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Must-Click Link: The definitive Jack Morris column

Jan 13, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

jack morris-thumb-250x375-4861

I know you all are tied of Jack Morris stuff. The arguments and all of that.  But I implore you — strongly — to make room in your day for this Baseball Prospectus post from John Bernhardt.  It’s long — like, really long — but it’s worth it. It’s worth it for two reasons.

First, as a piece of analysis it’s definitive. John looks fairly at both the traditionalist arguments for Morris and the sabermetric arguments against him.  Rather than join the argument in the middle as so many of us do now because of their familiarity and in the interests of time, John takes it all as a whole as though approaching it for the first time.  This makes it the perfect piece to send to your friends who haven’t thought as much about it all as you have.

The second, and I would argue, more important reason: it’s just a beautiful piece of prose.  While John’s leanings regarding the merits of Morris are clear, he does not throw numbers at you all willy-nilly as has become the style in some sabermetric-leaning circles.  He tells a story. An entertaining one and a convincing one. And it’s good reading even if you don’t much like the substance. Indeed, there is a long portion of it analyzing Lonnie Smith’s base running blunder in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series that I greatly enjoyed even though it broke down one of the most excruciating plays in my baseball-watching life in excruciating detail.  Good writing can make you endure almost anything, and John’s writing is that good.

Eventually, John winds up here:

Whatever the reason, Morris is now a test case to see if a candidate with a strong enough narrative, no matter how groundless, imaginary, or overblown it might be, can make the Hall simply because his supporters repeated it so often and so loudly that one morning the world woke up and found it was true.

I can’t dispute any of that. And even those who may want to dispute it will be better for having read John’s piece before doing so.

110 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. cup0pizza - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Sounds as boring as your posts. No thanks.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:49 AM

      The post you went out of your way to click on, read and comment on…thus putting money in Craig’s pocket…that’ll show him!

      …but yeah, you were snarky and stuff, so good job. I’m sure you just totes ruined his day!

    • pjmitch - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      Yet you continue to read them….just close your door in the basement and do what you do best!

  2. Nick C - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Long….Joe Posnanski calls that an opening paragraph.

    • 78mu - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Pos could have written an article twice as long covering just the pitch to score bs. And he would have written about every inning of the game 7 and made you want more.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        Can you imagine what a text message from Posnanski would be?

        Average person: “Be there soon, sorry”

        Joe:
        “I’ll be late to dinner. I apologize. I was finishing an article on Tim Raines – there’s more truth to his numbers than some may realize. But I digress. I carefully finished it, and decided to change into my favorite George Brett jersey. Sometimes, when the Dead of Winter wisps so strongly that baseball feels as though it’s vast light years away, I put on this jersey, and remind myself of my passion for the game and its endless analyses. But I will be there soon. Order some stuffed jalapenos now, so that they may be ready by the time I approach the table. Thank you.”

        I jest out of nothing but respect and admiration for the man :)

  3. snowbirdgothic - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Brilliant stuff. Thanks for the link.

    And somewhere, right now, Bill Simmons is frantically scanning that article for a “Hoosiers” reference.

  4. kopy - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Good article, but I think it’s unfair to say “Jack Morris should have lost Game 7″ like he did.

    We know that defense affects a pitcher’s win-loss record. Bernhardt claims that Knoblauch/Gagne pulling the fake ball at 2nd move to keep Smith from scoring is the reason Morris didn’t lose. So? That argument can be made for any defensive play that is made behind any pitcher. I don’t think it’s fair to Morris to say that he “should have lost Game 7″ just because this particular play is, while not that complicated, not seen overly often.

    This narrative opens up a slippery path down the hypothetical. A lot of pitchers “should have lost” a lot of gives if not for good defense behind them.

    • 78mu - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      Except how often does the fake ball at 2nd work? Smith wasn’t some rookie just up from AAA and had probably have seen it tried dozens of times. It’s like getting called out with the hidden ball trick. Any team that pulls it off successfully knows they were lucky to catch the runner.

      • kopy - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        I’ve seen it a few times, though not always in that instance. I’ve seen a couple wild pickoff throws to 2nd where the SS fakes a tag on the runner (who is on the ground because he dove back to the bag), and then the CF got to the ball before the runner could realize the situation and advance to 3rd.

