Larry Granillo of Wezen-Ball fame writes for The Hardball Times now. Two great things that go great together. Today lar has a great post up in which traces the history of the “Jack Morris was the best pitcher of the 80s” meme. Given that, at the time, most people when asked would have said that Steve Carlton or Doc Gooden or Roger Clemens was the best of the 80s, I had figured someone came up with that once Morris started appearing on Hall of Fame ballots.
Nope, it started in the 1986-87 offseason, when the owners were shamefully colluding against Morris and other free agents:
Looking through newspaper reports from the late-1980s, the discussion of Morris as the “pitcher of the ‘80s” or “the decade’s best pitcher” seemed to begin in earnest in the winter following the 1986 season. Morris was a free-agent that year and, as of mid-December, had broken off the arbitration process with the Tigers in favor of four other clubs (the Angels, Yankees, Twins, and Phillies). The offers did not come in and, as the dreaded “c-word” came into play, writers were left trying to figure out what was happening.
lar then cites a number of newspaper articles from the time in which the meme begins to take hold.
Interesting stuff, as almost everything lar does is interesting. Well worth your time today.