fence after the first year will put him in based on his WS and post-season numbers. Morris is not on the fence

I even read an article that cited he wore an American flag on his shirt with a sign that said "try and burn this one". Having to invent reasons is a sign that the player is not HOF worthy.

#54 gil4

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:43 AM

I am a big fan of Jack Morris. He will always hold a special place in our hearts and he is a great guy, but his numbers are just not there.

Here are his numbers against six pitchers that will get in, all up recently or in the next year:
WP ERA WHIP K/9

Jack Morris .577 3.90 1.29 5.8

Randy Johnson .646 3.29 1.17 10.6

Pedro Martinez .687 2.93 1.05 10.0

Curt Schilling .597 3.46 1.13 8.6

Tom Glavine .600 3.54 1.31 5.3

Greg Maddux .610 3.16 1.14 6.1

John Smoltz .594* 3.33 1.18 8.0

*win percentage as a starter


Morris is last in win percentage, ERA by far, and six of seven in WHIP and K/9


All but Morris spent significant time in the NL. On the other hand, all but Morris faced the majority of the offensive explosion caused by the steroid era. Morris never got higher than 3rd in the Cy Young voting. At his peak he was very good (not great.) He spent a lot of time as a average-to-good innings eater. His peaks were probably higher than Moyer, but nowhere near the guys on this list, and sustained greatness is more important that the career-filler.

I don't know where he will stand when he's done, I put Johan ahead of Morris, and I will be surprised if he gets serious consideration, barring a comeback (which I doubt will be successful.) Johan was a great pitcher for about 6 years and pretty good for 2-3 more. Morris was never great, except in 1991 game 7.

#55 jmlease1

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:47 AM

Untrue. Read this article.

http://www.baseballp...?articleid=1815

There is no such thing as "pitching to the scoreboard". Morris simply wasn't very good at preventing runs. Full stop.


Slightly unfair; Morris wasn't great/elite at preventing runs for his whole career. His first 10 years as a full-time starter Morris was a fine pitcher; unfortunately his last 7 seasons (excepting for 1991) his only real skill was durability. Those last 7 years really pulled his ERA+ down.

While I think it's fair to look at peak value in assessing HoF as an important factor, it's A) not the only factor, and B) needs to be pretty high to overcome a decline period that's well below average. Especially when one of the bigger arguments for Morris is durability, innings, etc.

Morris' durability is impressive. 10 seasons of 240+ innings pitched. 11 seasons with 10+ complete games. 11 seasons with more than 30 starts. Great durability. But there are too many seasons where he was an average pitcher (or worse) and too few seasons where he was a dominant starter.

There's a reason he never won a Cy Young: he was never the best pitcher in the league. he was durable and he was pretty consistent but he wasn't elite. Post season? 1984 & 1991 he was pretty great, 1987 and 1992 he wasn't good at all. How many of those extra point for the 1991 WS get taken away for his awful 1992 post-season?

Not making the HoF shouldn't be a rap on Jack's career. He was a terrific pitcher for a long time and a real asset to his Detroit teams and that magical year in MN. But he's short of my HoF standards.

#56 gil4

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:49 AM

I know that when I think of the glory days of baseball, the first thing that springs into my head is... The 1980s?


1987 and 1991, to be exact :-)

#57 nicksaviking

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:57 AM

Game 7 is my favorite Twins memory and I wouldn't be upset if he got in, but he's really not HOF caliber. Guys get in either because of their numbers (Ruth, Mays), or because some intagibles pump up their reputation (Ruffing, Boudreau).

Morris didn't qualify for either of these clearly. His numbers never held up, they didn't when people were using basic stats for evaluation and they didn't when people started using advanced stats. Blyleven and Rice got second considerations because of advanced stats, but Morris' numbers just don't hold up.

As far as the reputation, we may like to say stuff like "best pitcher of the 80's" (BS, Ryan, Clemens, Gooden, Carlton anyone?) but clearly he didn't have the rep we like to think he has now. If he had been considered elite at the time, he would have more awards and AS game appearances. More importantly, he would have been getting more than 25% of the votes his first few years on the ballot.

In other words, people didn't consider him a HOFer during his career and shortly after it was over. It's only revisionist history that makes us think he belongs now.

Edited by nicksaviking, 10 January 2014 - 11:00 AM.


#58 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:12 AM

Slightly unfair; Morris wasn't great/elite at preventing runs for his whole career. His first 10 years as a full-time starter Morris was a fine pitcher; unfortunately his last 7 seasons (excepting for 1991) his only real skill was durability. Those last 7 years really pulled his ERA+ down.

While I think it's fair to look at peak value in assessing HoF as an important factor, it's A) not the only factor, and B) needs to be pretty high to overcome a decline period that's well below average. Especially when one of the bigger arguments for Morris is durability, innings, etc.


To be fair, almost every HoF pitcher has a similar career arc. Except that Morris' peak wasn't great. It was very good. He never posted an ERA+ over 133. He had six seasons of 120 or better ERA+.

Sure, that's a good pitcher. But if you look through the career of almost any HoF guy, his peak is going to be better than that. Blyleven, for example, had six seasons of 140 or better ERA+ and a whopping 13 seasons of 120 or better ERA+. Johan also had six seasons of 140 or better ERA+. That's a dominant peak of a career.

Morris had a typical decline, sure... But almost all guys have a similar career arc if they pitch in the league for 15+ seasons. Morris' peak wasn't that good and his corresponding decline was similar. No matter where you look in his career, he was 10-20% less dominant than what we think of as a typical "Hall of Fame" pitcher.

#59 Thrylos

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:20 AM

There are some numbers that Jack Morris excelled at, but they are stats that are never used in HOF comparisons. (I am citing his by memory, it was stated either on Pos blog or on ESPN on Wed): Morris was the number 1 inning eater of his era, and he was 18% ahead of the #2. Its not a stat that is often appreciated by HOF writers, but GMs writing checks value it highly. If it gets you a higher salary, why isn't it part of the equation?


Back to that comparison with Charlie Hough: Their rate stats (and total IP are extremely similar; a refresher: )

Morris: 3.90 ERA, 1.296 WHIP, 5.8 K/9, 1.8 K/BB (3824 IP)
Hough: 3.75 ERA, 1.302 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 1.4 K/BB (3801 IP)

Hough was a reliever and a closer in the first part of his career with the Dodgers and starter with the Rangers. Here are their 10 highest single season IP totals:

Morris: 293.7, 267, 266, 261.3, 257, 250, 249.7, 249.3, 246.7, 240.7
Hough: 285.3, 266, 252, 252, 250.3, 230.3, 228, 218.7, 204.7, 199.3

Still in the ballpark and Hough pitched in some crappy teams, which meant early exits.
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#60 thetank

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:27 AM

Morris received a higher % of HOF votes in 2000 than Blyleven. Blyleven was helped by advanced metrics and deservedly went in the HOF.