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Your ignorant Jack Morris quote of the day

Dec 24, 2012, 8:30 AM EDT

Jack Morris

All of these now, it seems, come with required name-calling. But sure, it’s the anti-Jack Morris types who lack civility and all of that jazz.  This from Bill Madden:

I have no idea what Jack Morris’ career WAR is, any more than I have any idea what WAR itself is. I only know that the vigilante sabermetric brigade using all its advanced statistic formulas to contrive the case that Morris was somehow not a dominant No. 1 pitcher, probably never saw him pitch. I did, at least 40 times between postseasons and when Morris’ Tigers were in the American League East, and never once was he not the best pitcher in the game that day.

I love Madden’s use of the word “vigilante.” The definition of vigilante is a person who takes the law into their own hands and refuses to respect the established structures of power and justice. I don’t think he just threw that word out there as a lazy synonym for “obnoxious” or “hostile” or something. It clearly galls Madden that the Hall of Fame police force — the BBWAA — is being questioned, and he truly believes that non-BBWAA people making Hall of Fame assessments is akin to roving mobs and villagers with torches. Indeed,  think that motivates a great number of these reactionary takes. For years guys like Madden were considered authorities about something. While they still are authorities with respect to many things — they are in the clubhouse after all — player assessment is clearly not one of them. It’s probably pretty scary for them. Poor dears.

Anyway, to Morris. As a kid growing up going to games at Tiger Stadium and catching Morris on WDIV-TV several times a year, I saw Jack Morris pitch far more than the 40 times Madden did. I may have been young, but since Madden is admitting not to know what a pretty well-accepted metric is, I don’t think his current knowledge base and my seven year-old through 21 year-old knowledge bases were that different.

For the bulk of that time I was actually rooting for Morris, so if anyone was going to consider him “the best” on the days he pitched, it was going to be a kid like me. But even through I wore those kid fan glasses I did not believe he was always “the best pitcher in the game that day.” I know this because I saw him face Ron Guidry, Roger Clemens, Dave Stieb and Frank Viola. Or why he didn’t cover Tigers games when Dan Petry pitched, because Peaches was better than Morris for several years too. Maybe Madden was always sick those days? Hard to say.

In any event, the numbers for Morris are pretty simple. The only ones using numbers to “contrive” a case about Morris’ Hall of Fame candidacy are the people like Madden who must find a way to make him look like a Hall of Famer when the numbers really say he is not one.

152 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. The Common Man - Dec 24, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    If we’re all going to join the Vigilante Sabermetric Brigade, I hereby nominate myself as the Aquaman of the group.

    • The Common Man - Dec 24, 2012 at 8:36 AM

      And yes, Craig, don’t worry. You get to be Batman.

      • jtorrey13 - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:24 PM

        Ooooh, oooh, oooh, I call Ted Kord/Blue Beetle. Or, if we allow references to the Legion of Substitue Super Heroes, I call Porcupine Pete.

      • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

        I am The Tick. If I can’t be The Tick I’m not playing.

      • indaburg - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        Dibs on Wonder Woman.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        I’m The Flash. At least that’s what my wife says.

  2. wpjohnson - Dec 24, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Morris is not a Hall of Famer. It is time for the voters to be selective in choosing future members. We have far too many merely good players in now. Morris would add to the mediocrity.

  3. illcomm - Dec 24, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Craig looks more like the skinny version of the penguin.

    • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      My Dog. You actually said something funny! Well this deserves a BIG Marv Albert YES!

  4. alexo0 - Dec 24, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    I saw Morris pitch for the heavily favored Tigers in game 2 of the ’87 ALCS. He definitely pitched to the score, but unfortunately his team did not score the 7 runs he was told he would get.

  5. takingbovadasmoney - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    There is no set way to calculate WAR. Since it is a “well accepted metric” tells me all I need to know about sabermetrics. Let’s make up numbers to fit our conclusions.

    • kindasporty - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      So you are saying that WAR was calculated with a bias against Jack Morris? Maybe there were guys sitting around in a room with their Tandy’s and TI-84’s and when they are just about done creating a formula for WAR, one stops and looks at the other and says “Hey wait a second! According to this formula, Jack Morris was one of the all time greats. This is unacceptable and needs to be changed before anyone finds out!”

    • realgone2 - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      I tend to agree.

      • paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        It is just unfortunate that two different metrics were called the same thing. Each are far more useful as a composite than any other single metric, but no one that uses them properly uses them as the be-all-end-all….indeed, the same people that mis-use WAR are the same people that mis-use any statistic.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      There is no set way to calculate WAR. Since it is a “well accepted metric” tells me all I need to know about sabermetrics. Let’s make up numbers to fit our conclusions.

      Actually there is a set way to calculate each type of WAR (WARP, fWAR, and rWAR). Your ignorance of how to do it doesn’t make it a bad statistic.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        Also, I love how you bash an entire idea (sabermetrics) based on one thing you don’t like/understand. It’s like saying, “this harlequin romance novel sucks, fuck you Tolstoy, your medium is terrible…”

    • thereisaparty - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      WAR is simply a framework. You can (and I actually would recommend) create your own WAR. But you have to live with the results. It will force you to be consistent in measuring players.