        I think the play actually has a legitimate chance of success. It’s just that it needs to be used in a perfect situation that doesn’t arise very frequently.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:47 PM

      This narrative opens up a slippery path down the hypothetical. A lot of pitchers “should have lost” a lot of gives if not for good defense behind them.

      While I completely agree, we have to be careful here. For one, if we say that Smith scores, we can’t use predetermined outcomes for the rest of the game. Twins could just as easily scored two in the next inning or one and Morris pitches a one run win in the 10th.

      However, it does highlight some incredible hypotheticals? What if Jeter doesn’t make that weird backup play on Spencer’s overthrow? Giambi is safe, Yanks lose, A’s maybe beat the Dbacks in the WS since they had the pitching to match Schilling/RJ (and the G6 massacre over Pettitte can’t happen). Is Moneyball vindicated? Does Beane maybe leave for Boston?

      ’96, Jeter’s “home run” is correctly ruled an out, maybe Steinbrenner goes nuts and Yankee dynasty never happens?

      Trying to think of other mistakes that could have greatly changed the course of history.

      • kopy - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:59 PM

        You just reminded me of this awesome commercial:

      • umrguy42 - Jan 13, 2012 at 5:26 PM

        Much as it was in my Cards favor, what if the Detroit pitchers knew how to throw without making errors in the ’06 WS?

  5. cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    That was the last word about the Jack Morris tongue bath narrative. Like Ive been saying for a while, its the mustache. Bernhardt even mentions that great mustache as though it was the most definitive thing anyone could use to describe Morris. Stick a baseball on Jack’s face and let the mustache throw it: it’d have the same record as Jack.

    The best part? Bernhardt spends as much time pointing out Morris’s record as he does cutting up Frick Award winner, Tim McCarver. If he’d written that piece just for me, he couldn’t have done a better job.

  6. dwishinsky - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Craig – I assume, “I know you all are tied of Jack Morris stuff” really means “tired” but, what we are tired of is just the one Jack Morris image. Dude pitched a lot time and we only have one picture to go by!?

    • dwishinsky - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      And in my mine “lot” really means “long”. Typos “untie!”

  7. jwbiii - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    I put this together before Bernhardt mentioned Jamie Moyer

    Jack Morris: 254W, 2478K, 3.90 ERA (105 ERA+)
    Jamie Moyer: 267W, 2405K, 4.24 ERA (104 ERA+)

    Jack Morris: 5.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.78 K/BB, 4.54 FRA, 33.4 WARP
    Jamie Moyer: 5.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 2.12 K/BB, 4.89 FRA, 43.2 WARP

    Jack Morris: 3824 IP
    Jamie Moyer: 4020 IP

    • dwishinsky - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Jaime Moyer is a surefire HOFer after he retires in 2034

    • nategearhart - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      Morris destroys Moyer in MAR (moustache above replacement) though.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        Agree.

    • aceshigh11 - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Wow.

  8. Mark Armour - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    I would suggest that when someone finally writes the “story” of Jack Morris, it would not spend anytime talking about good he was or he wasn’t, much like the “story” of Abraham Lincoln would not try to rank him or compare him with other people. When someone decides to write the “story” of Jack Morris, I would love to read it.

  9. largebill - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Good article. It should be forwarded to the 600 or so BBWAA members who vote for the HoF.

  10. braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    When deciding whether or not a player is HOF-worthy, one must take into account the time and era that the player played. Here are some facts about Jack Morris that pretty much expose how “great” he was during the ENTIRETY of his playing career (not even taking into account his playoff career).

    Jack Morris 1977-1994

    1st in Wins
    1st in Innings
    1st in Total Batters Faced
    1st in Games Started
    1st in Complete Games
    2nd in Strikeouts
    4th in Shutouts
    5th in ERA (3,000+ Innings)
    5th in WHIP (3,000+ innings)
    5th in WAR

    WHEN HE WAS IN THE LEAGUE, Morris was one of the best starting pitchers in the game. To compare him to other pitchers from different eras is senseless. He should be in the Hall of Fame.

