Jack Morris Misses Hall Of Fame…..Again
The ace of aces back in his playing day, Jack Morris, was not elected to Cooperstown for the 15th time in eligibility. He is no longer eligible for the Hall of Fame via the current voting system where select writers from across the United States and Canada vote on the list of eligible players. To be enshrined into the Hall of Fame candidates need a minimum of 75% of the votes from all the voters to be elected. Jack Morris finished his 15th ballot with 61.5% of the vote. Morris was up against some stiff competition this year which saw Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux voted to the Hall along with Frank Thomas. Morris does have another shot at making it to the Hall, however, he will need to wait until 2016 via the Veterans Committee. Tough sledding for Jack Morris, but lets take a deeper look into some of his career accomplishments and statistics which may reveal why voters have a tough time voting Morris into Cooperstown compared to other pitchers that he was up against.
Jack Morris is a decorated pitcher and I am not going to take away from any of his accomplishments, but a few statistics which jump out to me will be examined against Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. Morris has a career W-L record of 254-186 across 3824 innings pitched. The highest single season innings total reached by Morris was a whopping 293.2 innings. However, back in the early stages of his career, innings pitched were not monitored as heavily as they are today. Tom Glavine had a career W-L record of 305-203 over 4413.1 innings and Greg Maddux was 355-227 over 5008.1 innings. Stats as basic, but often classified as useless by hardcore advanced statistics supporters, as wins favor Glavine and Maddux over Morris.
The next stat is ERA. Morris owns a career 3.90 ERA compared to Glavine’s 3.54 and Maddux’s 3.16. Morris was prone to give up runs, but the saving grace which allowed for Morris to be able to pitch deep into ball games was the fact that his career HR per 9 innings pitched is 0.92; he kept the ball in the yard. While that is a good number, Glavine (0.73), and Maddux (0.63) were even better than Morris at keeping the ball in the yard.
Some more advanced stats reveal that Morris was not exactly a strikeout pitcher either. Morris struckout 5.83 per nine innings. Which while good, doesn’t exactly blow you away. He did best Glavine and Maddux in that statistic. Morris also may have gotten lucky as his BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) was .269, which was lower than Glavine and Maddux. All three of these men were around the same when it came to leaving runners on base as well. Morris was also more prone to walking hitters compared to Glavine and Maddux.
Some of Jack Morris’ career accolades include being a five time all-star, four time World Series champion, World Series MVP in 1991 with the Minnesota Twins, and a no hitter in 1984.
Tom Glavine’s career accolades include being a ten time all-star, World Series champion, two time NL Cy Young award winner, and a World Series MVP in 1995.
Greg Maddux’s career accolades include being an eight time all star, World Series champion, eighteen time Gold Glove award winner, four time NL Cy Young award winner, four time NL ERA leader, and three time NL Win leader.
Unfortunately, this time around for Jack Morris, he faced some of the best pitchers of all time. Personally, I think another thing Glavine and Maddux had going for them against Morris was the fact that Glavine and Maddux pitched through the heavy steroid ERA and in newer, smaller, ball parks. They just dominated some of the majors best ever power hitters like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa. Morris pitched in a “lighter” ERA for power hitters. Morris was an extremely good pitcher and an Ace throughout his career, but, while he was good, he was not really over the top good. Clearly the voters saw this as well because he was not elected in all fifteen of his eligible years.
In all fifteen years of Jack Morris’ eligibility the following pitchers were voted into the Hall of Fame: Bert Blyleven, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Bruce Sutter, and Dennis Eckersley. Morris always to be the victim of tough competition and nobody that the writers could concretely say that Jack Morris was better than.