Morris' long Hall of Fame wait could end Wednesday, or it's over

But with several top pitchers eligible for the first time, the odds seem against the former ace.

Known throughout his career as a big-game pitcher and front-end rotation workhorse, Jack Morris has seen his endurance fully tested on the Hall of Fame ballot.

He’s lasted 15 years on the ballot without receiving the requisite 75 percent of the votes to have his own plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y., and now he’s nearly out of time. The Hall of Fame announcement on Wednesday will be Morris’ last year in which he’s eligible to be voted in by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The St. Paul native won 254 games in his career, was on three World Series champions, won at least 20 games three times and threw a no-hitter. But he has become one of the biggest borderline cases in Hall of Fame voting history.

He sounds now like someone once uncomfortable with being a borderline case who now understands the process.

“I wish I could have really let that settle in,” Morris said. “I have [understood the debate] over the last five years, but for eight, nine years [before that] it was kind of eating away at me. What was going on? How does this process work? Why is it the way it is? And know I realize it is what it is because that’s the way it has always been.

“The second point is that I’m, in a crazy sort of way, kind of glad it’s over. I was flattered for quite some time that they were talking about me and now I’m kind of tired that they are talking about me and arguing about me and have to stand up or stand down for me. I’ve had it. I’m sick of hearing about myself.”

He once received less than 20 percent of the vote but last year received 67.7 percent — only 42 votes shy of reaching that 75 percent threshold needed for enshrinement. But this year’s 36-man ballot includes first-timers in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas — considered favorites to be elected — as well as Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent.

If Morris joined Maddux, Glavine and Thomas it would be the first time since 1955 that the BBWAA has voted in four players. And former Houston second baseman Craig Biggio is the top returning vote-getter, having garnered 68.2 percent of the votes last year.

“Whatever happens, happens,” Morris said. “There are a ton of guys on the ballot this year, and a lot of them are worthy candidates.”

Morris has never won a Cy Young award, and his career ERA of 3.90 would be the highest of any pitcher in the Hall. But those who watched Morris pitch remember him as the go-to guy of his era. He began his World Series career by going 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA, including one of the best starts in World Series history when he pitched 10 innings to help the Twins beat Atlanta 1-0 in Game 7 of 1991.

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated pointed out last month that, among all pitchers who debuted between Bert Blyleven and Roger Clemens, Morris won the most games (254), completed the most games (175, and it wasn’t close), posted the second-best winning percentage (.577) and had the second-most strikeouts (2,478).

“The strength of Morris’ candidacy derives mostly from the volume of his work measured against his peers through this transitional period,” Verducci wrote. “He was a workhorse who gobbled up innings as an ace, not just as a rotation filler. Nobody else in his era equaled him in that regard, especially when you talk about the harsher duty [otherwise known as the designated hitter] in the American League.”

But Morris’ WAR (wins above replacement) of 43.8 is below the average Hall of Fame pitching WAR of 69 and would rank 37th among 46 starters enshrined. Jay Jaffe, who does a terrific job breaking down Hall of Fame candidates for Sports Illustrated, pointed out that Morris’ ERA+ (adjusted to the player’s ballpark) of 105 would be the third-lowest among Hall of Famers.

“Morris was gritty, gruff and exceptionally durable, and he saved his bullpens a whole lot of work,” Jaffe wrote last month, “but he simply didn’t prevent runs in the manner of an elite pitcher, and any modern reckoning of his value illustrates that definitively.”

If Morris doesn’t get the call to the Hall, he would join Gil Hodges as the only two players to not be elected after passing the 50 percent voting threshold. Their cases could, unfortunately for Morris, follow the same path.

Hodges, in his 13th year on the ballot, finished third in 1981 voting with 60.1 percent of the vote. The next year, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson were first-ballot Hall of Famers as Hodges slid down to seventh, receiving just 49.4 percent of the vote. Hodges finished seventh again in 1983, his final year on the ballot.

Morris has finished second in each of the past two seasons, receiving 66.7 percent of the votes in 2012 and 67.7 last year. But Morris could see his momentum obliterated, like Hodges, by Maddux, Glavine and Thomas being eligible this year.

And if Morris doesn’t get in today, it will be a few years before he would be eligible to be considered by the Veterans Committee. Candidates to be evaluated by the committee have been separated into three eras: Expansion (1972-present), Golden (1947-72) and Pre-Integration (1871-1946), with one era voted on each year. The Expansion era this year is inducting Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox. Golden era candidates will be voted on for enshrinement in 2015, followed by the Pre-Integration era in 2016.

So Morris’ next shot at the Hall won’t come until 2017 if he’s not voted in now.

It’s just another layer in one of most debated cases in Hall of Fame voting history.

Morris expects to be with his family on Wednesday when the results are announced, ready to celebrate if he gets The Call, ready to move on if he doesn’t.

“I just want to, somehow, thank all the people who have supported me over the last 14 years and continued this year,” Morris said. “You come to realize how special that is. It’s a process that is way out of my control.’’


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


Kansas City 1 Top 3rd Inning
San Francisco 0
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Dallas 86 4th Qtr
Orlando 66
New York 46 3rd Qtr
Toronto 38
San Antonio 29 2nd Qtr 3:37
Houston 41
Miami 31 2nd Qtr 8:00
Memphis 30
Minnesota 54 2nd Qtr 4:48
Chicago 52
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 2 2nd Prd 3:15
New Jersey 1
Tampa Bay 1 2nd Prd
Winnipeg 0
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Carolina 8:30 PM
Columbus 9:00 PM
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 3 3rd Qtr
Cincinnati 20
Troy 3 2nd Qtr 0:34
South Alabama 10
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 1st Half 15:00
Chicago 0
Montreal 23 13:37
Ottawa 10
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question