From now until the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2010 is announced, The Hall is going to be breaking down each candidate. Some write ups will be lengthy...some will be the opposite. Some will be brand new pieces...some will be re-hashes of previous pieces.
When someone brings up Jack Morris…people point to what some call (with all do respect to Don Larsen and Curt Schilling), one of the most memorable performances ever in the World Series.
It was his 1991 post season performance with the Twins (four victories scattered across five games), coupled with his 1984 and 1992 appearances, that make most people stand up and take notice of the mustachioed hurler.
But all those successes aside, it was in the 80s where Morris made a name for himself…not just in October. And 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.
While not the sole reason to induct someone, Morris had the consistency and durability needed to become the epitome of a pitching Iron Horse. Matter of fact, this innings hog (he had eleven seasons of more than 235 innings pitched) also holds 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. In the 80s alone…Morris won a decade best 162 games, compiled a .577 winning percentage 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, Morris was the ace of 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. And he threw a no hitter.
Instead of repeating myself…let’s look at these numbers from 1979-1992.
ERA (2,200 IP min.)
Jack Morris...3.71 (8th)
I think the main reason he gets overlooked is his career ERA of 3.90. He never led the league (much less came close to it) and make no bones about it...he gave up a ton 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…but it will take a while.
The Veterans Committee does like to look at players that got close (Morris appeared on a best 44% of the ballots last year) but not close enough. And some day, hopefully, the 80s won’t be as overlooked as they have been in the past.