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Mussina or Schilling?

Posted by Andy on June 29, 2010

Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling have both garnered about 2/3rds of the vote in support of their credentials for the Hall of Fame.

Let's see how they would do head to head. If you had to put one guy in the Hall of Fame, which one would it be?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 6:35 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

84 Responses to “Mussina or Schilling?”

  1. What?!? As of right when I voted, it was 20-17, in favor of Mussina?!?! Who on earth can't tell that Schilling was far better than Mussina?!? Man, it's things like this that make the traditional media look down on us bloggers & commenters as people who don't know much about baseball.

  2. That's why I made this poll, because it seemed that Mussina was getting more support in the comments even though the percentages are equal. I think this poll has an effect of the Mussina post being more recent..I.e. If I had Schilling this week and Mussina last week, then Schilling probably would have more votes.

  3. This is the most interesting vote yet. It's the dominance vs. value discussion -- though I think that Moose in his 20s was *almost* as dominant as Schilling in his 30s, but that was longer ago and also no bloody sock.

    I think both guys probably deserve it, I think Schilling will probably get it.

  4. Excellent choice for comparison. I checked out the Indie w-l records at the Book. They are as follows:

    Career:
    Schilling 116-26
    Mussina 124-35

    Half game edge for Schilling

    Peak:
    Mussina 30+1
    Schilling

  5. Won't the "Traditional Media" look at 270 vs. 216 and wonder why we're even having the conversation?

  6. schilling 31-1. I give him the edge because he was better Post season pitcher

  7. I knew Mussina would get a decent chunk of the votes, but I never would have guessed it would be an almost 50-50 split.

  8. This vote is going to be around 50-50. Right now, it's 51-49 Schilling, but the two are extremely similar. Neither is going to have a dominant voting base.

  9. Mussina. Mussina had a better career value and his peak (Best 7 seasons) is only slightly behind Schilling.

    Mussina is just terribly underrated. He pitched in the A.L. east, mostly in a pitcher's park. Remember two of his best seasons came during the strike '94-95, so those would have given him two more 20win seasons. He had one 19 win season and three 18 win seasons. So what is that, 7 wins away from four more 20win seasons. I bet you can find a few games that the O's bullpen blew in those years.

  10. Let's face it; both are about equally worthy {or unworthy, depending on your point of view}. My vote -- for the Moose -- was based on the sole criterium that I could discern a difference; the overall success of the teams they represented.

  11. How about using the old adage..."If you had 1 game you had to win, who would you give the ball to?" I know who I'd give it to...Curt.

  12. I'll go with Curt, though both should be in. Schilling's best was superior to Mussina's, he pitched fewer innings but struck out more, and so on. Still, I really think both guys really deserve it.

  13. "How about using the old adage..."If you had 1 game you had to win, who would you give the ball to?" I know who I'd give it to...Curt."

    In 1995? Or really any time in the 1990s? I mean, sure, if you only look at them post-30 Schill is the big game pitcher, but that's pretty arbitrary. Moose in the 97 ALCS? 15 innings, 25K's, 4BBs, 1 run. The previous series wasn't much less impressive.

    We remember Schilling's big games better because they were in Boston and more recent -- and they were, i think, slightly more impressive than Moose's. But this notion that he was way more dominant? I don't think it really happened. If I need to run a guy out there for one start and I have to choose between Moose and Schilling, you have to tell me who's president for me to make my choice.

  14. Great point by Henry...If Schilling had been healthy throughout the 90's then it wouldn't be a comparison but he wasn't. Mussina was great in his 20's and very good in his 30's....I voted for Schilling before reading a lot of these posts, I figured it wasn't close but I think my more recent memories of the two is why I did it (P.S I'm a Yankees fan).

  15. Schilling was the NLCS MVP for 1993 Phillies and then pitched a nine inning shutout in game 5 of the World Series. In 19 career post-season starts, Schilling gave up one or less run in 12 of themSo, Actually, I WOULD pick Schilling in the 90's if I had one game.

  16. Wow, great question. My gut reaction was Schilling (partially because I'm a Red Sox fan :), but looking up their career lines, now I'm not so sure. Mussina has a career 74.8 WAR compared to Schilling's 69.7, and in two fewer seasons... Although Fangraph's WAR measurements have Curt at 86.1 and Moose at 85.6, so maybe WAR isn't the way to go here.

    Their careers are remarkably similar, and I think you could go either way and not be wrong. Mussina has about 300 more IP, though a few of his rate stats are slightly worse. I'd consider that a reasonable trade-off in terms of value. I personally would give the edge to Schilling for his insane stint in Arizona (9.58 K/BB in 2002!!!) and for his part in making the 2004 postseason as memorable as it was for us fans in New England :) Although this is for the hypothetical question only; I'd be upset if Schilling made it to the real Hall and Mussina didn't.

  17. Both belong.

  18. I knew that Mussina had more counting stats before I voted for Schilling, so I went and looked after I voted. Moose pitched well in the postseason, but Curt was just stupid. Schilling's postseason stats compare to Gibson's, which gives him the edge, for me.

    Curt may well be the greatest postseason pitcher of all time.

    In his career, he had more K's and less W's than Moose, and his black ink is way beyond Mike's (34 to 15, according to BR.com). However, when you look at the top ten comps, Moose's is more impressive, 5 HOFs and Schilling, while Curt has 2 HOFs and Pedro.

    Schill does better in the HOF monitor, Moose better in the HOF standards.

    They are both deserving of the HOF, but at their peak, Bloody Sock was better.

  19. NEITHER belongs in the HOF. Neither.

    Looking forward to the "Why Jamie Moyer belongs in the HOF" post.

  20. There's another good question Andy just posed...greatest postseason pitcher of all time. I'd go with either Koufax or Rivera off the top of my head.

  21. I already posted a Jamie Moyer HOF poll.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/5936

    51% say no, even if he gets to 300 wins.

  22. @John Locke -- to be honest, *I* hadn't remembered exactly how good Mussina was in the 1990s until I looked recently, either. Seems I was either too young then to notice, or I'm too old now to remember (or, likely, some combo of the two!). But he had a stretch there were he was really pretty dominant in a really difficult division -- 6 of the 10 WS went to teams in his division from 91-00.

    I think they're both borderline but deserving. And I do think that Schill's peak was slightly better, sock notwithstanding.

  23. I'm surprised the other way...that Schilling gets nearly as much support as Mussina here. When their respective teams broke camp and headed north, Mussina was a near lock every season of his career to be a #1 or #2 in the rotation from start to finish; Schilling was a 50-50 bet to even be a factor. When Schilling was healthy, he was spectacular; Mussina was always healthy and almost always great.