    • dwrek5 - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      All the ’1st’ are counting stats just for 77-94. What if someone pitched 1985-2002? They will have pitched in the same era (85-94), but wouldn’t rank as high in your 77-94 window because they didn’t pitch in that exact window. Does that make sense?

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        Facts are facts. Because other pitchers have had better careers that may have crossed into Morris’ career timeline, doesn’t take away from the fact that Jack Morris was one of the most dominant pitchers during his allotted time in the league. To simply discount what he accomplished WHILE IN THE LEAGUE because others have been better during THEIR time in the league seems illogical.

      • dwrek5 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        You dont get it. How many pitchers pitched the exact same time frame as Morris aka “while he was in the league”? Not many. Your pre-defined window is confusing your judgement.
        I’m not even saying you are wrong, Im saying your argument holds little weight in evaluating dominance during Morris’ era.

      • paperlions - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        Yes, they are facts…but they are also facts that don’t mean a whole hell of a lot because they are all counting stats or rate states that only make Morris look good because it requires other players careers to have been coincident with his.

        Morris NEVER led the league in ERA.
        Morris NEVER finished top 2 in CY voting.
        Morris NEVER led the league in strikeouts.

        Morris was never the best pitcher in baseball, or even in the discussion) in any year of his career.

      • jwbiii - Jan 13, 2012 at 5:01 PM

        paperlions, You are missing something important. During his career, Morris led the league SIX TIMES in wild pitches. They weren’t all with Detroit, so you can’t blame Lance Parrish and Matt Nokes for all of them.

    • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      I don’t mean to get all up in your grill, Brad, but I’ve seen this exact argument used to keep players out of the hall. The blank balloters used it on Larkin: he may have been the best of his time but merely average among the best in the Hall. Ditto Bagwell (with a soupçon of PEDS innuendo). If anything, the bulk of Morris’ stats that you cite are either based on things outside of a pitchers control or are a factor of longevity & health rather than skill. See Jamie Moyer’s stats under jwbiii’s comment. Sorry man, but if you’d thrown in his excellent MAR value then I’d be a bit more on your side with this one.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        Baseball is a game of peers, and from 1977-1994, Jack Morris was better than most pitchers in the game of baseball.

    • seanmk - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      i find these “stats” dubious at best. for one you are narrowing it from 1977 to 1994 meaning ONLY the years jack morris pitched, so there could be a great pitcher that either ends his career in the middle or starts in the middle and won’t hit your totals because only half his career would be included. Also the author of the BBpro piece goes over these stats already and debunks that argument. The ERA we’ve gone over it’s a 3.90, which would be the highest in the HoF. his case boils do to innings pitched for the most part and the narrative of “being an ace”

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        His ERA is high because he pitched more innings than ANY other pitcher during his career. WHEN he was playing, he was one of the best pitchers in the game. I don’t even see how that is arguable. The best get into the Hall.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        His ERA is high because he pitched more innings than ANY other pitcher during his career.

        Are you trying to say that the more often he pitched, the more of a possibility of giving up runs? If so, it’s not true at all. Here are his career splits by month and era:

        April/March 4.45
        May 3.99
        June 4.12
        July 3.85
        August 3.91
        Sept/Oct 3.26

        His best month ever, by far is Sep/Oct and his worst month is Mar/April.

        WHEN he was playing, he was one of the best pitchers in the game. I don’t even see how that is arguable. The best get into the Hall.

        Jack Morris’s best ERA over one season was in ’81 at 3.05 over 198IP (that was a strike year right?) After that, it jumps to 3.28. His best ERA+ against the league was 133. Dave Stieb, who pitched from 79 to 93, beat that 3.05 ERA four times, and topped the 133 ERA+ six times.

        Also, did you read the article? The writer makes a fairly clear case that neither the stats nor the writers thought of him as one of the best considering the lack of CY Votes.

    • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      WHEN HE WAS IN THE LEAGUE….what does that even mean? Were others more dominant after they retired?

      Clemens had more WAR than Morris, and he didn’t debut until May of ’84. Case closed.

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        Not only this, but why not shift your paradigm to any pitcher who tossed 18 years in the league? Then how does he stack up, rather than your arbitrary time frame?

