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Morris finding Hall a tough win
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01/07/2003  2:15 PM ET 
Morris finding Hall a tough win
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Jack Morris returned to Detroit in 1999 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Tigers' 1984 World Series championship. (AP)
DETROIT -- Jack Morris was a near-lock to win in big contests. The Hall of Fame balloting process is proving to be one contest he might not win.

For the fourth consecutive year, Morris missed induction to Cooperstown. This time, he earned 113 votes, 259 short of what he needed for the necessary 75 percent. But by being named on 22.8 percent of the ballot, it marked his highest vote percentage yet.

Morris is proving to be a case of two different resumes. In must-win situations, he was often at his best. He was an ace for three different World Series championship clubs, carrying the Twins to victory with 10 shutout innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. That game in itself was a Hall of Fame performance. He went winless in four postseason starts for Toronto the following year, but won 21 games during the regular season and went 9-2 down the stretch.

Hall of Fame 2003

Induction Ceremony
Sunday, July 27
Cooperstown, New York

The inductees
Gary Carter | Eddie Murray

Schedule of weekend events
Complete coverage

That 1992 season, at age 37, was one of three 20-win seasons for Morris, who tallied at least 15 wins 10 times in an 11-year stretch. He didn't reach 300 wins for his career, but nobody won more games during the 1980s.

"Jack, I really believe, deserves real consideration," Tigers manager and former Morris teammate Alan Trammell said.

Walt Terrell, who played with Morris in Detroit from 1984-88, said he was the only starter on those Tigers staffs who could throw the ball by hitters consistently. "I'm not so sure what the standards are for a guy like that, but gosh what a winner that guy was," Terrell said. "In 1986 and '87, he was the most dominant pitcher I'd seen for a while night in and night out."

Final results
 Player Votes   %
 Murray  423  85.3
 Carter  387  78
 Sutter  266  53.6
 Rice  259  52.2
 Dawson  248  50
 Sandberg  244  49.2
 Smith  210  42.3
 Gossage  209  42.1
 Blyleven  145  29.2
 Garvey  138  27.8
 *Kaat  130  26.2
 John  116  23.4
 Morris  113  22.8
 Trammell  70  14.1
 Mattingly  68  13.7
 Murphy  58  11.7
 Concepcion  55  11.1
 Parker  51  10.3
 Valenzuela  31  6.3
 Hernandez  30  6
 Kile  7  1.4
 Coleman  3  0.6
 Butler  2  0.4
 Fernandez  2  0.4
 Honeycutt  2  0.4
 Pena  2  0.4
 Daulton  1  0.2
 Davis  1  0.2
 Tartabull  1  0.2
 Jackson  0  0
 Tettleton  0  0
 Williams  0  0
 Worrell  0  0
*Jim Kaat final year on ballot
For a pitcher who threw entirely in the era of the five-man rotation, Morris' durability was the standard. He topped 200 innings and reached double figures in complete games 11 times in a 13-year stretch from 1980-92, including a league-high 293 2/3 innings in 1983. For his career, his innings total averaged out to 241 2/3 innings over a full season.

But one statistic more than any other stands out against Morris' candidacy: his 3.90 ERA. Take away his final two seasons battling shoulder problems in Toronto and Cleveland, and that figure drops to 3.73. But nevertheless, his ERA compared to his win total indicates the type of run support he enjoyed for much of his career, from the Tigers' heyday to the 1992 Blue Jays juggernaut.

Morris' sometimes testy front with reporters didn't help his case. Morris generally kept to himself, away from reporters and sometimes teammates. His final season as a starter on the 1994 Indians became infamous because of reports he would fly home to his Minnesota farm between starts. But as first-ballot electee Eddie Murray showed, a standout career can smooth over any aloofness with the media.

For now, Morris' three championship teams have produced two Hall of Fame players. The only inductee so far from the 1984 Tigers team is the manager, Sparky Anderson, not including broadcaster Ernie Harwell. Kirby Puckett is in the Hall of Fame from the 1991 Twins, and Dave Winfield went into the Hall from the 1992 Blue Jays. Another key member of that Toronto club, Joe Carter, becomes eligible next year.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at jason.beck@mlb.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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