  24. Matt Young Says:

    In a big season game or playoff game I'd go with Schilling, for a whole season I'd go with Mussina --he was more consistent. If I had to pick I'd give the slight nod to Schilling. Sorry, both will get in Hall in 4- 8 years with Schilling going first. Both are deserving. Both.

  25. Uh, guys. Why do we need a poll for this?

    Game 1 / Box Score and Play-By-Play

    Saturday, October 27, 2001 at Bank One Ballpark (Arizona Diamondbacks)

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    New York Yankees 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 2
    Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 4 4 0 0 0 0 x 9 10 0

    PITCHERS: NYY - Mussina, Choate (4), Hitchcock (5), Stanton (8)
    ARI - Schilling, Morgan (8), Swindell (9)

    WP - Curt Schilling
    LP - Mike Mussina
    SAVE - none

    HOME RUNS: NYY - none
    ARI - Counsell, Gonzalez

    ATTENDANCE: 49,646

  26. oops. Sorry about the linescore spacing. I just captured it from the BBR page, and that's how it printed out...

  27. Schilling was better during the regular season and much, much better during the postseason. If this were truly a one-or-the-other scenario, the choice should be obvious.

  28. Moose was good in the 90's, but 19 wins with an ERA of almost 5.00 and 14 wins with an ERA of almost 4.50 isn't really great. He was fortunate enough to play on a team that could give him wins despite a high ERA.

  29. Over the course of his career, Moose led league in various categories 7 times.

    Over the course of his career, Schilling led the league in various categories about 25 times.

    In the postseason, Moose had a .467 winning percentage. His other stats were roughly similar to his regular season stats.

    Schilling was dominant in the postseason with a .846 winning percentage. Other stats were also fantastic.

  30. birtelcom Says:

    Just to let folks know, at the baseball forum The Happy Recap we are doing a Hall of Fame type voting process we call the "Circle of Greats" that's pits guys head to head in just this kind of way, because we only allow a single inductee per ballot. That forces voters to decide not just who's qualified but who is most qualified. Every few weeks we vote on a class of potential inductees based on the year they were born. So we started with all the MLB players born in 1965, then 1a couple of weeks later was the 1964 vote, then 1963, etc. back in time. All voters must include 3, and only 3, names on their ballot. Whatever player is named on the most ballots is inducted. Players not named on the most ballots, but named on at least half the ballots, carry over as eligible for another four additional future votes, and players named on at least 20% of the ballots carry over as eligible for one more addtional vote. So far we've completed nine votes and are in the midst of voting on guys born in 1956 (plus holdovers from past votes such as Raines, McGwire, Whitaker, Boggs and Edgar Martinez). Inducted so far in the nine votes completed, representing years of birth from 1965 to 1957: Biggio, Bonds, Randy Johnson, Larkin, Clemens, Ripken, Gwynn, Trammell, Rickey Henderson.

  31. Matt Young Says:

    Alan Trammell should really be getting much more support than he's getting. He's borderline, but come on, never more than 20% of the vote in 8 years?. In many ways he was the shortstop in the game from 1980-1990.

  32. How about a poll, listing all the players who are borderline for the Hall?

    Maybe 20 names, vote for your top 10. Or five. Or one. Or none. Just like the BBWAA.

    Santo, Hodges, John, Trammell, Morris, Kaat, Blyleven, Joe Jackson, Buck O'Neil. I've heard arguments for Davey Concepcion, Tony Oliva, Dale Murphy, Dewey Evans, Steve Garvey. Even Vada Pinson and Billy Buckner (huh???).

    Each brings his own unique package to the discussion.

  33. JeffW, I've been trying to figure out how best to construct a poll like that. I think I'll save it for the off-season, but we will continue individual debates on a weekly basis for now.

  34. Matt Young Says:

    Santo, Hodges, Blyleven, Morris, Tiant, John, Trammell, Mullane, Kaat, Joe Jackson, and an 11th, Cone. Blyleven is in next year and perhaps Morris in 2012.

  35. David in Toledo Says:

    50/50. Schilling the greater peak, Mussina the greater length of accomplishment. Blyleven first.

  36. Matt Young,

    I was trading baseball cards back in the early 90's, and it was almost a foregone conclusion that Alan Trammell would get elected to the HOF. Most people looked at him as the third best SS in the game behind Ripken and O. Smith from the late 70's-late 80's and one of the top 10 SS of all time. I think what hurt him is he played until 1996 and wasn't eligible until 2001, so those numbers he put up in 80's didn't look as great compared to the big offenses of the 90's-2000's. Also, A-Rod, Jeter, and Nomar were all in their prime and revolutionizing the position.

    Also, he got robbed of a MVP award in '87. That's something that might of helped him. IMO no-doubt HOF.

    IMO, these players are the 10 most eligible position player omissions to the HOF:

    Santo
    Larkin
    Tramell
    Alomar
    B. Dahlen
    D. Allen
    Raines
    Whitaker
    Grich
    E. Martinez

  37. Very close, but I went with Schilling because of his dominant postseason record. In 18 postseason starts, he had a game score average of 64; 13 of those starts score 65 or better. His WPA in 133.1 innings was 4.102 (To get an idea of how valuable that is, note than John Smoltz, another dominant postseason pitcher, had a WPA of 3.593 in 209 innings.)

    I love Mussina, and they're very close, but I guess what it comes down to for me is the "if you need one guy to pitch a game to save the universe" scenario.

  38. i thought it was the proverbial no brainer even though I can't stand Schilling, though when I voted Mussina was ahead and I think a couple of hundred votes had been cast...

  39. Schilling, no contest. Compare their 5 best years and it's a no brainer. Schilling would have 2 CYs under his belt if not for some guy named Johnson, and some forget how good he was in Philadelphia on some pretty crummy teams. The trade of Schilling to/from AZ was viewed as a much bigger deal than the Yankee signing of Mussina.

    If you had to look forward on who to give the ball to for a big game or to stop the bleeding during a losing streak, which one would you choose?

    You'd be kidding yourself if you choose Mussina.

  40. Howdy folks; my first-ever blog. Certainly Mussina compiled a better won-loss record, and the career walk/strikeout totals are closer than I anticipated. I don't buy the argument that postseason success determines the greater player (why aren't all the all-time great Yankees?), but Schilling's postseason dominance certainly counts for something. The 'one game' argument favors Schilling, but I believe both deserve the honor; Mussina's the 'Don Sutton' definition (though at a higher level), and Schilling's the 'Sandy Koufax' definition (though not quite so dominant). However, for pitchers, John, Morris and Blyleven ought to go in first.