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        *crickets chirping*

    • Kyle - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      I’m absolutely baffled that you could read the article linked to above and then come here and list off all that nonsense. I’ll never cease to be amazed at how much effort is required to ignore the truth.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        Actually, for once, the argument used to ignore fact is as lengthy as the one to support it. Makes a nice change to see the “Narrative Truthers” have to really work for once.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        The cream always rises to the top when dealing with statistics. Do this same thing with any pitcher for their entire career and see what you get. Bad pitchers won’t be leading in ANYTHING. Go ahead and try it, if you are so sure of yourself.

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        Right. Good statistics.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      FACT: 1990-1996
      1st in Home Runs
      1st in RBIs….

      Cecil Fielder is a Hall of Famer!

      Everyone, feel free to add your own. Fangraphs is great for this!

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        Cecil was 9th in homeruns during his career and 20th in RBIs. Not even close to HOF material.

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        Can you not see that someone is using YOUR OWN ARGUMENT AGAINST YOU?

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        Brad, you’re drowning, man. Get out of the pool. It’s adult swim time.

    • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      The two highest vote-getters in HOF history. I guess it’s all meaningless.

      Nolan Ryan 1966-1993

      1st in WAR
      1st in Strikeouts
      1st in Total Batters Faced
      1st in Innings
      1st in Games Started
      1st in Shutouts
      2nd in Wins
      4th in ERA (3,000+ Innings)
      7th in Complete Games
      8th in WHIP (3,000+ innings)

      Tom Seaver 1967-1986

      1st in WHIP (3,000+ innings)
      1st in Shutouts
      2nd in ERA (3,000+ Innings)
      2nd in Wins
      3rd in Strikeouts
      3rd in Innings
      4th in Total Batters Faced
      4th in Games Started
      5th in WAR
      5th in Complete Games

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        NO. BODY. CARES.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        Hey, Brandon Warne, stop screaming like a two year-old and post what I have posted for any “non-HOF-worthy” pitcher and see what you get. I know you won’t because you are too busy being a loud mouth baby.

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        Andy Pettitte: 1993-2010
        1st in wins
        2nd in ERA (min. 3000 IP)
        2nd in IP
        1st in batters faced
        7th in strike outs
        3rd in WHIP (min. 3000 IP)
        6th in WAR

      • seanmk - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:59 PM

        instead of using time periods and 1st second third place, can always just list the stats. fact is he never had an ERA under 3 in a pitcher’s era of baseball, how can be dominate when he never had one truely dominate season? he was a very good pitcher for a very long time, and i don’t think that makes him a hall of famer, more a complier then anything else.

        The whole thing people always loved about baseball stats was that you could compare it across eras, thus why people “hated the steroid era” and you are telling me not to compare him to other pitcher during his era, just pitchers during the years he pitched. AGAIN pitchers career overlap, that’s why you don’t compare the way you are doing it but instead compare the actual careers.

        i hope you are not comparing jack morris to either nolan ryan or tom seaver

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        Hey, Brandon Warne, stop screaming like a two year-old and post what I have posted for any “non-HOF-worthy” pitcher and see what you get. I know you won’t because you are too busy being a loud mouth baby.

        I love when people make insane statements, ignore everyone who refutes them, but call out one individual for “screaming”.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

        By and large all that list demonstrates is that longevity = high totals.

        Ryan’s ERA: 3.15 with 8 seasons of less than 3 ERA. 6 seasons with 300+ strike outs. And yet only 2 seasons with 20 or more wins and a career winning percentage of 0.526.

        Morris’s ERA: 3.9. 0 seasons less than 3 ERA. 3 seasons with 20 or more wins and a career 0.577 winning percentage. 0 seasons with 300 strikeouts…hell he cracked 200 SOs/season only twice.

        Are you really asserting that there’s any comparison in skill between these 2 guys or that wins mean anything in terms of that skill? IMO pitchers don’t win games. They hinder the other team from winning. Winning is accomplished by the guys doing the hitting and baserunning. Nolan Ryan was terrific at hindering opposing teams. Pity his teammates weren’t as good as he was. Jack Morris was average to slightly above average. His teammates, though. They were the business.

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        Make it worth my time, pal.

