Morris goes the distance, but doesn't reach Hall
Star pitcher's much-debated bid for Hall of Fame ends after 15 years on ballot
NEW YORK -- Jack Morris has been through all this for the last time. In his 15th and final shot on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot submitted each year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, the results were the same.
Morris did not receive the necessary 75 percent of the vote, announced by the Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
"It's kind of an odd situation," Morris said. "It's definitely been a roller-coaster ride of emotions. To say that I'm disappointed, I don't think is anything that would be unhuman."
The right-hander, who won the World Series with Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto, had 254 victories during his 18-year big league career. But that was good enough for only 61.5 percent of the vote, as he appeared on 351 of the 571 ballots cast. A candidate needed 429. Astros second baseman Craig Biggio fell two votes short on a day when pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and slugger Frank Thomas, all first-timers, were overwhelmingly elected.
"I just want to congratulate the three men that were voted in today and the three managers that were voted in during the Winter Meetings," Morris said, referring to Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. "It's going to be a great day this summer for them. Well-deserving, all of them, as candidates."
|Player (Years on ballot)||Total Votes||Percentage|
|Greg Maddux (1)||555||97.2|
|Tom Glavine (1)||525||91.9|
|Frank Thomas (1)||478||83.7|
|Craig Biggio (2)||427||74.8|
|Mike Piazza (2)||355||62.2|
|Jack Morris (15)||351||61.5|
|Jeff Bagwell (4)||310||54.3|
|Tim Raines (7)||263||46.1|
|Roger Clemens (2)||202||35.4|
|Barry Bonds (2)||198||34.7|
|Lee Smith (12)||171||29.9|
|Curt Schilling (2)||167||29.2|
|Edgar Martinez (5)||144||25.2|
|Alan Trammell (13)||119||20.8|
|Mike Mussina (1)||116||20.3|
|Jeff Kent (1)||87||15.2|
|Fred McGriff (8)||67||11.7|
|Mark McGwire (8)||63||11.0|
|Larry Walker (4)||58||10.2|
|Don Mattingly (14)||47||8.2|
|Sammy Sosa (2)||41||7.2|
|Rafael Palmeiro (4)||25||4.4|
|Moises Alou (1)||6||1.1|
|Hideo Nomo (1)||6||1.1|
|Luis Gonzalez (1)||5||0.9|
|Eric Gagne (1)||2||0.4|
|J.T. Snow (1)||2||0.4|
|Armando Benitez (1)||1||0.2|
|Jacque Jones (1)||1||0.2|
|Kenny Rogers (1)||1||0.2|
|Sean Casey (1)||0||0.0|
|Ray Durham (1)||0||0.0|
|Todd Jones (1)||0||0.0|
|Paul Lo Duca (1)||0||0.0|
|Richie Sexson (1)||0||0.0|
|Mike Timlin (1)||0||0.0|
Morris actually lost ground from last year's 67.7 percent. Morris, who will be eligible for Expansion Era Committee consideration in the fall of 2016, is only the second player in history to amass in excess of 60 percent of the vote and not eventually make the Hall. Gil Hodges is the other.
"There's no perfect system," Morris said. "I'm going to be a guy that's probably going to be the center of attention for quite some time, even though I've had enough of it.
"I'm very glad it's over. Fifteen years of being critiqued ought to be enough for anybody, so I'm glad that part's over."
With this, Morris' place on the BBWAA ballot comes to an end. Five years after retirement, every candidate can remain on the ballot for 15 years provided he maintains at least 5 percent of the vote each year. Last year, the writers failed to vote a single player into the Class of 2013.
"I have to accept the fact that it is what it is," Morris said. "A percentage of the writers have determined that, for now anyway, I'm not a Hall of Famer. That's fine. They have their opinion. It's America, it's North America, and they have their rights. I'm going to have to deal with the things that come this way because of it."
Until now, Morris had watched his chances get better. Two years ago, he was a long shot as Reds shortstop Barry Larkin was the sole player elected to the Class of 2012. His vote total leaped to 66.7 percent from 53.5 percent in 2011. But that figure remained static in 2013 as Morris finished second behind Biggio, whose 3,060 hits were good enough for him to garner only 68.2 percent of the vote.
Last year, Morris' name turned up on 385 of the 569 ballots cast. Morris (or anyone else) had to have 427 votes, but he couldn't make up the 42 votes. In 2012, Morris needed to be named on 430 of the ballots cast.
"It's been humbling, it really has been," Morris said of the support he has received. "I do pay attention on the Internet, and I've watched a fair amount of the debates on television, and what I've learned is that everybody has passion."
The Expansion Era Committee will consider Morris' 7-4 record with a 3.80 ERA in 13 postseason starts and 4-2 mark with a 2.96 ERA in seven World Series starts. He won twice against the Padres in 1984 when the Tigers prevailed in five games and lost twice to the Braves when the Blue Jays won the 1992 World Series in six games.
But Morris' signature performance of his career came for the Twins in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series against those same Braves at the Metrodome when he tossed 10 scoreless innings to outduel John Smoltz, winning the game, 1-0. He made three starts and gave up three runs over 23 innings in that Series, and posted a 2.23 ERA for that entire postseason.
"I don't think that will happen again," Morris said about the epic game played on Oct. 27, 1991. "I used to think, 'Oh, it will happen again. Somebody will do it.' But, heck, they won't even let one guy start three games in the World Series any more. I can't understand that. For 80 years it was fine. The ace would pitch Games 1, 4 and 7. And now, it's, 'We can't overwork these guys.' It's different. It's definitely a different way of playing the game. There's less and less glory in it, I can tell you that."
As for his chances on the Expansion Era ballot in the future, Morris simply quipped, "I hope I live that long."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.