  41. Matt Young Says:

    John Q:

    Agreed on Trammell --he would have went in if it wasn't for the SS offensive era. Alomar is a shoo-in next year with Blyleven. Larkin will get in b/w years 5-8. Sorry, Whitaker and Grich were nice players but not HoF's. Grich was better than Whitaker.

    I voted Schilling.

  42. DoubleDiamond Says:

    I voted for Schilling, but I don't know why. Schilling upset me by wanting out of Philadelphia when he did, and Mussina upset me in my final years of being an Orioles fan by deserting them not just for anyone but for the hated Yankees. Perhaps I'd still be an Orioles fan if they had experienced a few more good years with Mussina on the team.

  43. DoubleDiamond,

    You'd probably be an Orioles fan also if their drafting and ridiculous free agent contracts to downhill players weren't so brutal either. Not even Adam "Pacman" Jones in CF can save them!!!

  44. Matt Young Says:

    I just came across this below --A perfect example why neutralized numbers the way they're being calculated here are skewd. Yes, Pettitte has benefited greatly by being on good teams that win, but please saying his numbers would compare to Millwood, Wakefield and L. Hernandez is a joke. All three of these guys have ERA+ 97-107 and WAR 23-32. Pettitte ERA+ 117 and his WAR is 50.

    His excellent W-L record seems to be at least partially a product of playing on such good teams. He came to the Yankees in 1995 when they made the playoffs for the first time in a long time and has never pitched for a poor team. His ERA+ is only 116 which, while very respectable, is not excellent. His neutralized pitching totals tell the story. They say his record should be (gulp) 162-146, a whopping 67 wins fewer than he has. This means that if he hadn't been on the Yankees, he'd be much closer to a .500 pitcher in all likelihood. This would give him numbers more like Tim Wakefield, Livan Hernandez, or Kevin Millwood. These are all good pitchers but clearly not HOFers.

  45. pettitte is 18-9 in the postseason.

  46. Matt Young, I wrote that, right? That was before I heard the many objections to the way neutralized stats work on B-R.com.

  47. Matt Young Says:

    Andy, I'll have to check --I should have noticed. Yes, it was. No big deal. I just cringe when I see this Neutralized Number used. I saw someone else's calculation of this somewhere it had Pettitte at 216-157 --that would seem more like it.

    As for someone to add to the borderline HoF list, Dave Parker. Don't know if I'd vote for him, but you could argue he was as good as Jim Rice when you take defense into consideration. His WAR of 37 hurts.

  48. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Matt - agreed on the Neutralizing comments. Like we are supposed to believe that Mickey Welch is a 623- 189 W-L, .767 W%, 2.19 ERA pitcher.

  49. Matt Young,

    I have to disagree with you on Whitaker & Grich. Whitaker ranks 55th all time in WAR, Grich ranks 65th all-time in war. Grich is probably better because of a better peak.

    Here's how the top 20 2b in WAR rank, I put an asterisk next to the HOF players:

    *Rogers Hornsby-127.8
    *Eddie Collins-126.7
    *Nap Lajoie-104.2
    *Joe Morgan-103.5
    *Charlie Gehringer-80.9
    *Frankie Frisch-74.8
    Lou Whitaker-69.7
    Bobby Grich-67.6
    N/ECraig Biggio-66.7
    Roberto Alomar-63.5
    *Jackie Robinson-63.2
    *Ryne Sandberg-62.0
    Willie Randolph-60.5
    N/E-Jeff Kent-59.4
    *Bid McPhee-57.9
    *Billy Herman-55.6
    *Joe Gordon-54.9
    *Johnny Evers-48.4
    *Tony Lazzeri-48.3
    *Bobby Doerr-47.7

    Here's the other two HOF 2b that didn't finish in the top 30:

    *Red Schoedienst-40.4
    *Bill Mazeroski-26.9

    There's 17 HOF 2b, Bid Mcphee/Ryne Sandberg would be the median HOF 2b with 57-60 WAR. Both Grich & Whitaker have over 65 WAR and should be solid HOF members.

  50. Matt Young Says:

    I have to agree to a degree, I actually thought Whitaker's WAR was in the 40's --I must have mixed him up with someone. I'm wrong. I'm still not sure they are HoF's though. Certainly Trammell is getting the short-end of things. I agree, growing up and watching him play in the 80's everyone agreed he was a HoFer. I guess playing in Detroit as the best infield tandem of the 80's hasn't helped either. If the two played in NY they would have been in already--certainly Trammell. Interesting though, Randolph has a 60.5 WAR and I wouldn't consider him a HoF. Why is Jeff Kent lower (59)?--I consider him a lock, even though he was a bit of an aloof dude. Biggio a higher WAR than Alomar. Interesting, WAR is certainly a "counting" number in many ways and should certainly not be the only thing looked at. Morgan, what a career. It was nice to see Gordon get in. Yes, he only played something like 11 years, but it was almost all at peak....his offensive numbers were great for the time. Given he played in NY, it's amazing he didn't get in long ago. I guess he was overshadowed by others at the time. Grich and Whitaker are two really good players without signature moments. Trammell I believe won the World Series MVP 84 and should have won season MVP in 87. Also, Sandberg literally carried the Cubs to the playoffs a couple years.

    I think we agree that Trammell should be in -- how about a poll on him? And, I agree Whitaker and Grich are borderline.

  51. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    trammel should be in. I voted for him with Raines (who won the B-R vote) a close second in the "who most deserves it of current eligible non-HoF position players" poll a while back.

    I voted for Moose. But it's very close. I identified Schilling as borderline a while back, but the more I look at his career, the more I put him up with the second tier guys who clearly belong in a non-small hall. I'm kind of surprised that both MM and CS just fail to reach the 75% threshold here. They are both clearly better than a lot of people in the hall, and to my mind roughly equal to Glavine (look at career WAR for the three of them) who some people thought was a sanity test.

  52. Matt Young,

    Yeah, you have to look at peak as well. Gordon missed time because of the War, Robinson because of segregation.

    The one thing that's interesting about Whitaker is that when he retired in 1995 he was 5th all time for HR by a second basemen with 244. He was a also an excellent defensive second basemen who should have won more gold gloves but had Frank White to contend with. Having a 2b with power and great defense was extremely rare for most of BB history.

    Whitaker suffers like Tramell with the rise of sluggers in the middle infield positions during the late 90's early 00's. I think you have point to steroid use with guys like Bret Boone, Jay Bell.

