As we inch closer and closer to the announcement on Jan. 8 of the 2014 MLB Hall of Fame inductees, the debates rage on about what constitutes a Hall of Famer. Should players who are known or suspected of having done PEDs be elected in and should players without that black cloud above their heads, who played during that era, be penalized as well, like Craig Biggio was last year? As we know, players must appear on five percent of the voter’s ballots to continue eligibility and need to appear on at least 75 percent of ballots to get voted in. This process can last as long as 15 years. If that player does not get voted in after 15 years, they are removed from the ballot.
Such is the case of Jack Morris, a five-time All-Star pitcher with four World Series Championships with three different teams, who has steadily been gaining steam in his Hall of Fame campaigning in recent years, as his percentage on ballots has steadily increased. Morris appeared on 67.7 percent of ballots in 2013, but is also in his final year of eligibility. Morris is easily the most polarizing potential Hall of Famer, which does not seem to make a lot of sense. Morris has a career regular season record of 254-186, which is impressive enough, though, many look down at his career 3.90 ERA and the fact that he finished with an ERA above four six times in his career.
Morris has been said, by many former teammates, to be a pitcher who put the team’s need before his own statistics. If his team scored one run, he would allow zero and if his team scored five, he would allow four. Morris did whatever it took to win and would have allowed his own stats to suffer rather than over think his pitching strategy.
Many writers use this to Morris’ detriment, since his lowest career ERA is 3.02 and many of his competitors had considerably lower career ERAs. It is logic from these writers that has turned the entire Hall of Fame voting system into a complete farce and the system desperately needs to be changed.
First off, many writers use their vote as a means of revenge for a player who was either prickly with the media or did PEDs during their careers, but were never actually found out while they played. Also, the fact that there has never been a unanimous vote is just flat out stupid.
The top vote getter is Tom Seaver, who received 98.8 percent of the votes in his first year of eligibility. Apparently, a 311-205 record, career 2.86 ERA and a .603 career winning percentage was not good enough for some voters, who should lose their vote with whatever twisted logic they used.
Many believe that Mariano Rivera could be the first unanimous player voted in, as he was respected by every person in the media and game alike, and is hands down the best closer in baseball history. Nobody will ever come along to refute this based on how often teams retool their bullpens in today’s game.
The fact of the matter is that some of these writers who vote are considerably older and tend to ignore the new age of analysis or simply hold grudges with certain players. Making that player wait a year or two for the Hall of Fame is used as a pathetic means of revenge.
The bottom line is this: Morris deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He has over 250 career wins, pitched 18 seasons for four different teams and won World Series titles with three of them.
Morris has a career 2.96 ERA in the World Series, and it could be said that he was the reason some of his teams won their titles. All in all, Morris was a player whose deep investment and care for his team as a whole trumped any selfish tendencies we see in today’s players. That, to me, is the reason why he is a Hall of Famer. Get it right, BBWAA. Vote him in, because if you don’t, you will continue your transformation from a widely respected collection of great writers, to a bitter immature caricature of yourselves.