Jack Morris pitched 18 seasons while Bartolo Colon has now pitched 20. They both have a career winning percentage of .577. Morris has 2478 career strikeouts while Colon has 2454. Morris had 254 wins while Colon has 240 in an era where they are harder to obtain. Colon won a Cy Young while Morris’s highest finish was third. Morris has an ERA+ of 105, compared to Colon’s career ERA+ of 107. In fact, if you only looked at their first 15 years, Colon’s ERA+ of 114 outperforms Morris’s ERA+ of 109 even more!
Perhaps you strongly believe that, despite their statistical similarities, Jack Morris was significantly better than Bartolo Colon. Still, the fact that an argument could be made that Colon is as good a pitcher as Morris shows just how big a mistake the Modern Eras Committee made in electing Jack Morris to the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend.
The list of players who were once viewed as “obviously not Hall of Famers” does not stop at Colon, either. In his article on ESPN.com, David Schoenfield said that it would be foolish to treat Morris as a benchmark for Hall of Fame induction. This argument is in defense of the Hall of Fame’s level of “rigor” — many think that without maintaining a certain level, the Hall of Fame may lose it’s significance. However, I believe there is another characteristic that the Hall of Fame must preserve even more so than rigor in order to maintain its credibility — and that is justice. If the Hall of Fame exposes itself as being discretionary in its election of members, it will quickly lose its relevance.
By electing Jack Morris to the Baseball Hall of Fame, voters both lowered the level of rigor previously required for election and have left the Hall of Fame in a current state of injustice until the following eligible players are also elected: Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Dave Stieb, Rick Reuschel, Orel Hershiser, David Cone, Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant, Kevin Brown, Vida Blue, Bret Saberhagen, and Kevin Appier,
And the following cases are re-opened for election: Dwight Gooden, David Wells, Jim Kaat, Tommy John, Wilbur Wood, Ron Guidry, Jimmy Key, Frank Tanana, Dennis Martinez, Mark Langston, Chuck Finley, Mark Buehrle, Frank Viola and Jose Rijo.
Every single one of these 30 pitchers had a higher career ERA+ than Jack Morris and have either a higher career value, a higher peak value, or both.
Looks like Colon may be able to hang up his cleats a little more confidently this off-season now that Morris is in the Hall.
Professional statistical modeler who counts pondering the game of baseball as a favorite, lifelong pastime.