    It's interesting, from 1876-1995 2b only hit 30+ Home runs in a season 12 times, 9 times over 30, 3 times over 40. Then from 1996-2009, 14 seasons, 2b hit 30+ 18 times!!

    Randolph was a tremendously underrated player.

    Jeff Kent was kind of average as a defensive player. But what's really odd, is that Kent didn't really start to have great seasons until he was 30 years old. His Ops+ from age 24-29 was 106+, his Ops+ from ages 30-40 was 130+ It's an odd aging pattern that might hint of steroid use. He had 14.5 WAR from the ages of 24-29 and 44.9 WAR from the ages of 30-40. His seven best seasons except for one happened after he was 30 years old. The strike may have affected that a little. What's odd too is that he was hitting Behind Bonds almost all of his career in SF, so it's not like he saw better pitches because of Bonds' success.

  53. Both Mussina and Schilling deserve to be in.

    It's disturbing how underrated Mussina is. A lot of people seem to forget just how good he was with the Orioles. He had a 13-year prime (91-03), along with a good 2006 and good 2008. How many pitchers in the last 30 years have had 15 good-to-great years? Compare Mussina's numbers from his 91-03 prime with a no-doubt HOFer like Glavine in his prime (91-02) and you'll find that the numbers are very similar.

    He did it all in the AL during the steroid era, spending of most of his prime in a bandbox (Camden Yards consistently ranked in the top 5 HR parks while Mussina was an Oriole). I'm not one that usually harps on how the AL is so dominant and I don't get too wrapped up in all the steroid controversies, but seriously, look at the lineups he's faced (and dominated).

    For those who need the win totals and round-number milestones, consider this: those who get to 300 wins always have 600+ starts. Even the best pitchers can be expected to win about half of their career starts, at best. Mussina won more than half his starts and got to 270. Had he hung around for 2-3 more years, perhaps he could have gotten to 300. And then he'd be a "slam dunk" HOFer. But if you feel that way, yet think he's not worthy now, you're basically saying you'd be putting him in solely based on those last 2-3 years of his career, which probably would not rank among his 10-12 best seasons. Seems illogical.

    As for the 20-win stuff, in 1994 he won 16 of 24 starts. It's safe to say he could have won 4 of his last 10-12 if not for the strike. In 1995, he won 19 games in a 144-game season. He would have had 3 or 4 more starts to get one win if not for the strike. And in 1996, he won 19 games. In his final start of the season in Toronto, he led 2-1 after 8 innings. They put in Benitez for the 9th, who proceeded to give up a bomb to Ed Sprague. The O's won in the 10th, but no 20th win for Mussina. So the strike and one pitch from Armando Benitez prevented him from winning 20 three years in a row. How would the nay-sayers feel with three back-to-back "20's" in his win column?

    Look, all pitchers have to deal with relievers blowing their wins. But guess which seasons Mussina lost the most wins because of his bullpen? 1992 (4), 1999 (4) and 2002 (5). He had 18 wins in each of those seasons. As it is, Mussina had one 20-win season. A few breaks here or there and he could have had seven. And somehow this would make a drastic difference in the minds of some people. I'm not saying we should treat him as though he *did* win 20 seven times. I'm saying the fact that judging pitchers on round numbers and things that have nothing to do with his actual performance is wrong.

    As for the postseason, you might want to actually look at the games Mussina pitched instead of glancing at his winning percentage and assuming you've come to an insightful conclusion:

    In '97, he made four starts: 29 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 7 BB, 41 SO. That's a 1.24 ERA, 0.62 WHIP and 12.7 K/9. Against the 97 Mariners and 97 Indians. Check out the lineups for those teams. And in two of those games he beat Randy Johnson. I'd say that's pretty dominant.

    2001:
    @ OAK: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, W
    @ SEA: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, W
    @ ARI, Game 1: Bad start, 3 IP, 5 R, 3 ER - someone posted the box score above in attempt to illustrate his entire career based off one game.
    vs ARI, Game 5, series tied 2-2: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 10 SO, No-decision

    His only start in the 2003 World Series was Game 3 (He would have pitched Game 7):
    @ FLA: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 SO, W (beat Beckett)

    Because of the Yankees' collapse and the bloody sock, a lot of people also forget that in Game 1 of the '04 ALCS, Mussina beat Schilling and retired the first 19 Red Sox of the game, taking a perfect game into the 7th inning.

    Mussina actually had a 13 game-stretch in the playoffs from 97-05 where he had a 1.98 ERA. If you take out just one bad start in that stretch, his ERA in the other 12 starts was 1.40.

    And while he played for some very good offensive teams, guess how many runs his team scored for him in his playoff starts:

    4, 2, 9, 3, 1, 0, 1, 3, 1, 3, 5, 1, 2, 2, 6, 0, 10, 4, 4, 3, 3

    Average: 3.19 runs per game. The offenses hit .229/.312/.343 as a team in his starts. These are teams which in the regular season averaged between 4.99 and 5.82 runs per game. Yes, runs are harder to come by in general in the playoffs, but the fact is he usually got little to no support in the playoffs.

    All this stuff about Mussina not being dominant enough or not being a "big-game pitcher" is just ridiculous. The guy is a Hall of Famer. So is Schilling. No one denies that Maddux, Clemens, Johnson and Pedro were the best four pitchers of their era. Glavine is next. All five should be in. But it doesn't mean that guys like Mussina, Schilling and Smoltz shouldn't be in too. If people continue to hold pitchers to impossible, unreasonable, outdated HOF standards, after the Maddux/Clemens/Johnson/Pedro/Glavine group goes in, we literally may not see another starting pitcher ever make it.

  54. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I took that post more seriously before I saw it was written by Moose.

  55. Matt Young Says:

    A tragedy that Whitaker, Simmons and even Cone didn't make it past a first vote.

  56. Matt,

    I should have put Simmons on my top ten list. Simmons was just a strange awful omission from the HOF ballot. He made 7 all star teams in 70's, constantly received MVP votes, etc. I think what hurt him were those last 3-5 years in Atlanta and Milwaukee when he was a mediocre DH/1b. He would have been perceived more highly if he had retired after the '83 or '85 season.

    Catchers in general are very underrated by baseball. For some strange reason their offensive numbers are compared to other position players instead of being put in the context of playing the most demanding position on the field. Joe Mauer should already have 3 MVP awards, '06, '08 and '09. Simmons, Tenace, Freehan, Posada, Porter, Sunberg, Parrish and Kendell are among the most underrated players of the last 40-50 years.

