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Historical precedent suggests Jack Morris will finally get into the Hall of Fame

Nov 30, 2013, 6:55 PM EST

Jack Morris Blue Jays

Tangotiger looked at past Hall of Fame results and concluded that it seems likely, based on historical precedent, that Jack Morris will, at some point make it into Cooperstown whether by the Baseball Writers Association of America, or by the Veterans Committee. Morris first appeared on the ballot in 2000, receiving 22.2 percent of the vote. Since then, his share was 19.6, 20.6, 22.8, 26.3, 33.3, 41.2, 37.1, 42.9, 44.0, 52.3, 53.5, 66.7, and 67.7 last year.

Tango writes:

The player with the highest share of ballots to not (eventually) make the Hall of Fame was Gil Hodges, at 63% of votes at his peak. Jack Morris received 68% last year. He’d be the new leader. But he won’t be for long, because the Veteran’s Committee will vote him in eventually.

After Hodges (*), second place is Tony Oliva at 47%. Do you know what this means? It means it’s completely ridiculous to make a player need 75% of the votes. As soon as you hit 50, you will eventually make it. Why make the player wait and wait and wait? To be sure? Well, other than Gil Hodges, everyone made it in!

Morris finished his career with a 3.90 ERA in 3,824 innings over 18 seasons. If inducted, he would become the new leader in career ERA among Hall of Fame pitchers, exceeding Red Ruffin’s 3.80. Additionally, the average Hall of Famer compiled 69.0 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. Morris ended his career at 43.8, which would rank 53rd of 71 enshrined hurlers, putting him between Chief Bender and Lefty Gomez. The case for Morris, though, has rarely relied on stats. Rather, supporters have focused on how much hitters feared him and how he was considered the best pitcher of his era. However, he received Cy Young votes in seven of 18 seasons and never finished higher than third.

  1. Old Gator - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Murphy’s Law says he won’t.

  2. tfbuckfutter - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    I don’t think it’d make him the career “leader” in ERA.

    Career Last-Placer I guess?

  3. alexo0 - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Forget the Deadspin vote. To really expose how messed up the voting process is, I kind of hope no one gets in this year. Then watch the outraged media wage war on the defensive media. Alas, probably too good to be true.

    • mmeyer3387 - Nov 30, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      The HOF voting process is very flawed. Mainly because many of the votes for a player to get in need to come from sports writers that have never played and bring their biases and politics as baggage. If a player has clearly been the best at his position for a decade or more and has provided great feats during playoff and the World Series games. Logic bags answers to this question; who else from Morris’s era would you rather have the ball for game seven? Let’s leave outside influences out of the vote; he was clearly a winner and the best big game pitcher of his era.

  4. nsstlfan - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Alexo0 Are you SERIOUS the great HOF ballot and no one get in. That is crazy talk.

  5. sabatimus - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Wow, at this rate, I’LL make the HOF.

  6. sincitybonobo - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Maddux, Mussina, and Glavine being eligible for the first time isn’t helping Morris at all. Unfortunately for Morris, these unique dynamics may be enough to send him to the Vets Committee.

    The established tipping point will be severely tested.

    • wpjohnson - Dec 1, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      Maybe unfortunate for Morris but fortunate for the Hall. Morris is not a Hall of Famer.

  7. jerrahsucks - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Jack Morris was a average pitcher at best, Threw a couple of big time games and got lucky. He belongs in the Hall of Fame as much as Steve Avery, who also won a couple of big games.

  8. disgracedfury - Nov 30, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Jack Morris was the best pitcher of his era,.Who would you take in that era?Curt Schilling has really good stats but played in an era where he wasn’t even a top ten pitcher and was never spoken about or feared in the easy AL until 2001 when he pitched great in the post season.

    Morris pitched in a hitters park and in the AL unlike Schilling,Maddux,Glavine and Smoltz who ad it easy.Sorry but I go with what guys who are the best in there era.

    • Reflex - Nov 30, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      There are lots of pitchers who were better than Morris. Hell, after adjusting for era and ballparks, Mark Burhle has had a better career than Morris had. Is Burhle a HOFer?

      • mmeyer3387 - Nov 30, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        The HOF voting process is very flawed. Mainly because many of the votes for a player to get in need to come from sports writers that have never played and bring their biases and politics as baggage. If a player has clearly been the best at his position for a decade or more and has provided great feats during playoff and the World Series games. Logic bags answers to this question; who else from Morris’s era would you rather have the ball for game seven? Let’s leave outside influences out of the vote; he was clearly a winner and the best big game pitcher of his era.

      • mmeyer3387 - Nov 30, 2013 at 10:45 PM

        Are you for real Reflex, Morris was head and shoulders above Buehrle. Additionally, Burhle
        only won over 16 games twice in his career. A 1980’s Morris was clearly better than a late 90’s Buehrle.