      For instance, try creating a framework where Jack Morris is a HOFer, but it to all pitchers post-1965 (arbitrary point) and see if you like the results. WAR equations are the exact opposite of creating a number to fit a cause.

    • raysfan1 - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Those who don’t think Morris belongs in the HoF don’t have to use any sort of Sabermetrics. His career ERA is 3.90 (good for 743d on Baseball Reference’s list). The highest career ERA of anyone currently in the HoF is 3.598 by Herb Pennock (#501 on the list).

      Using WAR to denigrate those who don’t support Morris’ candidacy is really pretty dumb because his case is better based on WAR than on ERA. His 39.3 is 145th on B-R’s career rankings and ahead of at least a small number of pitchers in the HoF.

  6. realgone2 - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Good Lord, how did the fine people of Baseball make any decisions before the invention of Sabermetrics? Must have been dark times, my friends.

    • jwbiii - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      They did what Frankie Frisch told them to do.

    • thereisaparty - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      Less efficiently is how

      • paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        Well, certainly less accurately.

    • raysfan1 - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      They looked at a career 3.90 ERA and said “That’s worse than any pitcher currently in the Hall of Fame.”

  7. kindasporty - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    I saw Mickey Tettleton play in person about half a dozen times, and even more on television. He always looked like a hall of famer to me. I don’t care to listen to any of your fancy schmancy statistics or recorded history of what you stat nerds call “reality”. I know what I saw and my heavy biases of childhood memories mixed with being a lifelong Tigers fan tells me that Mickey Tettleton is a hall of famer and since my opinion is my only argument, I will belittle anyone who tells me different. Checkmate.

    • Steve A - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      Yeah, well I saw Bobby Higginson hit a walkoff home run against the Cubs in 1998. The Cubs went to the playoffs that year! Too bad the voters didn’t see that, or any of the other great games by Higgy that I saw, before letting him drop off the ballot a couple of years ago.

    • braddavery - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      The reason it’s a vote is to WEED OUT people who vote like that, not vice versa. Point being, if Morris is elected to the HOF, it’s not because of a few voters using terrible logic to come to their conclusion, but because a large majority of the voters think he is deserving. So ha ha, Mickey Tettleton, but where your joke fails is that Mickey Tettleton isn’t close to actually being in the HOF like Morris is.

      • paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

        No, it’ll be because of a LOT of voters using terrible logic and because they are changing their opinion based on a social phenomenon associated with wanting to be associated with a majority opinion.

        There is no performance-based basis for an argument in favor of Morris as a HOF pitcher (Frank Tanana pitched better than Morris, and I can easily prove it). Even the hatched job narrative that attempt to favor Morris are inconsistent. Jack Morris never came close to winning a CY during his career, which was voted on by most of the same people voting for him now. This, despite the fact that he was clearly over-rated during his career. In 1992, he finished 5th in the CY voting despite have a 4.04 ERA (league average that year was 3.94).

        He never once led his league in ERA. He led once in complete games, shutouts, earned runs allowed, innings pitched, walks, strikeouts, and batters faced. He led the AL wild pitches six times.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        In 1992, he finished 5th in the CY voting despite have a 4.04 ERA (league average that year was 3.94

        Piggybacking off this comment, which pitcher performed better:

        A – 4.04 ERA, 240.2 IP in 34 Games, 108 ER, 18 HR, 80 BB and 132 Ks
        B – 3.32 ERA, 265.2 IP in 35 Games, 98 ER, 11 HR, 76 BB and 173 Ks

        A is Jack Morris, B is Kevin Brown and Morris received more pts than Brown.

        Oh, and btw, Eckersley winning the CY that year with the numbers that Mussina and Clemens put up has to be one of the worst voting decisions by the BBWAA, just look at the results:

      • jarathen - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        church, the ROY vote was atrocious as well. Reggie Sanders and Moises Alou were far more valuable than Eric Karros.

  8. Mark - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Alright, I won’t use WAR to prove it.

    How about ERA+? Morris is 105. Which is just ahead of another potential HoF candidate, Jamie Moyer (104). Wait, no, that’s not right…

    Too advanced? Let’s just use plain old ERA then. Since 1920, Morris ranks 669/1762 among starters with a 3.90 ERA. He’s sandwiched between HoF candidates James Shields (3.89) and Max Scherzer (3.92). I mean, clearly, if Scherzer and Shields can put up ERA similar to the great Jack Morris, they must be HoF candidates.

    How could I forget about the post season? Morris did well in 3 of his 6 playoff series. In other words, he was pretty average. And that’s just going by ERA, since I wouldn’t want to offend anybody by using Saber stats. I mean, at least when people talk about Curt Schilling, he had a 2.23 ERA in the playoffs. That’s what I would expect when I see dominant starters in the post season. Not a 3.80 ERA like Jack Morris.