    Here's the top 25 list in career WAR, for players who spent at least 50% of their time as catcher:

    *Johnny Bench-71.3
    N/E-Ivan Rodriguez-67.7
    *Carlton Fisk-67.3
    *Gary Carter-66.3
    *Yogi Berra-61.9
    *Mike Piazza-59.1
    *Bill Dickey-54.4
    *Mickey Cochrane-51.2
    Ted Simmons-50.4
    *Gabby Hartnett-50.3

    Gene Tenace-48.7
    Jorge Posada-45.7
    Wally Schang-43.8
    Thurman Munson-43.4
    Bill Freehan-43.3
    *Roger Bresnahan-41.7
    Darrell Porter-40.6
    *Ernie Lombardi-39.0
    Charlie Bennett-38.0
    Jason Kendall-37.5

    *Roy Campanella-36.2
    Lance Parrish-35.7
    Joe Mauer-35.3
    Jim Sundberg-35.1
    Jack Clements-31.9
    Smoky Burgess-31.8
    Sherm Lollar-29.9
    Tom Haller-29.3
    Ed Bailey-28.7
    Walker Cooper-28.4

    Two other HOF catchers:
    *Rick Ferrell-22.9
    *Ray Schalk-22.6

    There's only 13 catchers in the HOF and two of the selections (Ferrell & Schalk) were horrible choices. It's one of the least represented positions in the HOF. Campanella's career was cut short because of the accident and a little bit in the beginning because of segregation, strangely Munson was never given the same benefit.

  57. My bad on Campanella, he was already 36 at the time of the accident and already on downturn for two years. Campanella didn't have a full season in the majors until he was 27 years old during the 1949 season. For some reason I thought he was younger than that. So he should be looked upon like Jackie Robinson.

    The Munson/Campanella analogy doesn't really hold water.

  58. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Schalk was apparently a tremendous defensive catcher. We don't have the ability to quantify that very well even now, let alone 90 years ago. He also managed a lengthy career for a catcher of his time, usually playing a lot more defensive games than others each season. Before a number of great catchers arrived in the '20s, he may have had a case as the premier catcher of the early 20th century. He may not deserve the HOF but I would want to investigate it further and would not dismiss him based on his low WAR. (It would be interesting to know how their peers compared he and Wally Schang.)

  59. Matt Young Says:

    Yeah, the more I delve into the numbers, which i love to do, Whitaker and Simmons should probably get in eventually as should Trammell as of like yesterday. Being a scientist (ornithologist; there's an odd combo, a scientist and a diehard sports fan) I do have a a pretty good understanding of what goes into these statistics. I do try to look at the formulas. With that said, I also know that numbers do not by any means tell the whole story. Sometimes numbers don't add up and correlation coefficients of .79 mean little (closer to 1 being highly correlated). I also believe in the visual analysis -- As someone said, watching Trammell you knew he was a HoFer. His WAR only confirms that. Blyleven is a HoFer based on lots of things, but I'll continue to say, however unpopular it might be, Morris is too. Morris was more than a horse, he was an ace as well during his time. Yes, one can easily be wowed by his 10 inning 7th game shutout of the World series, but growing up and watching him, he was a HoFer based on more than just his two WS. He was always on the leader board (Gray Ink), was one of the the best 3 pitchers of his era (won the most), and he literally won two World Series for his teams. He probably should have been co-MVP with Trammell in 84. Additionally, a closer look at his first two runs through the World Series yields a 7-0 record in 71.1 innings with ERA around 1.95. Perhaps this is cherry-picking. I don't know if he's a HoFer, but he's surely a borderliner. He did win 254 games and did receive 7 top 10 Cy Youngs. Interesting, the last World Series he pitched he got bombed even though Toronto won and he went 21-6 during the regular season. During his era, good to great pitchers like Dwight Gooden and Dave Stieb flamed out too early. Even Stieb, which was perhaps the best pitcher in the 80's, had a lifetime ERA of 3.45, which is still somewhat high. Other good ones at that time such as Finley, Sutcliffe, Stewart (perhaps best 4 years of the 80's) and others all had high ERA's. Was it truly that bad for pitching or is there more to it?

    Is there any chance the calculation for WAR needs to be tweaked given Jack's era was between the second deadball era and the juiced era. The pendulum swung drastically in a matter of 10-15 years. Just a thought. Was baseball full of juice more than we realize in the early 80's even though it wasn't suspected as much until late 80's/early 90's? I know WAR and ERA+ try to take all this into consideration, but does it catch all the shifts as quickly as it should. Does it under-calibrate or over-calibrate? Is there a lag or more beneath the surface. I know much of it is based on real raw numbers, but is there something we're missing? Are there lurking possibilities not taken into consideration or was Morris' era simply just that bad for pitching?

    Who were the HoFer's from the 80's to mid 90's: Henderson, Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Ryan Sandberg, Dennis Eckersly, Ozzie Smith, Molitor, Murray, Brett, Yount, Puckett, Sutter, Schmidt, Fisk (perhaps) and a handful of others that started long before him. Two relievers and no starters from that period? Yes, you had Ryan, Blyleven, Sutton, Perry, Niekro, Carlton, Palmer and others all either near the end or past their peaks during the same time period. Just food for thought.

  60. Matt Young Says:

    In everyone's opinion, who were the 10 best pitchers during the 80's? It's such a weird decade. Not necessarily in order at all but I 'd say Saberhagen, Stieb, Morris, Viola, Clemens, Welch, Hershiser, Sutcliffe, Fernando and maybe Gooden (6 years in 80's) Blyleven or Stewart? Is Mike Scott in the group? From 77-92 there were 7 closers/relievers that won the Cy: Sutter, Eck, Lyle, Bedrosian, Fingers, Davis, and Hernendez. Before 1977 only Marshall won in 74 and after 92 only Gagne won in 2003.

  61. Johnny Twisto,

    Schalk did, indeed, play more often. In fact, he claimed he would have played 'em all in 1920, if he hadn't suffered a real bad sunburn on a day-off trip to Atlantic City!

    This apparently a bit of hyperbole, or maybe memory loss, as two of the three games he missed came within the span of a few days, after the Sox had made stops in Philly and Washington during a long road trip.

    He claimed it was on a "Blue Sunday" off-day in Philly, but there was no such day prior to when he missed the two games. The Philly visit was a Monday-Thursday series, in a stretch of 15 consecutive game dates.

    He missed the second game of a twinbill on May 29th, and the first of two on May 31st. He did not miss any game days, however.

    The other was a single contest in Washington on July 12th that did follow a Sunday off-day in Philly. That may be the stretch he was remembering, but he had already missed the previously-stated other two games.

