Blog Entry

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

Posted on: January 9, 2012 4:33 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 8:46 pm
One of the best things about this year's Hall of Fame result beyond the election of terrific talent and better person Barry Larkin is that ace righthander Jack Morris, author of a great decade, unbelievable game and superb career, took a substantial leap from 53 percent of the vote all the way up to 67 percent, leaving him close to the cusp of the 75 percent needed for election.

Only one player has ever reached so much as 50 percent and still never gotten into the Hall of Fame (Gil Hodges, who got as high as 63 percent), so it looks good for Morris. But his ultimate election remains no certainty, as he only has two years remaining on the ballot, and a group of huge names joining it the next two years, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio and Curt Schilling next year, and Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine the year after that.

Morris' detractors generally point to one unextraordinary number, and while it's an important number, it should not define his career. His lifetime ERA of 3.90 would be the highest of any pitcher in the Hall of Fame, and his ERA plus of 105 is barely above average. But Morris pitched deep into his games and deep into his middle age, trampling his lifetime ERA. Morris is known by teammates to have pitched to the score, which enabled him to win more games than anyone else in the '80s and 254 games overall. (The leading winners in the seven preceding decades are all in the Hall.) In seven seasons, he received Cy Young votes. So he had plenty of great years.

Morris was a bulldog who refused to leave games. He completed 175 of them, and that doesn't even count Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, in which he turned in one of the greatest pitching performances in baseball history to help his hometown Twins beat the Braves 1-0 and win the Series. Morris was considered a great pitcher during his career, not someone who was defined by less meaningful games that dragged his ERA up beyond a representative number.

Numbers shouldn't be the be all and end all of Hall of Fame arguments. But here's an interesting one, courtesy of Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated. Thirteen pitchers since 1901 have had at least 10 seasons with both 15 wins and 235 innings, and the other 12 are in Cooperstown. Here's the list: Warren Spahn 16, Grover Alexander and Walter Johnson 15, Gaylord Perry, Eddie Plank and Christy Mathewson 13, Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver 12, Morris 11 and Bert Blyleven, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro and Lefty Grove 10.

Beyond that, Morris was tha ace of three World Series winners, and started Game 1 of six postseason series. He also started 14 Opening Days, joining obvious Hall of Famers Carlton, Randy Johnson, Walter Johnson, Young and Seaver as the vaunted sextet to accomplish that feat. His detractors will claim he was aided by circumstance or luck. But Morris made his own luck. The guys who played with him understand his greatness, even if the back of his baseball card doesn't quite do him justice.


Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 5:01 pm

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

Thanks guys.  I have read all of the comments.  Many an ESPN as well. Good stuff.   Going into this week - being  a casual bb fan - I was uncertain as to JM's merits as to HOF induction.   I suppose I was a yes lean.   After reading so much, I am now a strong no lean.  The portrait painted my many seems to be of a pitcher was good mostly, at times great, but who struggled with control, gave up a good number of runs, and who played on good Tiger and Jays team, therefore giving him an opportunity to pitch in World Series play.  Many of the comments to the effect of Sparky knew him more closely than any other pitcher he coaches seem awfully subjective, and also not very relevent to the debate.  The trying to exclude the end of his career and/or the end of games seems ridiculous to me.  Couldnt you do that for almost ANY pitcher???    I sorry, runs given up in the 7th and 8th inning still count on your ERA.  Alas, I am open minded, and could still be convinced he should be in, given some better arugments.

As for Trammel, I have long been a yes-lean, and will probably continue to be so. 

Since: Dec 12, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:14 pm

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

You really need to stop talking Jim, your ignorance is shining more and more. Check the stats yanky, Tram bested Larkin in quite a few categories and played the game the way it was meant to be played. With Fundamentals! I guess the first thing you lose at 63 is your mind...well, hopefully for your sake!

Since: Dec 12, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:10 pm

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

Thank you Jack for confirming what I said about Tram. I think Jim96021 was more concerned with guessing my age then actually looking at the facts. Tram played good sound fundamental baseball, and he had one heck of career (HOF some would say). He also kept his personal life very clean, almost unheard of in todays standard. So thanks again Jack, and Jim, keep living in your New York box with blinders on and leave the commentary to true fans of the game.