    How about by wins? His 251 ranks 26th. This must be the basis for Morris being in the HoF. So then I assume Mr. Madden would also like to see Jamie Moyer join the Hall, since he has 262 wins…

    • tfbuckfutter - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      You lost me at ERA. ERA ERshmay is what I always say.

      Let’s look at the only thing a pitcher can control and which is the only factor a pitcher should be judged on. Wins.

      • indaburg - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:17 AM

        You forgot to include the hotness factor of his significant other.

      • manchestermiracle - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM

        Pitch lights-out and lose 1-0 due to lack of any run support. Pitch like crap and win 10-8 due to great run support. Number of wins doesn’t tell the whole story, that’s what the other stats are for. Especially ERA, since that’s one a pitcher does have quite a bit of control over.

      • paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        He was being sarcastic.

  9. neelymessier - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Reminds me of Eli Manning. He has had some unbelievable plays and has done welll in the postseason, but his numbers for passer rating, completion pct, TD’s-Ints, fumbles etc put him squarely in the pack of “pretty good”.

    • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      Wow. um…first; who? Second, I don’t know of any of these stats in baseball. You sabernerds are going crazy inventing stuff. And finally did this “Eli Manning” have as good a moustache as Jack? Because it’s all about the ‘stache.

  10. tfbuckfutter - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Old people are great.

    “I don’t understand these numbers so they are obviously useless! Everything should stay the same always! Now I feel a cold coming on, where the hell did I put my leeches?”

    • skids003 - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      Since you are taking a shot at old people, just rememeber, Young people can be stupid.

      But I’m not going to make it a sterotype of all of them, just some.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        I’m not calling old people stupid.

        I am calling them stubborn, set in their ways, and unwilling to accept challenges to their beliefs in light of new information they choose not to understand.

        (John Heyman included)

      • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        Get off my lawn! shakes walker at tfbuckfutter

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        Hey futter, hold off on stereotyping old farts. My dad’s 90 and mom’s close behind, and they favor marriage equality and legalizing pot.
        Now, on Morris, and others. Many players were very good, and sometimes terrific. To me, the HoF is for the best of the best. If you have to think more than 10 seconds, and search the stats for more than another 10 seconds, the candidate probably doesn’t belong in the Hall.

  11. neelymessier - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    wins is team stat. the pitcher hardest to score on is the best pitcher.

    • neelymessier - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      Morris pitched a long time… he was workhorse who one some big games. His own won-lost pct is ot significanlty better than his teams without him. Yeah 254 wins but what about 186 losses? Would anyone consider a 25-18 record with an average era on a very good team for the Cy Young? Actuallly average acroos a full season average for 18 years he averages 16 wins 12 losses era 3.90 k’s 157 bb’s 88.

      So one WS MVP in 91, and being at the top of innings pitched and cg’s should compensate for being slightly better than the league at allowing earned runs for 18 years.

      • antifreeze27 - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        Agree with your point, but a pitcher who went 25-18 with a mid 3’s ERA on a divison-winning team would almost certainly win the Cy Young.

        /will never forget when fat Bartolo Colon won the CY over Johan just cause he hit 20 wins
        //will also never forget when Bob Welch somehow won 27 games (and the CY) with pretty average peripheral stats

  12. jonrox - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Not only is he rejecting advanced statistics, but he is accusing its users of getting together and “sing all its advanced statistic formulas to contrive” a case against Morris. Put differently, he thinks all sabermetrics people got together and said “let’s make a formula that says Jack Morris sucks.” That would be quite the conspiracy.

    Although, to be fair to Bill Madden, if he was only covering the Yankees in the ’80s, there’s a fair chance that he never saw a better pitcher than Jack Morris except on the visitor’s team. The best pitcher the Yankees had during the ’80s was either post-op Tommy John or Ron Guidry.

    • antifreeze27 - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      Dave Righetti was pretty good for a few years…

      /you just made me reflect on how awful the Yankees were during my childhood!

      • jonrox - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM

        He once led the league in walks! (sarcasm font)

        I was also pretty amazed at how bad they were. Ron Guidry seems to have put up a few good years, and ended up with a better ERA, WHIP, and career WAR than Morris, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard him referenced as a great. He peaked at 8.8% in the Hall of Fame votes

    • antifreeze27 - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      Yeah Guidry had that amazing year (was it ’78?) But he was washed up by the time I was old enough to understand baseball (born in ’77)

      I remember when the Yankees traded for Jim Abbott in the early ’90s being THRILLED that we finally had a legit starting pitcher!

  13. jdd428 - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I suggest Dave Steib as a better 80s pitcher than Morris, and no one is making a Hall case for him. While watching him, I never thought of Morris as HoF-worthy – except in the classic Game 7 vs Smoltz. He’s just not as good as the Morris supporters suggest he was.

  14. mnwildfan15 - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Game 7 1991 WS is all that needs to be said.

    • abaird2012 - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      Really? One game? Well, where’s Don Larsen, then?

    • zzalapski - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

      Game 7 1991 WS is all that *can* be said.


      • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM


  15. antifreeze27 - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Why does Dave Stewart get no love in the discussion of dominant 80’s pitchers?

