The 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Class will be announced on Wednesday. Have you heard? If you’re lucky you’ve avoided most of the Hall of Fame chatter, as it’s quickly become the most tedious argument in all of sports which is saying something in the era of “hot takes” and “embracing debate.”
This year’s most heated topic, among others, is the Hall of Fame worthiness of Jack Morris. It’s degenerated down into another old school writers vs. new school writers debate — fun! In short, some of the voters back Morris’ candidacy since he, “looks like a Hall of Famer.” Morris won the most games of any starting pitcher in the 1980s, had some success in high-profile postseason games — 10 innings for the Twins in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series! — and pitched 175 complete games of his 527 games started. Also: he sported a great mustache.
Detractors point to his pedestrian lifetime 3.90 ERA (which would be the highest in Cooperstown if enshrined) and say Morris isn’t a Hall of Famer, even if he was a tough competitor and a bulldog on the mound. Statistically, Morris compares to guys like Kenny Rogers and no one is banging the drum for his candidacy.
It’s all boiled down into a really dumb back-and-forth, including what the eyes saw vs. what the stats say. Plus, it’s Morris’ last year on the ballot. He needs 75 percent of the votes for enshirement. Last year he received 67.7 percent, when nobody got voted in. With guys like Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas on the ballot for the first time, it doesn’t look good for Morris.
Nor does it sound too good when one of Morris’ prominent teammates on the 1984 Tigers, Lou Whitaker, says stuff like this on the radio (Via the Detroit News):
“Jack Morris was no better than Alan Trammell-Lou Whitaker,” Whitaker said during the interview, audio of which was posted on DetroitSportsRag.com and confirmed by MLB Network Radio co-host Jim Bowden. “If we didn’t make the plays, and we didn’t come up with the big hits, Jack Morris wouldn’t be where he was, or where he is.”
Maybe Whitaker — one of the best second baseman of his era with 244 lifetime home runs to his name — is a little bitter since he lasted only one year on the ballot. Maybe he’s telling it like it is.
However the ballot reads out on Wednesday, expect plenty of hand-wringing on all sides of the Morris argument — all for a little plaque in upstate New York.