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Jack Morris‘s Hall of Fame case has been debated for more than a decade. The erstwhile “ace” of the Tigers, Twins, and Blue Jays sparks many a debate among baseball writers, so I thought it’d be a good idea to dive into the case – pro and con – and see if I could come up with a conclusion. I was all set to record the show Tuesday when breaking news regarding one more manufactured performance enhancing drug scandal hit the news wire, so we’ll discuss that at the end of the show today.

But first, the Hall of Fame case of Jack Morris.

David Schoenfeld of ESPN presented an excellent breakdown of the case for Morris on the ESPN Sweet Spot blog that states, essentially, you’re relying on one game.

The case for Morris:

1. He was an innings eater, a workhorse, and didn’t get hurt. This was during a time when there weren’t many guys who could throw 240+ innings consistently.

2. He was an icon of the 1980s. Complete with Tom Selleck-like mustache, Jack looked like the lead character of a detective series. He won the most games in the 1980s and often stayed in the game an inning or two longer when the situation called for it, allowing his admittedly unspectacular ERA to have some context to it– maybe he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but he was an invaluable asset to his team, giving the bullpen a night off when he could. Nobody will pitch as many innings as he did per year again, and even though the 1980s is an “arbitrary end point,” he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because of the pressure he took off of his manager (Sparky Anderson, a Hall of Famer without question).

3. GAME SEVEN, 1991. Morris pitched ten shutout innings to lead his Twins over the Atlanta Braves, 1-0, to give the Twins a rare World Series title in that eyesore of eyesores, the Hubert H Humphery Metrodome.

The case against Morris:

1. If elected, he would have the highest ERA of any pitcher in the Hall, a full tenth of a run behind Red Ruffing.
2. He never came close to winning a Cy Young Award – he came in third twice.
3. He was never considered the best pitcher in the league.
4. There are a few pitchers in Morris’s era who were better than him (Rick Reuschel, Dave Stieb, Luis Tiant, Bret Saberhagen)

Ultimately, I’m a small-Hall guy. So what’s a man to do? Listen to the show for my verdict.


About the Author

I'm a 38 year old writer from New Providence, New Jersey, working a "day job" as a data processor in North Carolina. When I'm not slaving away at that job, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool baseball fan who enjoys discussing today's baseball news in a historical context. I'm a former columnist for the Summit Herald in New Jersey and a college radio geek who decided to use the power of podcasting to share my point of view wih the world. Besides baseball, I love horse racing, video games, and good music (who doesn't?). I am a Christian and live with my wife Amy and two cats Reagan and Cassie in our home studio. Expect more writing from me at scotteiland.com, and thank you for listening!

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