    I was a kid in the 80’s just learning and following baseball, but he is on my short list of “pitchers you did not want your team to be facing in a must-win game”. Clemens, Ryan, Steib, Saberhagen (in his odd-numbered good years), maybe Hershiser later in the decade. Those are the only guys I can think of off the top of my head I’d take before Dave Stewart.

    /I know I probably missed a bunch, my baseball knowledge begins in 1986.

    • jarathen - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      Dave Stewart had an excellent four-year-plus span starting with his time in Oakland in 1986 through 1990, but he wasn’t nearly as good before or after, or as valuable. For four years, yeah, he was one of the best, culiminating in that crazy 1990 campaign where he rocked an ERA+ of 144.

      Never had great control, either. His career SO/BB is 1.68.

  16. mrznyc - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Fame, as in famous. Did anyone outside the city of Detroit ever pay to watch Jack Morris pitch? Just a question.

    • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM


      He never pitched on the road, and few people could ride their horse driven carriages into Detroit to see the guy pitch in black and white.

    • paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Nonetheless, HOF criteria are for good players, not famous players.

  17. chrisdtx - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Jack Morris = Josh Beckett. And Beckett ain’t no Hall of Famer.

    • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Good comparison and you’ve helped educate me.

      I didn’t know that Morris had wasted his talent, was a pain to his managers, only had 3 or 4 standout years, and was a me-first clubhouse cancer.

    • thereisaparty - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      I think David Wells is his best comp. What are the arguments for Morris but against David Wells?

  18. tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I’m with Madden.

    Having spent over 35 years in systems work with computers, I know how overrated they are. Yes, they help support decisions, but as a decision driver they do not make up for a lack of experience.

    In history of systems those using them first always have an edge. But within a few years as they become accepted, production lines ramp up and individuals become educated. The result is that the cost of hardware, software and people all come tumbling down. Those with either the very best systems or the very best people interpreting the stats out of those systems may have an edge, but it’s a minor one. Again, decision makers needs to work with the stats, but they are hardly the driving force.

    I follow 3 teams closely as well as the rest of MLB as I have time for. My local teams are the Dodgers and Angles; my hometown team is the Indians. When McCourt bought the Dodgers he brought in DePodesta doing the Moneyball thing. It was a total disaster. When the Angles latched onto Mike Scioscia after Fox fired him in the minors, Mike combined with Bill Stonemen to turn the Angles into the old Dodgers, with pitching, defense, base running and playing smart fundamental baseball providing the edge. The Indians have been in circles for 12 years with Shapiro and Antonetti looking to their computers for guidance, as well as having a staff of people that are more computer oriented then baseball oriented. The teams they put out the past 5 years have been unwatchable. From the moves made this off-season, either Shapiro and Antonetti suddenly got smart, or the more logical explanation is that they’re listening to Terry Francona – a guy that looks at stats, but has experience at all levels of baseball (and comes from a baseball family).

    Put it another way – when you’re old and in a rest home, do you people want your grandchildren to be going through your tax returns and comparing them to the mean? Or how many spouses you had? Or children? Or automobiles and their makes and colors? Is that how you want your life to be seen? This is a group of people that never participated in the sport looking at the backs of baseball cards and arguing who’s good and who’s not. I know that business schools have been teaching numbers for over 20 years now, and that the art of management is no longer in much of American business – but that the point here – putting together a baseball team and playing the sport is an art, not a science.

    • thereisaparty - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Pray tell, how are computers overrated?

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM


        You prove my point!

        Reading Comprehension and the ability to think have been replaced with…..

        “I looked at the spreadsheet, wrote a formula, and based on that, look at what the data shows! I’m on top of all this stuff!”.

        COMPUTER DATA IS ACCOUNTING WITH LETTERS! It’s taking data that has been entered into a repository, grouping it together and spiting the results out. So? Does it tell and experienced person something they don’t already know? Does an executive sales manager need to look at computer stats to know which of his salespeople in which regions are doing well? Do you really think that a manager with 10 years in the sport can’t look at a player hit a few times and realize he can’t hit lefties? That he can’t hit a breaking ball? That a pitcher gets behind on the count? That a batter is only a pull hitter? You need a computer for this?

        Let me put it another way – if computers are so good predicting things, then tell me what computer service has accurately predicted playoff and championship winners in all the professional sports – because thousands of these people do it all the time. And if they were accurate, they would be iconic and all of us would know their names.

      • jarathen - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:04 PM

        It’s a series of tubes. Very technical.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        On and off bits.

      • thereisaparty - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        What is “computer data”? You seem to be confused by the tools you don’t understand.

      • kirkvanhouten - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        Does an executive sales manager need to look at computer stats to know which of his salespeople in which regions are doing well? ”

        …yes. Unless he’s really terrible at his job and bases his decisions on easily fallible hunches.

