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Hall of Fame: Morris falling short, named on controversial ballot

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: January 7, 2014 - 1:42 PM

St. Paul native Jack Morris, who was on the one-year plan as a member of the Twins, has received votes on 60 percent of the ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America that have been made public.

The 155 ballots are thought to represent about one-quarter of the total vote, according to the web site Baseball Think Factory, which is compiling votes as they are made public. The official Hall of Fame announcement will be made at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Three players -- Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas -- have more than 90 percent of the votes on the ballots so far made public. Former Houston star Craig Biggio is at 78.7 percent, which exceeds the 75 percent majority that's required for a player to get in.

Morris has been named on 60 percent of the ballots made public so far. This is his 15th and final year on the ballot that is voted on by baseball writers. If he fails to get in, Morris' candidacy will next be debated by a separate committee for those no longer eligible for the writers' ballot.

He has also popped up in a controversial ballot filed by mlb.com writer Ken Gurnick, who apparently is the only writer among the 155 to not vote for Maddux, who was named on 99.4 percent (154 of 155) of the public ballots.

The real-time ballot tally is kept by the web site Baseball Think Factory.

In a year when some voters have lamented that BBWAA rules limit them to voting for no more than 10 candidates, Gurnick, who covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for mlb.com, voted only for Morris. His explanation behind the vote:  "Morris has flaws -- a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED (performance enhancing drug)  use, I won't vote for any of them."

Of course, Morris' career overlapped with some of the players whose Hall of Fame chances have been diminished by allegations of PED use -- including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire. Craig Calcaterra of the NBC Sports blog Hardball Talk writes: "I don’t know when the first player took steroids, but it was certainly before Jack Morris retired. Indeed, Jack Morris’ signature accomplishment — winning Game 7 of the World Series with a ten-inning shutout — came in 1991. By 1991 Barry Bonds had an MVP Award and Roger Clemens had three Cy Young Awards and an MVP. Jose Canseco had hit 209 homers, won an MVP award and had been booed for steroid use. Mark McGwire had hit 178 home runs."

You can also read critiques of Gurnick's vote here, here and here.

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