Since: Jul 31, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:05 pm

Morris a HOFer? Come on..... Posada........Geez

Seriously Jack Morris was a good pitcher but not HOF material. Why is it everyone thinks he should be in the Hall? That 3.90 career ERA means something dont you think. And yes he played on some good teams so Im sure the run support inflated his win totals. I didnt agree on Blyleven last year either and now their talking up Jorge Posada. Seriously? He was an above average catcher at best. The HOF should be reserved for the elite of the game not the above average guys.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:34 pm

Mediocrity in Pitching and Sportswriting

"Morris was considered a great pitcher during his career, not someone who was defined by less meaningful games that dragged his ERA up beyond a representative number." - Heyman

Read the latest smackdown of such anectdotal idiocy at

rticle.php?articleid=15820. In the Cy Young voting for the eighties, when Morris "won more games than anyone else," the following non-HoF pitchers came out ahead of Morris in the voting for the collective years: Saberhagen, Sutcliffe, Gooden, Quisenberry, Mike Scott, Dave Stewart, John Denny, Mark Davis, Lamar Hoyt, Steve Stone, Vukovich, Mike Norris, Willie Hernandez, Steve McCatty, plus John Tudor tied w/ Morris, plus Frank Viola a much better pitcher than Morris on some of those teams Helpless Heyman claims JM was the "ace." Plus 5 HoF (or likely) pitchers.  And look how MUCH better writers of the time considered these players than Jack Morris. 

Hopeless Heyman tweeted this yesterday: "i love the folks who never saw jack morris pitch who are certain he isnt hall of famer bec their stat guru said so"

Hey, I JUST LOVE GUYS LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE "SPORTSWRITERS" WHO TELL US WHAT TO THINK EVEN THOUGH THEY CAN'T DO BASIC HIGH SCHOOL MATH.  How is it that companies continue to feed us such drivel in this day and age when there are thousands of better-qualified guys out there? The MLB teams have all learned to hire now through the sabermetric community. Why are we stuck w/ dolts for baseball writers?

JM started a lot of Opening Days? I want Kevin Appier in the HoF.  He was a competitor who only cared about the W?  I want Caesar Cedeno and Jose Cruz and Joe Sambito in, not to mention Quis and JR Richard.  I liked these guys, and I watched them play many games. 

If we let mediocre players like Morris into the Hall, we need to add another 300 or so since 1960 (when I've been watching games) and let some committee get us another 500 from the time preceding. 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:18 pm

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

Article says numbers "shouldn't be the be all and end all...," but for the Hall that's all we have. You can't base it on anything else.
Actually, you can, and you're supposed to.  The Hall puts out several areas for voters to consider beyond the stats.  And anyone looking at the Hall can see that it's not always based on stats.  Reputation around the league and with the writers (right or wrong) absolutely has had a significant influence on the voting.

The fact that Ozzie Smith is in the Hall and Omar Vizquel will probably not be is testament to that.  I'm not saying Ozzie shouldn't be, but he's there as much for Sportscenter highlights and memorable individual plays as he is for his stats.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:07 pm

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

Pete Rose was a hall of famer before gambling and you don't hear the writers making the same argument for him!
Actually, you hear this all the time.  However, Rose is not ELIGIBLE for the Hall of Fame, so writers don't have the option.  Whatever your argument against PED users is, it has nothing to do with Rose whatsoever. 

BTW, impressive post.  Not a single period used.  Did you know the overuse of exclamation points "consistently devalues" your statements?

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:02 pm

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

Morris was one of my favorite players, but he doesn't belong in the hall of fame.  He was very good for a long time and had some memorable outings.  He was hard-nosed, determined, and a credit to the game.  But he wasn't a dominant force worthy of the Hall. 

Since: Jan 9, 2012
Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:53 am

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

First, it sounds like poor managing to take out a pitcher who is all but unhittable on a given night, especially a guy like Jack Morris, who's major claim to fame is durability.  Second, your entire argument about Morris is completely arbitrary.  Is he a hall of famer because he never complained about how the manager handled him?  Pitchers have to take one for the team all the time and pitch when they don't have their best stuff so they can preserve the bullpen.  Is he a hall of famer because he was intense and used to yell at the players behind him?    I'm a big Cardinals fan and honestly could insert Chris Carpenter's name into everything you said about Morris and it would all hold true, especially the sweat part.  Does that make Carp a hall of famer?  

It's fine that Morris was your favorite player, a fierce competitor, and a joy to watch, but that doesn't mean he's a hall of famer.  I just get tired of people trying to explain why he has an ERA of nearly 4, as though he had this magic ability to decide when he was and was not going to give up runs.  The only answer is that on average he gave up nearly 4 runs every 9 innings he pitched.  Luckily for him, the majority of the time, his team scored more than 4 runs.  

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:32 am

Larkin deserves it; a hope Morris gets call next

Redsfan1507: Maddux is arguably one of the 10 best pitchers in the history of the game, so judging pitchers by the standard he set would mean you could put the HOF in an outhouse.

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