    • kirkvanhouten - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      First off, computers have nothing to do with it…it’s *statistics*. Statistics can be calculated without the aid of a computer at all, they just make it easier. Statistics is counting things which helps rid you of bias. We don’t elect a President based upon which on seems to be loved more…. we vote and count them! In baseball, we don’t choose the winner of the game based upon which one seemed to have won…we count things…runs, outs, strikes, wins. These are statistics! The money n your bank account, the value f your home…all of these are statistics and are pretty damned important.

      …and you know what statistics will show about the teams you cited? That they had a higher War, nice run differential, good Era and/or Ops… What you are actually complaining about are *predictions*…not statistics. And since we are most assuredly not trying to predict Javk Morris’s record next year, statistics are absolutely the main tool to do so

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM


        I love the WAR thing.

        Have you ever totaled up the WAR’s each team has and cross-checked to see if the the team that won the WS had the highest WAR in MLB, and that the team that lost in the WS had the highest WAR in their league?

        We elected a president rationally, based on statistics? How old are you? We count “things” in baseball? As Joe Morgan said thousands of times (and numerous people before him) the only stat that “counts” is W vs L. Period. Anyone can do a little research and contrisict the finding of all the other stats.

      • Reflex - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        Um, WAR does not attempt to predict who will win the world series. You are trying to use a screwdriver to pound in a nail. And then complaining that screwdrivers are useless since they are not effective on nails.

        Learn to use your tools.

  19. paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    During the 1980s, which are always used to prop up Morris’ HOF case. Morris was an average pitcher. 47 guys threw at least 1500 innings during the 80s; out of those 47 Morris ranked:

    20th in ERA
    33rd in FIP
    14th in K/9
    32nd in fewest BB/9
    1st in IP
    1st in wins
    3rd in losses

    Here is a list of guys that were clearly better pitchers than Morris, even if no one realized it because they didn’t lead the league in run support: Bob Welch, Rich Reuschel, Dave Stieb, Mario Soto, Dave Stieb, Jerry Reuss….the list goes on.

  20. tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM


    Usually I enjoy your stuff and that’s why I come here. But often you get totally out of hand. I understand the sensationalist thing in journalism (yellow) – it’s always been there. I understand how the previous generations reading the National Enquirer and leaving the old copies laying around set a framework for the Internet generation in both writing and reading. But come’on….

    Every time you make set an attack headline such as:

    ‘Your ignorant Jack Morris quote of the day’

    you then highlight one word, line or paragraph that the person wrote or said, and then write a multi-paragraph rebuttal where you make just as outlandish a statement, only taking the other side.

    As a reader this is kind of like me looking at how the political parties that run America have been doing for 40 years now – they’re so hooked into their ideologies and driving Americans to one end of the spectrum or the other that they have no room for balance. The result is driving an America into the ground with no real future for most people mow in their late teens, 20’s and 30’s. Unfortunately, it sets a tone for much of American life. I guess we all have to yell and be outrageous to be heard above the never-ending explosion of information – 95% of which has nothing to do with anything.

    • paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      You are right. He should have called it “Your willfully ignorant quote of the day related to Jack Morris and the HOF”. After all, it isn’t Jack Morris that was making the ignorant comment. It was someone choosing to remain ignorant about a topic they write about for a living….which is far far worse than the implied title.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM


        I guess that Maddens point was that many people that do not understand the game of baseball use statistics as a way or entering and influencing the field. No doubt in my mind that he’s correct.

        I played a lot of ball. The fielding stats are of particular interest to me. Computers are GIGO. It’s all about inputting the information. How objective is that? Exactly how does one compute a players range? Does someone input the information as to where a defensive player is standing when the ball’s hit, or do they enter where a player should be standing? Do they enter the pitch and it’s location – because that’s important. Pitching – not throwing – is all about making the batter hit the ball where the defense is playing him (Maddow was the master). In turn the defense is looking at the pitch and location on what to do if the ball’s hit to them. Can the computer stats explain that Choo often takes bad routes to balls in RF because he has trouble distinguishing between left handed batters hitting hard breaking pitches below the belt that sometimes cause the ball coming out to the field to suddenly shoot up and to the OF’s left as the ball gets past the infield and that Choo has problem reading the spin on the ball to determine if the ball will take off or not, so he cheats by staying righ and trying to get an angle on the ball? Does it show that a 3B has poor reactions and slow hands on hard hit balls that are withing 2 feet of him, but can move left an right well on balls not hit hard? Do they show that that a batter can’t execute a hit and run? A bunt? And on and on……

        I worked in the computer field most of my life, but started in accounting and other areas. Computers have always been the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. If someone says the computer said something, people bow down and don’t dispute it. And if they do, the conversation deteriorates into one similar to two economists looking at the same thing and arguing vociferously as to what the content really means.

        There is no end to this stuff. To me baseball is the best sport in the world. Something new every day. Players getting better and worse every day. It’s fun to watch, and it should be fun to play and follow. My biggest problem with the stat craze (which by the way, all teams have slowly gotten away from as they’ve rehired all their scouts realizing what Branch always said – “scouts are the lifeblood of an organization”…George repeated it when he took control of the Yankees) is that it’s NOT fun. Some fan reads a few stats and thinks they have a handle on things. Then a guy like you comes out and shows another set of stats. Now the fan has to choose which of the set of stats is correct. Me? I’d rather watch the games, and read all the scouting information that is made public.