      • Reflex - Nov 30, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        WAR –

        Buerhle: 54.6
        Morris: 43.8

        ERA –

        Buerhle: 3.84
        Morris: 3.90

        ERA+ – (ERA adjusted for ballparks)

        Buerhle: 117
        Morris: 105

        BB/9 –

        Buerhle: 2.0
        Morris: 3.3

        K/9 –

        Buerhle: 5.2
        Morris: 5.8

        Seasons –

        Buerhle: 14
        Morris: 18

        Now Morris had a higher K rate, but it was more than balanced out by a much worse walk rate. Wins do not really matter as a measure of an individual starting pitcher, they are a function of a team’s ability to score runs and a defense’s ability to prevent runs more than they are of a given pitchers talent. In other words, Morris played on better teams than Buerhle did, and as such was in a better position to pick up the W.

        Another item to consider is that Buerhle is a phenomenal defender, a rarity at the position. Morris has no such reputation.

        Anyways, yes, Buerhle has had the better career overall, done it in fewer seasons, and added more value to his teams. In fact its not even really close. Given a choice between the two, you’d be an idiot to select Morris. And while people go on about Morris as a ‘big game’ pitcher, I’d point out that he was good in 84 and great in the WS in 91(but only mediocre in the ALCS), he was also terrible in 87 and 92. His overall postseason ERA is a pedestrian 3.80, and for every ‘big game’ he tossed he also blew one.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 1, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        You’re forgetting one thing, Reflex.

        Buehrle sucked at pitching to the score.

        Morris’ PTTS rates are unprecedented.

    • largebill - Nov 30, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      Wrong. He was not close to best of his era. Learn to spell. Also, learn to do some minor research before asserting things as facts which are not.

  9. bigharold - Nov 30, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    People continue to beat the drum about Morris but one could argue that the stats for Andy Pettitte, David Cone, Curt Schilling Mike Mussina and even Jimmy Key have better stats than Morris.

    Morris was durable, . pitched a bunch of innings. And, he had a couple of really good years but HoF? I’m not so sure.

    • Reflex - Dec 1, 2013 at 1:52 AM

      Virtually everyone you mentioned there is better than Morris. And two of them, Schilling and Mussina, probably should be HOFers. Cone and Pettitte fall just short for me.

      • wpjohnson - Dec 1, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        Morris is not a Hall of Famer. Why add another merely good pitcher? It is time quit watering down the Hall.

  10. largebill - Dec 1, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Historical precedent is meaningless when balanced out by the overwhelming glut of much better candidates on this years ballot. Particularly damning for Morris’ case is there being several much better starting pitchers on the ballot. His percentage of the vote would go down precipitously if every voter diligently reviewed the candidates and voted honestly for the ten best players.

  11. doubleogator - Dec 1, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    The hall of fame is becoming watered down each year. Players elected should have been exceptional players, not just slightly better than average, or those who had long careers where over a long period of time stacked up big numbers.

  12. kountryking - Dec 1, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I’m 77 and refuse to die until the great Gil Hodges is in the Baseball Hall of Fame!!! Fix the voting so the deserving are elected and the also-rans stay out.

    • doubleogator - Dec 1, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Hodges deserves it…

    • largebill - Dec 2, 2013 at 8:00 AM

      I can see the arguments for Hodges. However, it is hard to reconcile being a guy in favor of a big very inclusive Hall of Fame with your next sentence that says keep the also-rans out implying a desire for a small very exclusive Hall of Fame. Hodges is the epitome of an also-ran or borderline candidate.

  13. wpjohnson - Dec 1, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Gil Hodges deserves to be in the Hall. Morris does not.

  14. 6kings - Dec 1, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Morris was the best pitcher of his era. The last two years of his career blew up his era some. If you look at his career, the only pitcher to win more than 1 CYA was Steve Carlton, who was at the end of his effective career by that time. So all the other CYA winners beat Morris 1-0…and two of those pitchers were CLOSERS…aka stylish against the grain picks for the time. Furthermore, if you look at the starters that did win the CYA, you will notice they mostly enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame…Doc Gooden, Orel Hershiser (long career, one great season), Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Scott, John Denny, Doug Drabek, Steve Bedrosian, Mark Davis…seriously, these are the guys that won CYA’s when Morris was pitching in his prime.

    He pitched in the old Tiger Stadium against the AL East…need I say more about his ERA?

    • 6kings - Dec 1, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      He also pitched one of the greatest games in history.

      • Reflex - Dec 2, 2013 at 12:15 AM

        Do you support Jimmy Key for the hall? As pointed out above, he had a better overall career than Morris…..

      • largebill - Dec 2, 2013 at 8:03 AM

        Reflex, Not just Jimmy Key, but there are several similar or better pitchers who the Morris supporters would have to welcome into the Hall of Fame. Dave Steib, Denny Martinez, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, etc, etc, etc.

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