      • seanmk - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        and why are you listing WAR? first off you’re not even saying what version of WAR you are using, second WAR is context neutral, so you can one player has 50 WAR verse 60 WAR, the 60 WAR player was more valueable, regardless of when it was played or where.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

        Somebody please post stats Brad-style that make Rob Deer look like a Hall of Famer. That would make my weekend.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:01 PM

        Somebody please post stats Brad-style that make Rob Deer look like a Hall of Famer. That would make my weekend.

        Rob Deer lead the league in strike outs four times while “hall of famer” Jack Morris could only do it once!

        [how'd I do?]

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        You made me a believer, church.

      • tmohr - Jan 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

        Jack Morris 1977-1994

        7th (of 7) in ERA (3,000+ Innings)
        (tied with Frank Tanana)

    • schlom - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Here’s another list: http://bit.ly/ywV8hM That’s the stats of those that pitched from 1974-1997 (3 years on either side of Morris’ career). Just by adding those three arbitrary years he’s not first at anything anymore.

      I don’t think that anyone is disputing that Morris was a good pitcher but when the statistical case can easily be made that Frank Tanana or Rick Reuschel were better it’s probably hard to say you’re a definite Hall of Famer.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:00 PM

        So you added SIX years to the timeline and he’s still second in wins. lol You sure showed me.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        Andy Pettitte is a great example and very much comparable to Morris. He’s an “on the fence” HOF candidate with good playoff stats that was better than a lot of people give him credit.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        Actually what he showed was that Frank Tanana or Rick Reuschel are more deserving than Morris. That should be the least word in this argument.

      • paperlions - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:13 PM

        Pitcher wins are completely meaningless…..they give a pitcher credit for accomplishments of the entire team. Another thing Morris led the league in that you have ignored, run support…he led the league in having great team mates.

        Denny Martinez, Rich Reuschel, and Frank Tanana were all clearly superior pitchers to Morris….all they don’t have is the mustache and the narrative to carry their vote.

      • weaselpuppy - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:16 PM

        As a guy that grew up watching all 3 pitchers in person and on TV, Tanana pre injury was the most talented of the three, and Morris the best pitcher…Reuschel was between the two and post injury Tanana was a great “crafty” lefty….but if given the option, you chose Morris from that group every time without a second thought. He’s as far above those two as he is behind Ryan and Carlton and Palmer…which is about where Dave Stieb is…Stieb has a worse narrative and played for crappier teams. Sorry. No one would pitch Jamie Moyer over Morris…or Mussina over Morris in the real world…Jack was a better pitcher. None of Tanana or Mussina or Stieb or Reuschel are going to be HOF….Morris may because he was better or equal plus was “the guy”…77-84 wasn’t a great pitching era overall….

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        Jack was a better pitcher

        Based on what? I’m being completely honest here, where do you guys come up with this stuff?

      • largebill - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        WeaselPuppy,

        You almost made sense until you asserted that no one would choose Mussina over Morris. That’s flat out horse-bleep. Did you make any comparison between the two pitchers?
        Mussina had a 3.68 ERA during a time of great offensive which gave him an ERA+ of 123
        Morris had a high ERA of 3.90 during a much weaker offensive period which gave him an ERA+ of 105 barely above average.
        Mussina had 300 more strikeouts even though he pitched around 300 LESS innings.
        Mussina is a potentially valid Hall of Fame choice. Morris would be one of the worst Hall of Fame pitchers if selected. You really hurt Morris’ HoF case when you compare him to pitchers who were much, much better.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        or Mussina over Morris in the real world…Jack was a better pitcher.

        Traditional stats:

        Mussina – 270-153 0.638W% 3.68 ERA
        Morris – 254-186 0.577W% 3.90 ERA

        Morris pitched in a better pitching environment, and in 12 more games lost 33 more times and won 16 less. Clearly Mussina here

        Peripherals

        Mussina – 0.95 HR/9 ; 1.98 BB/9 ; 7.11 K/9; 3.58 K/BB
        Morris – 0.92 HR/9 ; 3.27 BB/9; 5.83 K/9, 1.78 K/BB

        Again, clearly Mussina even though Morris pitched in a far more friendly pitching environment.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      I love your 3000 IP caveat for Morris. If we take the same timespan (since, you know, other’s players careers didn’t happen at the EXACT same time) and lower the minimum IP to a more reasonable 2000, Morris ranks 45th out of a possible 53.

