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Does Cooperstown need to reevaluate its HOF criteria?

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Jack Morris and his Cooperstown Journey

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Jack Morris 1984 World Series

Year in and year out when MLB would release its HOF inductees, up until last year there was no Jack Morris! I never rooted for the teams he played for but I found it aggravating and frustrating that he was being left out. For those that don’t know Jack Morris, Jack won 162 of his 254 games in the 1980s. Those 162 wins Morris had in the 80’s is the most victories of any pitcher in major league baseball during that decade. He also started 515 straight games and 175 of his 527 career starts were complete games! He had three 20+ win seasons. Add two more 19 win years, 18 one year and in 1981’s strike shortened season he led the league in wins. In 1983 he led the league in strikeouts. Now this resume seems pretty much hall worthy to me, but not a definite hall of Famer, but a player who deserves consideration.

Morris and catcher Lance Parrish after final out of 1984 World Series

Now a coach in a different sport repeated once on stage YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! When a great player in any sport isn’t a winner it’s almost always held against him. Whether it’s his fault or not! Now why was Jack Morris never voted into the hall of fame, but only finally garnering the honor as a veterans committee selection. I don’t know what the baseball writer’s of America were looking at but somebody needs to let them know in the future YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! Now Jack Morris played and won the game, but not once! In the 1984 ALCS in one start he went 7 innings and gave up one run, leading Detroit to the World Series. In the Tigers 5 game Series victory Jack Morris pitched two complete game victories.

Jack Morris returning home to Minnesota in 1991

Then came 1991. In 1991 Jack returned to his hometown of Minnesota where that season he would be named the American League All Star Game’s starting pitcher. Then came the playoffs. First he won both games he started in the ALCS. In the 1991 World Series against the Atlanta Braves, in his first two starts he won one and had a no decision. This World Series would give Jack another start however! Game 7! Jack Morris vs. John Smoltz. Prior to the game during the telecast Morris stated he felt everything he ever did in baseball was always leading to this moment. He was ready and wouldn’t be denied, atleast that’s what his body language and demeanor would tell a fan who was watching. He was humble and cocky talking about his upcoming start. As the game went along John Smoltz was dealing a masterpiece as was Morris. At the end of the 7th Smoltz was relieved with the score still nodded at 0. Jack Morris came out for his half of the 8th inning. In the 8th the Braves had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. The Twins manager came to relieve Morris, but Jack refused to come out of the game he stated he started the game and he was going to finish the game. Runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs, according to Jack was just not a problem. He wasn’t nervous about this late game 7 situation. He was going to pitch out of it and told his manager just relax and let him deal. No runs, no outs, runners in scoring position, quickly became no runs, three outs, runners left on base! He faced three batters in the 9th and swiftly retired them all. As the game went to the 10th, the Minnesota manager congratulated Jack on 9 scoreless innings as he prepared to go to the bullpen. Jack Morris you see was of a different breed. He looked at his manager and with the vigor of a Dikembe Mutombo finger wag said he had all winter to rest, after all hadn’t he already said he was content to finish what he started. What! He never said anything about going 9! Finish what he started is what I believe he said! So onto the mound he stepped in the 10th inning. Again 1-2-3, inning over. Long story short Jack Morris pitched a 10 inning shutout in a 1-0 game 7 world series clinching masterpiece. They say in big playoff games this pitcher’s dealing that pitchers dealing. No one ever was on the mound dealing like Jack Morris was dealing in game 7 of the 1991 World Series. It was just different! So what were these baseball writers who vote for the hall of fame looking at when year after year Jack did not have enough votes! What were these writers finding Jack Morris unworthy of entering baseball’s hall of elite performers looking at as criteria? Just numbers?

Oh he didn’t win 300 games. No, he didn’t he only won 254. He didn’t have 3000 strikeouts. Once again no he didn’t he only had 2,478. He only went to 5 all star games. Starting twice though. How about this for a stat in 1982 and 1983 he won 17 and 20 games respectively. He pitched 17 and 20 complete games those two years also. He had exactly as many wins as complete games both years! I know he’s in the hall now, but it should have never came down to the veterans committee. The BBWAA either is only looking at stats, or has no memory of history, or just don’t know what they’re doing! In no other sport would he not be voted in as a hall of famer within a couple years of eligibility. YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! That’s what Jack Morris did when it counted most. I don’t know who does the voting but I’m assuming they don’t play to win the game because they never played the game at all!

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