    Regardless, according to his SABR bio, he did catch nearly 80% of all ChiSox games from 1913-'26. In that regard, he was Pudge Rodriguez before Pudge was even thought of.

  62. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Matt, I don't think Morris's era was bad for pitching, but it does seem like it was bad for pitchERS. I don't think Morris is a HOFer, but I don't dismiss him as easily as others simply because he did manage a long, quality career at a time when superior pitchers all seemed to burn out quickly. I really don't know why this was. It's not limited to pitchers; a lot of the top players of the era seemed to fall short of "sure HOF careers. This happens in every era but it seems like it was more common in the 1980s. Cocaine might be part of it.

    As for adjusting WAR, I am not sure if I understand your questions. Should WAR adjust for steroids, or possible steroid use? No, that's not what it is intended to do. It estimates a replacement level, based on being about two wins worse than average, it estimates runs created or saved, and adds it all up. You as a (hypothetical) HOF voter can make whatever subjective adjustments you like, but I don't know what changes you think should be applied to WAR. Whether players were taking steroids in the '80s or not (I'm sure they were), league scoring rates were what they were, and that's notably less than they were from '93 on.

    Now, one thing that should be taken into account is that it seems like it was a lot harder to dominate in the '80s. The best players in any particular season were not as far from the mean as in other eras. Why was this? Was the quality of play so high that it was harder to stand out? Were the best players of the time simply not as good as the best players of other times? I don't think there is any easy way to answer this -- there's probably no way it can be definitively answered -- but I think any serious HOF analysis has to consider those issues, especially when trying to compare things like OPS+ or WAR which are supposed to control for era and context.

  63. Matt Young Says:

    Thanks Johnny. Offensively, plenty of players dominated in the 80's (yes, some offensive players burned out too), but pitchers did not. No, I don't think it should adjust for steroids --you just can't do that. However, is it (i.e ERA+) properly accounting for the changes between the second deadball era, the juice era and the time between. Is the replacement level solely based on the average of the players at that time?

    So, the consensus is there just isn't a single starting pitcher from 1980-1995 that should go in the Hall?

    What pitchers from the 1980-1995 have the best WAR and ERA+?

  64. Johnny Twisto Says:

    ERA+ is based on park-adjusted league average ERA.
    So yes, it accounts for the changes in the way it is intended to. A 3.00 ERA might be an ERA+ of 100 in 1968, 130 in 1985, or 170 in 2000.

    The question is whether all ERA+ of 130 are "equal." They are equal in that those ERAs are the same percentage better than the league-average ERA. But it might be more difficult to be that much better than average in some eras.

    I don't think it's a consensus that no pitchers from that era should go in. It's just hard to find consensus on who should, because a lot of pitchers whose primes occurred in the '80s have very flawed candidacies. I'm sure some people support Stieb, or Gooden. Some people support pitchers whose careers are not primarily centered in that era, but played into the start of it or at the end of it.

    Top 5 WAR 1980-1995:
    Clemens, Stieb, Saberhagen, Maddux, Langston

    Top 5 ERA+ (min 2000 IP):
    Clemens, Maddux, Saberhagen, Stieb, Key

  65. Schalk was great defensively but wasn't much with the bat, 83ops+, .253/.340/.656, That would be like electing Bob Boone to the HOF.

    I have to disagree about Jack Morris, he was a very good pitcher but he was on some great teams and what's left out is those Tiger teams were excellent defensively up the middle with Trammell, Whitaker, Parish and Lemon. Then he was on a good Twins team with excellent defense and a good Blue Jays team with excellent defense. A very good pitcher that looked better because of his W/L record on the teams he was on.

    Even without WAR his career doesn't look that great

    He had a career 105ERA+, which isn't that great when you consider the defense that played behind him.

    He only had 1 season in the top 5 in era+, only 4 seasons in the top 10

    He only had 1 season in the top 5 k/bb, only 3 seasons in the top 10

    He only finished 1 season in the top ten in hr/9

    He only finished in the top 5 in k/9 twice, top 10 five times.

    He's 19th all time in base on balls.

    He lead the league in wild pitches 6 times, second twice. How many wild pitches would he have thrown if he didn't have Lance Parish behind the plate? I think WAR is very fair towards Morris.

  66. Here's the top 20 from 1980-1995 in WAR:

    Dave Stieb-51.5
    Bret Saberhagen-48.9
    Greg Maddux-48.3
    Mark Langston-45.9
    Orel Hershiser-45.5
    Frank Viola-44.4
    Dwight Gooden-41.2
    Dennis Martinez-40.9
    Nolan Ryan-40.0
    David Cone-39.6

    Tom Candiotti-38.9
    Bob Welch-38.2
    Jimmy Key-37.6
    Fernando Valenzuela-36.2
    Charlie Hough-34.2
    Danny Darwin-34.2
    Mark Gubicza-34.1
    Bert Blyleven-33.8
    Jack Morris-33.2
    Chuck Finley-33.1

    Here's the top era+ from 1980-1995 minimum 2000 innings:

    Roger Clemens-146
    Greg Maddux-137
    Bret Saberhagen-126
    Dave Stieb-125
    Jimmy Key-124
    Orel Hershiser-120
    Dwight Gooden-116
    Tom Candiotti-115
    Frank Viola-114
    Nolan Ryan-112

    Doug Drabek-112
    Mark Langston-111
    Mark Gubicza-111
    Danny Darwin-109
    Dennis Martinez-109
    Charlie Leibrandt-108
    Mike Boddicker-108
    Bert Blyleven-108
    Charlie Hough-107
    Bob Welch-105

    Mike Witt-105
    Fernando Valenzuela-104
    Bruce Hurst-104
    Doyle Alexander-104
    Jack Morris-104

  67. Morris played from 1977-1994, so to be fair to Morris I wanted to look at who were the top 25 during the "Jack morris era" roughly 2 years before he started and two years after he retired.

    Here's the top 25 career WAR for pitchers 1975-1996:

    N/E-Roger Clemens-74.8
    Bert Blyleven-60.8
    *Nolan Ryan-60.7
    *Dennis Eckersley-58.3
    *Phil Niekro-54.8
    N/E-Greg Maddux-54.6
    Rick Reuschel-54.1
    Dave Stieb-52.9
    Frank Tanana-49.7
    Dennis Martinez-49.2

    Bret Saberhagen-48.9
    Orel Hershiser-48.5
    *Tom Seaver-47.6
    Mark Langston-47.5
    Ron Guidry-44.4
    Dwight Gooden-44.1
    Frank Viola-43.9
    *Steve Carlton-42.8
    David Cone-42.2
    Bob Welch-41.9

    *Rich Gossage-41.5
    Jimmy Key-40.5
    Steve Rogers-40.3
    Jack Morris-39.3
    Fernando Valenzuela-38.9

    *-Elected to HOF.