      Repeat, for pitchers from 1977 to 1994 with at least 2000 innings pitched, only 8 had a worse ERA.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        He led the league in innings pitched. That means something. Simply cutting his innings nearly in half and allowing those players in on the list makes his ability to pitch the most innings meaningless. I used the same guidelines for Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        Use the same guidelines for Frank Tanana and Rick Reushel then and see what you get. Back up your argument instead of simply making blind statements.

      • paperlions - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        Yes, the IP do mean something, they mean that he was very durable and was an adequate pitcher….but nearly every other pitcher with similar durability and a reasonable career length during his era was actually better than he was.

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        “He led the league in innings pitched. That means something. Simply cutting his innings nearly in half and allowing those players in on the list makes his ability to pitch the most innings meaningless.”

        Fine:

        Jerry Koosman= more innings, lower ERA (by a lot), no HOF
        Sad Sam Jones=more innings, lower ERA no HOF
        Jack Quinn=more innings, lower ERA no HOF
        Dennis Martinez= more innings, lower ERA no HOF
        Jaime Moyer=more innings, lower ERA and probably no HOF
        Frank Tanana=more innings, lower ERA no HOF
        Jim Kaat=more innings, lower ERA no HOF
        Tommy John=more innings, lower ERA no HOF
        Charlie Hough=23 fewer innings, lower ERA no HOF

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      Let’s take a quick look at each Morris season, shall we:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/morrija02.shtml

      1977: 45 innings as rookie, so no comment
      1978: most a reliever, and a bad one at that.
      1979: 17 wins in minus 200 innings. Pretty good.
      1980: 16-15, bad ERA and 1.3 K/BB. Kinda poor
      1981: Very good
      1982: A league average ERA. OK year
      1983: Good year
      1984: Meh. 19 wins but barely above average ERA
      1985: Very good
      1986: very good
      1987: Very Good
      1988: Kinda bad
      1989: Awwwwwful
      1990: Pretty bad year
      1991: Very good
      1992: 20 wins, but barely above average ERA. It helped he had that offense behind him
      1993: Brutally awful
      1994: Brutally awful

      By my count he had 12 season in which he helped his team win at all, 7 of which were good, the rest average or just below. The other seasons, he presence actively hurt his team.

      Dave Stieb helped his team in 10 season, and was better than Morris at his peak. Tommy John peaked just as much as Morris and was average or better in 17 seasons. Frank Tanana had just as many good seasons….

  11. Chipmaker - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Didn’t we already see that with Tony “most RBIs not in the Hall*” Perez and Jim “feared! FEARED!” Rice? Granted that “most wins in the 80s” hasn’t done the trick for Morris yet, but his returns keep increasing and it is the factoid his supporters never fail to use.

    * I realize that these slogan bullets only work once each, but think the “most RBIs” one could help Palmeiro any?

    • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      Morris didn’t simply have the most wins in the ’80s, he had the most wins from his first game played in 1977 to the last game he played in the Majors in 1994, and by 36 wins.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        Yeah, once again Brad, I’m shakin’ my head here. Wins? Really? Just as an example lets take a look at one of those seasons with high wins. 1992. His ERA in ’92 was 4.04. He won 21 games. I’m gonna go ahead and say, because I watched that season (in all its glory) from beginning to end, that Jack Morris had a really, really, really good team behind him. I’m gonna say that rarely has an average pitcher, who gave up so many runs I developed an associated verbal tick that manifested itself as “goddamnjackmorris!!!”, been so blessed with such excellent teammates in an otherwise unremarkable (but for health) career. Jack Morris had remarkably good teammates and remarkably good health to go along with his average skills…and just a killer mustache. I’d give away your right arm for Jack’s mustache.

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        Right. A 4.04 ERA isn’t even HOF caliber in the ‘roids era, let alone then.

  12. Francisco (FC) - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Looking at the article I took a look at Red Ruffing… his stats seem even less impressive than Jack Morris. We should either vote Jack Morris in, or vote Red Ruffing out…

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      If we voted everyone in who is better than the worst member of the hall of fame, the hall is going to get awfully big.

