It’s alright, Cubs fans…according to your field general, staff ace Carlos Zambrano will take the bump Sunday against the Diamondbacks.
Wait. Wha…the Cubs lost and WON’T be playing Sunday?!?
Let’s break down Pinella’s decision…just in case you thought it was a good one (it wasn’t). Zambrano was pulled after six innings of four hit ball and in the midst of a 1-1 ballgame. His 85 pitches thrown and 22 batters faced were the SECOND SHORTEST of the season. On July 18, Zambrano threw 80 pitches and faced 19 batters. Of course, the Cubs won that one 12-1.
In case you think 85 pitches is a lot for “Z”…think again. In his 34 regular season starts, he averaged 108 pitches per outing (a mere 23 MORE than what he went for in Game One) and threw more than 120 five times! If Zambrano is such a gamer and Pinella such a great manager, Carlos Marmol is not out there in the seventh inning Wednesday night…Carlos Zambrano is.
If Tom Kelly can send an octogenarian out there in the tenth inning of Game Seven of the 1991 World Series…the Cubs can trot out 26 year-old Zambrano.
Lou Pinella should be drawn and quartered.
Of course I was referring to one of the most memorable performances EVER in the World Series (with all do respect to Don Larsen and Curt Schilling)…that of one JOHN SCOTT MORRIS on October 27, 1991.
By comparison to Zambrano’s outing, Morris ended up throwing 126 pitches that game…19 over his 1991 season average. Matter of fact, here’s a fun fact…Morris won FOUR games (both of his ALCS starts and two of his three World Series starts) in the post season that year for the Twins making him their all-time post season wins leader. The next season he went on to lead the Blue Jays to glory.
I guess there was nothing more for him to accomplish in his ONE season back home in St. Paul.
Morris’ successes in the early 90s aside…it was in the 80s where Jack made a name for himself. It’s safe to say that if the Hall of Fame decides to start looking at pitchers who made their bread and butter throughout the 80s…Morris would be at the top of the list.
Let’s break down the facts.
Consistency and durability, while not THE reason to induct someone, Jack was the epitome of a pitching Iron Horse. Matter of fact, this innings hog (he had eleven seasons of more than 235 innings pitched) hold the record for most consecutive opening day starts…14.
And if you thought Cal Ripken’s streak was impressive (it was), Morris went nearly 500 starts without missing his turn in the rotation. He only appeared on the disabled list twice.
Again, not a reason to bronze his head…but not too shabby either.
On to more conventional stats, Morris notched a career 254-186 record…good for a .577 winning percentage. For the record, 254 wins is more than Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal and Whitey Ford among plenty of others. Hell, in the 80s alone…Morris went 162-119 (again, a .577 winning percentage and the most victories in the 80s) and exhibited his amazing consistency by finishing in the top ten of the Cy Young Award voting in half of the decade’s contests. He finished in the top five in 1991 and 1992 as well.
As alluded to earlier, Jack was the ACE three World Series teams (he was injured and couldn’t play in 1993 or else there’d be a fourth)…the Tigers, Twins and Blue Jays. All that AND he threw a no hitter.
Instead of repeating myself…suck on these numbers from 1979-1992.
ERA(2,200 IP min.)
Jack Morris...3.71 (8th)
I think the main reason Jack gets overlooked is his career ERA of 3.90. He never led the league (much less came close to it) and made no bones about the fact that he gave up a shitload of runs. HOWEVER, his teams produced behind him and regardless of his ERA…he virtually always managed to stay BELOW the league average.
Will Jack get into the Hall? Perhaps.
Does he DESERVE to? Absolutely.
The Veterans Committee DOES like to look at players that got close (Morris appeared on a best 41.2% of the ballots in 2006) but not close enough. And some day…the 80s won’t be as overlooked as they have been in the past.
I’m pretty sure that Jack Morris would still be pitching SOMEWHERE if not for the two reasons in my mind. One, he believes that people are useless once they turned 40 and vowed never to show his grizzled mug in public after reaching such an age and two…he last signed with the Reds not knowing about the anti-facial hair policy. That alone is enough to make ANY man (much less Jack Effing Morris) walk away from the game.