The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been released to the Baseball Writers of America Association, and as expected, it has created an ample amount of debate among those voting and those not. That was not difficult to imagine as this is the first true test of voter fortitude in regards to steroid era players, with the ballot featuring the likes of first time nominees Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza.
But outside of the debate regarding the eligibility of those players, the ballot is also significant for Toronto Blue Jays fans, as there are four former Jays that are appearing on the ballot this year. In this series, I will examine the case that each of these players have for their induction into the Hall of Fame and then make a determination if they truly belong enshrined in Cooperstown.
Jack Morris – Right Handed Pitcher
Years on Ballot: 14
Years with Blue Jays: 2 (1992-1993)
Jack Morris is one of the elder statesman on the Hall of Fame ballot, second only to Dale Murphy(15) in terms of years appearing on the ballot. Morris narrowly missed joining the 2012 class, appearing on 66.7% of the vote, which was second only to Barry Larkin. He has two more chances at election on the BBWAA ballot before he goes before the veteran’s committee. 75% is required for admittance. 2013 could go one of two ways for Morris:
1.) Voter blow-back over suspected or proven steroid activity involving Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, and Piazza could swing the vote favorably in Morris’s direction. Of course, this could swing votes away from Morris to another first-time candidate, Craig Biggio, whose character is not being contested.
2.) Voters could soften their stance on steroid activity and ignore the standards that have been in place involving candidate character, instead splitting the vote which could result in no single candidate getting the necessary vote.
Case for election:
254 Career Wins
56.9 Cumulative fWAR
175 Complete Games
5 All-Star Games
4 World Series Championships
Morris registered 3 seasons with 20 or more victories, but his regular season career was filled with the stuff that makes Bert Blyleven look like a certifiable ace. However, his postseason pedigree is what continues to drive Hall of Fame chances, and it is hard to argue with the results. Four World Series Championships (1984, 1991, 1992 and 1993), including the first two in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays. During the postseason, Morris was the go-to guy on the mound, posting a 7-4 record with a 3.80 ERA and 5 complete games in 13 appearances.
Case Against Election:
186 Career Losses
3.90 Career ERA
3.94 Career FIP
Morris had plenty of good seasons, but he also had 11 seasons with double-digit losses, despite playing for some of the better teams of his generation. He also posted a mediocre 5.8 SO/9 ratio while surrendering 389 home runs over his 18-year career. For all of the doubts against the aforementioned Blyleven, they are multiplied for Morris.
Jack Morris was a hell of a pitcher during his time, but is he a Hall of Famer or does he simply belong in the Hall of Very Good? He may very well see election in 2013, but that does not necessarily make him a Hall of Famer. It simply makes him a beneficiary of another’s mistrust.
Jack Morris can punch his ticket to Cooperstown in 2013.