      I mean, this guy is in the Hall of Fame: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/wanerll01.shtml

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        Not close to the worst, either.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      I was being facetious. My point was that when John kept his statistical comparison simple you can take his chosen examples and come up with some very weird comparisons. Red Reffing’s carreer K/9 rate is the same as Kyle Kendrick’s LOL!

  13. Francisco (FC) - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    “a Hall of Fame bust should not be awarded because Lonnie Smith lost his helmet.”

    I’m having a Spaceballs flashback here…

  14. Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    In the 27 years Nolan Ryan pitched, he was the best. Nevermind that all but one of the years that Morris pitched are actually INSIDE THAT BLEEPING TIME FRAME.

    • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      What does Nolan Ryan have to do with Jack Morris other than they played at the same time? Nolan Ryan was a far better pitcher than Morris. No one is disputing that.

  15. braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Jack Morris 1977-1994

    1st in Wins
    1st in Innings
    1st in Total Batters Faced
    1st in Games Started
    1st in Complete Games
    2nd in Strikeouts
    4th in Shutouts
    5th in ERA (3,000+ Innings)
    5th in WHIP (3,000+ innings)
    5th in WARFrank Tanana 1973-1993

    2nd in Total Batters Faced
    2nd in Games Started
    3rd in Innings
    4th in Strikeouts
    4th in Wins
    7th in WAR
    7th in Complete Games
    8th in Shutouts
    9th in WHIP (3,000+ innings)
    12th in ERA (3,000+ Innings)

    Rick Reuschel 1972-1991

    4th in WAR
    7th in ERA (3,000+ Innings)
    7th in Total Batters Faced
    7th in Innings
    7th in Games Started
    9th in WHIP (3,000+ innings)
    9th in Wins
    11th in Strikeouts
    22nd in Complete Games
    23rd in Shutouts

    • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      No contest.

      • largebill - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        No comprehension of how to make a logical case.

      • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:34 PM

        “braddavery – Jan 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM
        No contest.”

        That’s what we all plea in the case of obliterating you in this discussion.

    • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      The second set of stats is for Frank Tanana.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        When you use the statistical anomaly that I am using with more than one player, it starts to make more sense. Thus the difference in numbers between Morris, Tanana and Reuschel. This is a 100% peer-based statistical anomaly and nothing more. If you think it’s completely useless, so be it. I think it has SOME meaning.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 5:17 PM

        I would rank Jack Morris at around the 40th-50th best all-time pitcher. Could you agree with that sentiment?

    • Kyle - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      Oh lord, I’ll bite again. Allow me to plagiarize myself a bit:

      Jack Morris Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement: 56.9

      Jack Morris Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement: 39.3

      The extent to which either of those numbers represents a compelling Hall of Fame case: Not so much

      Jack Morris career ERA+: 105

      The figure of ERA+ that represents exactly league average: 100

      Where an ERA+ of 105 ranks Jack Morris all-time: Tied for 479th

      A modern pitcher with an ERA+ of 105: A.J. Burnett

      Another one: Jeremy Guthrie

      Well Jack Morris must have been pitching to the score, then: You might think that, but no

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1815

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        Any all-time pitcher can have one single stat of theirs compared to some mediocre or worse pitcher. Nolan Ryan’s career ERA is 3.19, good for 245th all-time, most comparable to current player Roy Oswalt. See how easy that is.

      • Kyle - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        Do you mean that cherry picking statistics and arbitrary time frames can either inflate or deflate a baseball player’s Hall of Fame case? Because that’s all you’re doing in support of Morris. The important thing is to do your best to pick appropriate and relevant statistics as well as honest sample sizes.

        Roy Oswalt: Another pitcher with a better Hall of Fame case than Jack Morris.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        So it’s okay when you do it, but you have a problem with other people doing it. I got it.

      • Kyle - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:55 PM

        The implication was that I was doing my best to pick appropriate and relevant statistics as well as honest sample sizes.

        I’m using ERA+ and WAR, you’re using Wins, Games Started, Batters Faced, and forcing parameters like 3,000+ Innings.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      So Brad, I think I understand your confusion here.

      In no season was Morris as close to the best pitcher in the game as Reuschel or Tanana (or many others). His best year, he ranked 5th in the AL in WAR.