        You know why I really come on here – it’s because it can be a ideal place for me to find information for posters in other cities that can share insights about the players they see daily. Instead i get a bunch of people quoting stats. That tells me nothing. Reminds me of my aunt in Chicago. She’d raised her kids by dropping them off at the El station to see the Cubs much of the summer. She would leave around the start of the 8th inning to get to station to meet the kids – the timing worked out well. So she would up watching thousands of Cub games while doing the ironing. The result – one year when she was in her 70’s I was visiting and the Cubs had a young 3B. So during the game I asked her if he was any good. The matter of fact comment I got was. “he has trouble hitting with 2 strikes on him and doesn’t go to his left well. THAT was a baseball fan.

        Best to ya.

      • kirkvanhouten - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        ” The matter of fact comment I got was. “he has trouble hitting with 2 strikes on him and doesn’t go to his left well. THAT was a baseball fan.”

        …so you got an anecdote by someone whose opinion you have no business trusting, that could easily be looked up for statistical confirmation and you’re using this example to prove hat you’re *not* a moron.

      • thereisaparty - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        Are “tashkalucky” posts satire? I sincerely hope so.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:35 PM


        At least 95% of the people on this site show they know nothing about baseball or the world every day.

        You’re one in a long line.

        For me, this is like reading People magazine to find out about the economy. Yes, it covers it at times, but it’s primarily personality based making people popular for a few years then turning on them.

      • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        tash: 95% of stats are made up on the spot.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM


        I know. I saw it in business.

        You give these kids Internet access, they spend 10 minutes cutting and pasting selected data to prove their pre-conceived points, and they make a post or send an email to the boss, waiting to argue….

      • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:23 PM


        Tash: Ordinarily, I try not to get all up the grill of people who haven’t been rude to me or to someone else. But I fear I will greatly offend you here. Anyhow, let’s go.

        You have not one iota of the element irony in you anywhere, eh? I’m quoting your “At least 95% of the people on this site show they know nothing about baseball or the world every day” back at you. I’m asserting YOU ARE MAKING THAT FIGURE UP. See? We do not agree on this issue. At all. In any way. I find it HIGHLY ironical that you would cite a statistic that you made up to support your point that computers (which appears to be the same thing as a statistic in your world) are no good.

        Furthermore, I find this evident belief you seem to have in your superiority of understanding of all things baseball a bit tiresome. Not only tiresome but pretty offensive to some of the people on here who DO NOT claim any such understanding but can at least define and use WAR appropriately and within context of a lot of other ways of measuring INCLUDING having watched said player perform many, many times.

        You repeatedly cite your business experience etc as the sine qua non for understanding statistics or computers or the world in general, I can’t tell which (not your fault, really: I give up reading your lengthy comments when you start with the “95%” stuff. I have a low tolerance for bullshit statistics.). Allow me to cite the research experience of my colleagues and, in a small way, myself. This experience encompasses the use of computers and advanced statistics to improve the care and outcomes for unwell and/or prematurely born infants. Without advanced statistics many, many, MANY of our patients would have died. Back in the days BEFORE the use of computers, statistical analysis, and the appropriate interaction between the two we had to guess, hope and pray A LOT MORE THAN WE DO NOW. What is beyond question is that due to appropriate use of analysis, computers and rigorous studies, the nursing and medical community have literally improved lives not only by eyeball test but by any statistical measure you care to name.

        Clearly, statistical analysis coupled with a computer’s ability to render results very quickly, can produce results and outcomes VERY different from BEFORE we used these tools. Certainly as far as human life goes, they can. Does it NOT follow that they are JUST as good for use in baseball?

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:51 PM


        I agree. No offense taken at all. I don’t apologize for looking at things from a business angle, it’s what I did in my life, and I’ve been friends with front office people that look at issues the same way.

        This site is for younger people whose perspective goes out 5-10 years. Beyond that they look at statistics and come to conclusions about players they never saw play. I have seldom seen anything on here talking about the history of the sport, or some of the theories that people that grew the sport had – such as my hero, Branch Rickey (who was using OPB in the 30’s).

        Much of what I see here is that certain things are not to be questioned. Like much of what I see in America, people want no history, they don’t want to be lectured to, the world started the day they came of age and so there! You would have had to grow up in a different environment to understand how shallow things have become in America.

        What you’ve helped me with is this – I had hoped to get into some good conversations about the sport. That is not possible here. Not meaning this as as a one-upmanship thing, but at times I’ve been close with major league managers, front office people and their families. They just shrug about the misperceptions that are built daily, and worked through it as a part of their jobs. They enjoyed the sport and made fortunes.

        To me this often is like coming into my a basement rec room where a bunch of kids are making fun of the adults. It’s normal to lash out, but the reality is that I should be in the rec room.

      • paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM

        tash, you ignorance is showing. The people that have “made up” more advanced baseball stats ALL know more about baseball than any beat writer. Knowing players and talking to people in the game has nothing to do with understanding the game. There isn’t a single person that has worked in the sabermetric community that doesn’t have a deep love for the game of baseball, they just want to understand it better.

        Your choice to enjoy baseball without better understanding than was possible 60 years ago is fine….just realize that you are the once choosing ignorance. Writing ignorant blanket statements based on horribly inaccurate assumptions to attack people that work in a field you don’t understand just highlights your own ignorance.

      • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        Frankly Tash, I find your arguments and comprehension of that which you speak not only condescending but also simplistic, based on faulty logic, lacking in understanding and clarity.

        Judging by who’s replied to you and what they’ve said, I’m not the only one who feels this way.

      • kirkvanhouten - Dec 24, 2012 at 6:24 PM

        You keep citing your business experience as though ignoring statistical data is the norm…which it absolutely is not! I work in, wait for it….Data Management. Meaning my employer pays me a fair sum of money for the sole purpose of providing statistical data. Virtually every business utilizes statistics to drive decisions. Do you just keep throwing money into a marketing plans, deciding if they work or not based on hunches? Because, if so…ou are a terrible business man! You likely waste a lot of money!

    • raysfan1 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Tash–you obviously did not bother yourself with actually reading Madden’s article that was the basis of Craig’s post. If you had, you would have known that Craig, in fact, quoted the entirety of Madden’s statement about Morris. You also have posted two extremely long and irrelevant rants about using computers and stats. If, as you say, you have used computers for 35 years and yet fail to understand their utility as one tool in analyzing virtually any sort of data, then you must be incompetent with them. (I have used them for about as long and find them an invaluable tool.). I have never once hear a Sabremtrics proponent say that computers obviate the need for old-fashioned scouting. I have frequently heard people accuse them of it, however, especially in terms of a player like Morris despite the most damning statistic cited, his less-than-stellar career 3.90 ERA, is something that predates Sabremetrics by decades.

      So,to sum up, you jumped to conclusions without doing any research yourself and then went on to rant about your fallacious conclusions. Talk about GIGO.

  21. philliesblow - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Ah, the ’80’s Tigers on WDIV. Wish I could go back in time to listen to one more George Kell & Al Kaline broadcast.

  22. anxovies - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    So from all of this discussion I guess WAR is like pornography, I can’t tell you what it is but I know it when I see it?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      No, the concept of WAR is simple, a combined stat for all aspects of the game. The calculations aren’t that difficult either. There are just many luddites who feel hr, rbi and ba are the holy trinity of stats and everything else is garbage.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:56 PM


        As I wrote earlier……

        Have you ever totaled up the WAR’s each team has and cross-checked to see if the the team that won the WS had the highest WAR in MLB, and that the team that lost in the WS had the highest WAR in their league?

        You people take information and accept it instead of validating that it holds true.

        I totaled up a bunch of WAR’s a year or so ago, AND IT DOESN’T BALANCE!

        Assets must equal Liabilities + Stockholders Equity, else you have you’re feet planed firmly in the air! (or you could be doing single-entry, accepted, government accounting, which is why countries around the world want less and less to do with the US and have begun trading goods in something other then US dollars).

      • seanmk - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        Tashkalucy why are you using WAR for the regular season to calculate playoffs? I can tell you the two teams in the world series last year based on wins and losses didn’t have the most wins. WAR at the team level can be used to figure out how a teams record but like any model its not perfect and doesn’t have predictive value using past results. I’ll play your game Herr the tigers had 88 wins in the regular season. Based on FWAR the tigers had 21.1 batting wins and 24.8 pitching wins. Equaling 45.9 adding the replacement level amount of wins which is like 3 I think, you get 88.9 wins. the giants had 29.9 hitting wins and 14.7 pitching wins plus 43 and that’s only 87.6 wins for. 94 win team. None of these numbers tell me ANYTHING about the playoffs or the world series so why arevyoi saying it doesn’t balance or validate it. Any misspellings I attribute to my phone

      • raysfan1 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        Nobody is claiming WAR is the be-all-end-all of anything. It is one tool, something the Sabremetrics-haters can’t/won’t understand. Obviously, the only “absolute” stat for making the playoffs is wins and losses (absolute in quotes because it is possible to have a division winner with fewer wins than a non playoff team in another division). All the other stats are simply trying to define an individual player’s contribution to his team’s success or lack thereof.

  23. 6kings - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I personally hated Jack Morris when he was with the Tigers, but he was the best pitcher in MLB for at least 5 years, and a true ace for most of his career. The 1991 WS cemented his legacy. I really don’t think WAR can capture a pitcher. You sabremetric neo-nazi’s are just flat wrong. The guy was a complete stud.

    Sabremetricians are like chiropractors, they have their place, but they always try to do more than they can. In the end, you invest a lot of time, and you still have a chronic pain in the neck.

    • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Ah, man. Why? You could read some of the other posters in the comments section, but I’ll sum up the best argument for why you are wrong:

      Its very simple: If you want to make a case for Morris & His Magic Moustache for the HOF, then USE the saberstats. With his WAR, he’d NOT be the worst pitcher in The HOF: hence he has a case.