  68. Matt Young Says:

    And add Morris to above at 39.1

  69. Matt Young Says:

    My bad, I looked at the list too quick.

  70. Matt Young Says:

    What about top 25 Cy Young Shares during that time of 1977-94? --I know it's a media driven vote.

  71. I tend to lean a bit toward Mussina, but it's very close and I think they are both deserving and ought to go in. Here's why:

    It's an argument made but not quite in this way: Mussina pitched his whole career in the AL. That's an entire career of DH's, of no pitchers, of stronger overall lineups (in this era at least), and you can obviously make that a little stronger if you make it "AL East".*

    I'm not saying we don't have statistics that adjust the raw statistcis for leagues (and parks) -- we do -- but those same statistics don't tell us the strain it puts on a pitcher, physically or mentally, to have to face Ortiz instead of Dice-K 3 or 4 times a game, (almost) every game, for 20 years.

    In other words, if Mussina and Schilling are roughly neck-in-neck on adjusted career value, I find it far more impressive that Mussina did it in the AL. More impressive, in fact, than Schilling's absurd postseason dominance.

    *Mussina started the full season in 1992 and 2008 was his last. No postseason in 1994, and in the other 16 seasons, a team from the AL East was in the World Series 11 times -- 69%! If you take away 2001/2003, since he was on those teams, it's 9/14, or 64%.

  72. Here's the top in MLB for pitchers WAR, 1978-1992, roughly the time Morris was a full-time starter:

    1978:
    1. Niekro (ATL) 9.1
    2. Guidry (NYY) 8.5
    3. Caldwell (MIL) 7.5
    4. Knepper (SFG) 6.5
    5. Eckersley (BOS) 6.4
    6. Goltz (MIN) 6.1
    7. Matlack (TEX) 6.1
    Palmer (BAL) 6.1
    9. Blue (SFG) 5.8
    10. Swan (NYM) 5.7

    1979:

    1. Eckersley (BOS) 6.8
    2. Niekro (ATL) 6.7
    3. Koosman (MIN) 6.5
    4. Richard (HOU) 6.0
    Guidry (NYY) 6.0
    6. Monge (CLE) 5.3
    7. Reuschel (CHC) 5.2
    John (NYY) 5.2
    9. Morris (DET) 5.1
    10. Kern (TEX) 5.0

    1980:
    1. Carlton (PHI) 9.4
    2. Burns (CHW) 6.8
    3. Sutton (LAD) 6.0
    4. Corbett (MIN) 5.9
    5. Gura (KCR) 5.8
    Norris (OAK) 5.8
    7. Rogers (MON) 5.7
    8. Clancy (TOR) 5.5
    Reuschel (CHC) 5.5
    10. May (NYY) 5.0
    Blue (SFG) 5.0

    1981:

    1. Carlton (PHI) 5.4
    Valenzuela (LAD) 5.4
    3. Blyleven (CLE) 4.9
    4. Ryan (HOU) 4.5
    5. Reuss (LAD) 4.2
    Seaver (CIN) 4.2
    McCatty (OAK) 4.2
    Stieb (TOR) 4.2
    9. Fingers (MIL) 4.1
    10. Knepper (HOU) 3.9

    1982:
    1. Rogers (MON) 8.4
    2. Niekro (HOU) 7.1
    3. Soto (CIN) 7.0
    4. Stieb (TOR) 6.8
    5. Andujar (STL) 5.8
    6. Minton (SFG) 5.7
    Carlton (PHI) 5.7
    8. Valenzuela (LAD) 5.4
    9. Sutcliffe (CLE) 5.2
    10. Berenyi (CIN) 4.9

    1983:
    . Denny (PHI) 7.1
    2. Soto (CIN) 6.6
    3. Stieb (TOR) 6.4
    4. Carlton (PHI) 5.5
    5. Quisenberry (KCR) 5.3
    6. McGregor (BAL) 5.1
    7. Dotson (CHW) 4.9
    Guidry (NYY) 4.9
    9. McMurtry (ATL) 4.8
    Young (SEA) 4.8

    1984:
    1. Stieb (TOR) 7.7
    2. Blyleven (CLE) 6.2
    3. Alexander (TOR) 5.6
    4. Gooden (NYM) 5.4
    5. Rhoden (PIT) 5.2
    6. Pena (LAD) 5.1
    7. Hernandez (DET) 4.8
    Beattie (SEA) 4.8
    9. Boddicker (BAL) 4.7
    Mahler (ATL) 4.7
    Sutter (STL) 4.7
    Soto (CIN) 4.7

    1985:
    1. Gooden (NYM) 11.7
    2. Tudor (STL) 7.5
    3. Saberhagen (KCR) 6.7
    4. Stieb (TOR) 6.5
    5. Leibrandt (KCR) 6.3
    6. Blyleven (2TM) 6.0
    7. Reuschel (PIT) 5.9
    8. Hershiser (LAD) 5.8
    9. Hough (TEX) 5.7
    10. Moore (SEA) 5.6
    Valenzuela (LAD) 5.6

    1986:
    1. Higuera (MIL) 8.4
    2. Clemens (BOS) 7.9
    3. Scott (HOU) 7.8
    4. Eichhorn (TOR) 6.4
    5. Rhoden (PIT) 6.1
    6. Witt (CAL) 5.7
    7. Valenzuela (LAD) 5.5
    8. Ojeda (NYM) 4.7
    Morris (DET) 4.7
    10. Darling (NYM) 4.6
    Key (TOR) 4.6
    Candiotti (CLE) 4.6

    1987:
    1. Clemens (BOS) 8.4
    2. Viola (MIN) 7.6
    3.Saberhagen (KCR) 7.0
    4. Hershiser (LAD) 6.7
    5. Key (TOR) 6.6
    Welch (LAD) 6.6
    7. Higuera (MIL) 6.1
    8. Alexander (2TM) 5.8
    9. Scott (HOU) 5.7
    10. Sutcliffe (CHC) 5.6

    1988:
    1. Gubicza (KCR) 7.3
    Hershiser (LAD) 7.3
    3. Higuera (MIL) 7.0
    Viola (MIN) 7.0
    5. Clemens (BOS) 6.7
    6. Cone (NYM) 5.8
    7. Langston (SEA) 5.6
    8. Swindell (CLE) 5.5
    9. Candiotti (CLE) 5.4
    10. Tudor (2TM) 5.2

