This is the 15th and final Hall of Fame ballot for Jack Morris. In many ways, it may be his toughest chance to get in yet.
The Hall of Fame would cap off a career for the pitcher turned commentator who was part of four World Series teams—the 1984 Tigers, the 1991 Twins, and the back-to-back winning Blue Jays of 1992 and 1993.
There are certain voters who may choose to never vote players with PED links, and a good majority will, at the very least, not want to see them get in on their first ballot. This showed with last year’s numbers, as no one received the required 75 percent. Jack Morris received 67.7 percent last year, up just over one percent from the previous ballot. He ended up finishing second only to first-timer Craig Biggio.
In Morris’ favour is that it is his last time on the ballot. He will get a few extra votes thrown his way for this very reason. Last year Dale Murphy, in his final chance, got a boost of 4.1 percent, but was way below the requirement. Morris can expect a similar boost, but will it be enough?
While many voters will again refuse votes for those with PED links, I expect some to be more lenient the second time around. There is likely a good number of voters who felt that there should be punitive measures against PED users, and would now be willing to vote those same players in on their second time through.
In addition to this, there is a strong group of new names for candidacy this year. Greg Maddux won four straight NL Cy Young awards, and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t top the list and get in on his first chance. Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas should also receive a good number of votes. Some have also compared Mike Mussina to a first-year version of Morris.
Since certain voters self-limit themselves to a specific number well below the allotted 10, they may not have room to add Morris to their list.
Is Morris deserving? His career-ERA of 3.90 would be the highest of any inducted player. This number is skewed a bit by his last two seasons where the ERA climbed—although one of those seasons is the ’93 championship season with the Jays. Since his career was so lengthy (at 18 seasons) it makes his numbers high in a lot of categories. He’s high in wins, but also high in losses; he’s high in complete games, but also high in wild-pitches.
But some things go beyond the numbers, and Morris being such a big part of four championships on three different teams, is hard to overlook.
Do you think Jack Morris deserves to be in the Hall of Fame?