We’ve seen a lot of tortured arguments in favor of Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame case. I’d recap some of the best ones, but really, you had to be there.
Anyway, today comes what I think is the definitive case against Jack Morris. It’s by Dan Szymborski over at ESPN (sorry; Insider only). It’s not hysterical. It’s not polemical. It’s not disrespectful of Morris’ considerable accomplishments, nor does it approach the matter from the standpoint of “you gotta be an IDIOT to vote for Morris.” It merely takes the arguments most have used in favor of Jack Morris and points out the problems with them. And there are a lot of them.
Morris didn’t prevent the opposition from scoring runs at anything much greater than an average clip. He didn’t “pitch to the score” (or, if he tried to, he was not particularly successful at it). Apart from one game in the 1991 World Series, he was nothing special as a playoff pitcher. Despite his “best starter of the 80s” reputation, he was rarely thought of as special by Cy Young voters, who gave him the same number of Cy Young votes over his career as Mike Hampton and Dontrelle Willis.
None of which is to say that you can’t still vote for Jack Morris for the Hall of Fame if you’re so inclined. You can. You just need to find a reason that has not been discredited, as Szymborski discredits these arguments here. And which you apply to other starting pitchers who you consider on your ballot.