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Jack Morris + Mariano Rivera = Bert Blyleven

Dec 23, 2010, 8:46 AM EDT

Jack Morris

This is fun: Bill at the Platoon Advantage engaged in a little alternate history exercise. He pretended that, rather than retire, Jack Morris came back in 1995 as a knuckleball-throwing closer and tacked the entire career of Mariano Rivera onto his career stat line. Aside from that being the most awesome thing that would have ever happened, it also would have given Morris a career line that — minus the saves — would be pretty darn close to Bert Blyleven’s.

Again, in case that is not 100% clear: only if you add on a 15-run like Mariano Rivera’s to Morris career does he begin to compare to Blyleven in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched.

I realize this kind of comparison is sorta out there. Indeed, in even making it, Bill kinda sounds like Jayson Stark on a day he let his research staff go home early.  But it’s also instructive in the same way that it was instructive for your junior high school science teacher to take you out to the parking lot and have two students hold marbles at either end in an effort demonstrate just how great the distance is between the planets or whatever.  We think Morris is close to being a Hall of Fame pitcher, but once you look at it closely, you realize just how far from being one he truly is.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 23, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    But you had to be there to see it. The knuckleball would dance like Mikhail Baryshnikov. And since he pitched to the scoreboard every single time, he had no blown saves.

    • Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 23, 2010 at 8:57 AM

      (and now my google search thinks I have a thing for “male russian dancers” because I had to search for the proper spelling. drat.)

      Good thing DADT was repealed

  2. Panda Claus - Dec 23, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    In a different kind of comparson, Jack Morris + Mariano Rivera = Dennis Eckersley. Maybe not in stats, but in terms of one guy doing two jobs, that would one example.

  3. disulfide - Dec 23, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Morris(Jack + Hal + Peterson) = 3(No HOF)

  4. largebill - Dec 23, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    Try this one, Morris + Koufax’ ERA (62-66 his five best seasons).

  5. BC - Dec 23, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    Two words: John Smoltz.
    Eckersley is the only other guy I can recall going from a dominant or really-good starter to a “holy crap I don’t want to face him” closer. Smoltz was unhittable as a closer.

    • nps6724 - Dec 23, 2010 at 12:13 PM

      Not to mention Smoltzie went BACK to starting in 2005. And for those last 3 years and 5 starts as a brave, he was pitching as well as anyone.

    • Panda Claus - Dec 23, 2010 at 12:49 PM

      Good call on Smoltz. I somehow overlooked him, probably because of his Braves connections.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:34 PM

      That’s because dominant/really good starters typically aren’t wasted in one-inning segments.

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