Womack: Jack Morris is off the HOF ballot, but debate still rages

From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on November 10, 2015:

2014 should have been the end. When Jack Morris fell short of Cooperstown for the 15th and final time with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, an optimist might have hoped for an end to all the polarizing talk regarding his candidacy. Aside from maybe Bert Blyleven, it’s hard to think of another Hall of Fame candidate from the past few decades who’s generated as much debate as Morris — interminable, cyclical and fairly pointless debate.

It’s not to say that people never changed their minds on Morris. After all, he debuted on the BBWAA ballot for Cooperstown in 2000 with 22.2 percent of the vote and eventually drew 67.7 percent in his 14th year, just shy of the necessary 75 percent for enshrinement. It sometimes seems, though, that at this point, people have long since cemented their thinking on Morris and subject others to the same tired talking points each time his name comes up.

So we’re clear: Morris’s lifetime 3.90 ERA stemmed partly from where he played. Baseball-Reference.com’s stat converter shows if Morris had played his entire career for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he’d have a 3.54 ERA. But Morris’s ERA didn’t result from him pitching to the score, as he’s sometimes claimed. Joe Sheehan debunked this myth for Baseball Prospectus in 2003, and people still trot it out. In addition, Morris’s complete game, 10-inning victory in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, while iconic, is far from the greatest Fall Classic pitching performance.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb-news/4660699-baseball-hall-of-fame-jack-morris-eligility-veterans-commitee

Originally published: November 10, 2015. Last Updated: November 10, 2015.