      If you want to make the case for Morris as NOT DESERVING of the HOF then use the traditional stats. Few, if any, of Morris’s traditional stats have him as a HOF candidate. That’s what’s so deeply bent about Bill Madden’s column.

      Also, which of his 5 years was he the best pitcher in baseball? I can’t recall him EVER being the best. Clearly we are defining being “The Best” very differently.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM


        You’re sensational.

        You point out that I lose my sense of humor over the misuse of data – which is prevalent in society.

      • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        You’d know, tash. You misuse “95%” a lot. In fact, I dare say you are making that number up. If you are not please show your work that reflects that

        “At least 95% of the people on this site show they know nothing about baseball or the world every day”


        I guess we all have to yell and be outrageous to be heard above the never-ending explosion of information – 95% of which has nothing to do with anything

      • 6kings - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:15 PM

        Cur68…the best=no other pitcher you would rather have on your team that year. Put that in your metric and see what it spits out. ANYBODY that watched baseball in the 80’s knows that Morris was the best pitcher of the decade. There were some other pitchers that had better YEARS, but common man. Open your eyes and look at all the statistical trees! Carlton was good for part of the decade, Gooden was good for a very few years. Clemens started in 84, and soon exceeded Morris. But even then, Morris had just as much guts under pressure as Clemens or anyone else. Your reference to “traditional” measures go back to a time when “gasp” pitchers started on 3 days rest, and had more starts per year in their prime, etc. Give ONE pitcher that was overall better from 1980-1990. That’s right, there are NONE.

    • thereisaparty - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Why do people hate reason and logic? Is it because math and computers are scary?

      • paperlions - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM

        They hate reason and logic because when combined with information it interferes with their ability to continue to believe what they want to believe. Most people have no interest in wanting to know what is right….they just want their opinion to be right and will rail against anything that demonstrates they their opinion is clearly wrong. Tash is one such person. S/he obviously doesn’t desire understanding enough to put forth the effort to learn anything new….probably about anything.

    • cur68 - Dec 25, 2012 at 12:20 AM

      You might wish you hadn’t asked me to compare, because that one’s easy and it doesn’t go your way. So, fine then. Lets compare the elite pitchers from the ’80s using non-saber stats. I’ve culled WHIP and ERA+ and whole lot of other stuff from this list since I think the anti-saber crowd will just complain. Whatever. So, unadjusted for ball park and without Walks + Hits/Innings Pitched & (Dog Help Me) WAR (because that frightens people) here are 10 guys who pitched in the ’80s (minimum 175 starts: over half the decade’s worth of starts) I’d take over Morris, who appears last.

      Dwight Gooden – ERA: 2.64 : 
1x Cy Young 

      Roger Clemens – ERA: 3.06 : 2x Cy Young : 
1x MVP

      Orel Hershiser – 
ERA: 2.69 
: 1x Cy Young Winner

      Nolan Ryan – ERA: 3.14 

      Fernando Valenzuela – ERA: 3.19 
: 1x Cy Young

      Bret Saberhagen 
- ERA: 3.23 : 
2x Cy Young Winner

      Dave Stieb – ERA: 3.32 

      Bob Welch – ERA: 3.21 

      Bert Blyleven – ERA: 3.64 

      Mike Scott – ERA: 3.42 
: 1x Cy Young Winner

      Jack Morris : ERA: 3.66 

      Even using basic, traditional ERA, Jack Morris is NOT the best pitcher of the group. At no time was he judged so as evidenced by the total lack of a Cy Young or MVP. Once we throw Sabermetrics into this…why would ANYONE want Morris to start a game with the likes of Doc Gooden et al ahead of him?

  24. schlom - Dec 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Does anyone know when Madden started voting for Jack Morris? Unless he has been voting for him since he first appeared on the ballot in 2000 his statement is total bs.

  25. cackalackyank - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    All I can say is, if Morris gets in, Tommy John should sue someone. 288 wins and a 3.34 ERA to Morris’ 254 and 3.90. (Could not find WAR for John). Let’s also keep in mind who the frequently career saving elbow surgery is named after. Hint: not Jack Morris.

    • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      TJ: career fWar 78.7
      JM: career fWar 56.9

      TJ is LOCK for the HOF, I tell you!

      • raysfan1 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        Actually, I kind of hope the Vets Committee does put Tommy John in eventually.

      • cur68 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        Looking over his stats (traditional and saber) I’d have to agree: he’s got a case. A better one than Morris, at any rate.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 24, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      cur68- thanks for the stat, where did you find it? And thats exactly my point, Tommy John is waiting for the Veterans committee, and some people are talking like Morris should get in now.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:13 PM


      • cur68 - Dec 25, 2012 at 3:09 AM

        What raysfan said: Fangraphs. The “f” in “fWAR” denotes Fangraphs computation using FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). If it was Baseballref, it’ll be “rWAR” or sometimes “bWAR”. b-ref takes a pitcher’s run allowed and adjusts it for their opponents, team defense, park, and role.

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