      What your seeing in these numbers was the fact that the best pitchers of his era, Gooden, Valenzuela, Hershiser, Stieb, Saberhagen, etc got injured. Repeat: At no point was he ever better than a pretty good pitcher, who at best, was probably not the top 10 pitchers in the league. By that standard, you are actually basis his HOF candidacy on other players arm injuries.

    • cktai - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:16 AM

      Funny that you should compare him to Tanana and Reuschel. This is Jack Morris in 1970-2000 and the non-HOFers (excluding future HOFers like Maddux, Clemens and Johnson) that beat him in the respective catagories

      7th in wins (Steve Carlton)
      8th in IP (Carlton, Frank Tanana, Dennis Martinez)
      10th in TBF (Carlton, Tanana, Martinez)
      10th in strikeouts (Carlton, Tanana, David Cone)
      11th in GS (Jerry Reuss, Rick Reuschel, Martinez, Tanana)
      12th in CG (Reuss, Reuschel, Martinez, Tanana)
      13th out of 26 in K/9 for pitchers with 3000 IP+ (Carlton, Bobby Jenkins, Tanana, Vida Blue, Jerry Koosman)
      13th in fangraphs WAR (Carlton, Kevin Brown, Reuschel, Tanana. Bret Saberhagen, Dwight Gooden)
      17th in shutouts (Luis Tiant, Bob Welsh, Burt Hooton, Martinez, Bob Knepper, Tommy John, Dave Stieb, Jon Matlack, Fernando Valenzuela, Tanana, Blue, Reuss, Carlton)
      last(!) out of 26 in ERA (Hough, Alexander, Darwin, Tanana, Reuss, Martinez, Hershiser, Carlton, Blue, Koosman, John)

      • cktai - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:18 AM

        I forgot WHIP

        21st out of 26 in WHIP with 3000IP+ (Alexander, Darwin, Tanana, Martinez, Hershiser, Carlton, Blue, Koosman)

      • Kevin S. - Jan 15, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        I’m… confused. You are aware that Steve Carlton made it into the Hall on his first ballot with over 95% of the vote, right?

  16. cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    I give up. I’ll say one thing for you Brad. You got more stamina for framing an argument to suit a “truth” than I do for debunking it. The trenchant things wrong with your lists have already been pointed out. If you were at all a reasonable person who could be swayed by reasonable arguments, you’d have given over with this long since. I leave it to better people than I (of whom there are many, many dozens) to point out, yet again, you rely on Jack’s health rather than his talent to frame your argument.

    One last thing before I go do something productive with my day: I’ve come up with a reason for your stamina. You care more about Morris being in the HOF than the rest of us (we just resent being told to think something that isn’t really true: to wit “Jack Morris was a great, HOF pitcher”. He was not). I think you’re not really “Brad D. Avery”. You are in fact “Jack S. Morris”. Its the only reason that fits, frankly. Either that or you’re his mustache. Nice “talking” to you Jack (or Jack’s Mustache, whichever). You’ve been entertaining.

    • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Cool. Thanks. : )

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        …I don’t think that was a compliment.

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        I really don’t care that others disagree with me and have to resort to name-calling and insults to get their points across. At least I have been cordial in this forum. I have an opinion and many disagree. So what.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        *facepalm*

      • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        Wow, a facepalm. I’m so upset.

  17. Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    “Hey, Brandon Warne, stop screaming like a two year-old and post what I have posted for any “non-HOF-worthy” pitcher and see what you get. I know you won’t because you are too busy being a loud mouth baby.”

    That’s not name-calling? The worst I did to you was call you “pal”

    • braddavery - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:54 PM

      Are you ever going to be able to get over this? I mean, it’s only been, what, 3 hours or so since we started and you STILL are at my throat. Take a break, dude. Go do something constructive. Yelling at people online because you disagree with them is petty and unproductive.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 7:27 PM

        Hey! We agree. Nice.

        ps: “facepalm” just means “I rest my face in my palms” not “I smack you one” (in case you’d taken it that way).

  18. phillyphreak - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Did anyone else pick up on the fact that braddavery has the same number of letters as Jack Morris? Coincidence? I think not…..

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