    1989:
    1. Saberhagen (KCR) 8.6
    2. Hershiser (LAD) 6.9
    3. Hurst (SDP) 6.6
    4. Langston (2TM) 6.1
    5. Whitson (SDP) 6.0
    6. Gubicza (KCR) 5.8
    7. Blyleven (CAL) 5.5
    8. Clemens (BOS) 5.3
    9. Moore (OAK) 5.2
    10. Bosio (MIL) 5.1
    Maddux (CHC) 5.1

    1990:
    1. Clemens (BOS) 9.5
    2. Finley (CAL) 7.5
    3. Whitson (SDP) 6.5
    4. Viola (NYM) 6.3
    5. Stieb (TOR) 5.6
    6. Boddicker (BOS) 5.4
    7. Rijo (CIN) 5.3
    8. Darwin (HOU) 5.2
    9. Hurst (SDP) 5.1
    10. Martinez (MON) 4.9

    1991:
    1. Clemens (BOS) 7.5
    2. Glavine (ATL) 7.4
    3. Abbott (CAL) 7.0
    4. Candiotti (2TM) 6.8
    5. Langston (CAL) 6.7
    6. Tapani (MIN) 6.0
    7. Martinez (MON) 5.5
    8. Saberhagen (KCR) 5.0
    Morgan (LAD) 5.0
    Bosio (MIL) 5.0

    1992:
    1. Maddux (CHC) 8.4
    2. Clemens (BOS) 7.9
    3. Appier (KCR) 7.6
    4. Mussina (BAL) 7.4
    5. Viola (BOS) 6.1
    6. Tewksbury (STL) 6.0
    7. Nagy (CLE) 5.7
    8. Abbott (CAL) 5.5
    Fernandez (NYM) 5.5
    10. Perez (NYY) 5.4
    Schilling (PHI) 5.4

  73. Matt Young Says:

    Well, obviously there's no chance when assessing just the WAR :-) ...and yes, WAR is a pretty inclusive stat, but not the only stat. However, seems that wins can be more often overrated, but can also sometimes be underrated. Some of the names on these lists are pretty funny --definitely seems most of these guys either flamed out too fast, couldn't string enough good seasons together or also had high ERA's. I don't think Jack pitched to the score, at least not most of the time (it's sort of ridiculous concept), and he wasn't the strikeout pitcher are the control guy that boosts your WAR, but he did just flat out win. Here's to Kevin Brown Mr. Never Won a Big Game to going into the Hall. :-) You are awesome coming up with these lists so fast Johnny Twisto. Much appreciated by all.

  74. Matt Young Says:

    The kudos for the lists needs to go to John Q. Thanks.

  75. Yeah, I think Jack Morris is a good example of how W/L record overrates or underrates pitchers.

    Morris was in a very good situation. He came to the Tigers when they weren't very good and established himself as a starter. When they got good he benefited from run support and great defense. After he left the Tigers, he was on some very good teams that inflated his W/L record. He was pretty awful from 1992-1994 with a 5.05 ERA and 85+era but he put up a 38-24 record because he was on great teams. Even from 1988-1994 he had a 4.48 era with a 92era+ and ended up with a 92-81 record.

    Even without WAR let's look at it objectively:

    IMO, Morris was a very good pitcher who looks better than he really was because of the teams he played with inflated his W/L record.

    On the positive side he was a extremely durable pitcher who was an innings eater who could strike out people and was one of the best pitchers in BB during his peak of 1979-1987.

    On the negative side he walked far too many batter and didn't have a very good K/BB. For a relatively long career, he only appeared on the top 10 K/BB list, 3 times in his career and only once in the top five. He only finished in the top 10 for HR/9 once in a long career. He greatly benefited greatly from his up the middle defense on the Tigers.

    Other than his 1991 season, he wasn't a very good pitcher from 1988-1994 era+95, yet he was able to pile up 91 wins because of the caliber of his teams.

    He's also odd in a sense because of the time period of his peak years. It was kind of an in-between period of great pitchers from the 60's ending their careers and great pitchers of the late 80's-90's not beginning their careers. The great 60's-70's pitchers like Seaver, Niekro, Carlton, Perry, Ryan, Palmer were ending their careers and pitchers like Maddux, Clemens, Gooden, Hershiser, and Cone wouldn't begin their careers until the mid-80's.

  76. I also think Morris' post-season record is very selective and doesn't tell the whole story, I think the media focus too much on the 1991 & 1984 WS and selectively forget the rest, let's take a look.

    1984 lcs & WS. Great performances
    1987 lcs, Horrible, 6.75 era
    1991 lcs, ok, 4.05 era
    1991 WS Great performance
    1992 Lcs, Horrible, 6.57 era
    1992 WS, Horrible, 8.44 era

    In 1993 he was on the Blue Jays and I don't even think he was on the post season roster. Overall he had a 3.80 post era which is roughly what his career era is.

  77. Matt Young Says:

    There's clearly some disconnect between sportswriters/hall people and statheads on how Morris pitched. I think the wins overrate him, but also some stats underrate him. I tend to think the truth lies in the middle somewhere. The later years, when he was mostly bad according to stats, he was a hired gun for some reason-- I guess GM's were all delusional in what they thought of Jack as well. I guess synopsis is, had a good peak from 79-87, was mostly bad from 88-94, but even during his bad years he could come up and pitch a big game when it was absolutely needed. It'll be interesting to see if Morris gets in or not. I think his best shots are 2012 and his last year. I can hear people cringing now. :-) Sorry though, Brown is just as overrated. Other than a really good ALDS, he never pitched great in a must win game. Schilling, who has similar overall numbers, did just that!...as did Smoltzy. In fact, Smoltzy was by far Atlanta's best playoff pitcher.

  78. Matt Young Says:

    From 84-91 he had one bad post-season start. Up to that point he was 7-0 with an under 2 ERA. He was MVP of the 91 series and probably should have been Co-MVP with Trammell in 84. He was the ace in 84 and 91. He flamed out at the end for sure. I'm now more on the side of the fence that he shouldn't get in, but there are anomalies. Why is Niekro's WPA 14, while borderline HoFers are mostly in the mid 20's (WPA) and HoFer's are 28+. As much as John's WAR is 59 and Kaat's is 42, we all know they weren't hugely different pitchers. Kaat was a reliever his last 5-6 years and so his WAR never moved or went down while John toiled with 4-6 , 8-8 and 13-6 seasons but for most part kept gaining points here and there for 7 years. Clearly John has a better case than Kaat, but it's not a huge difference. I agree with Matthew --Tiant should probably be in, John is right on the proverbial fence, and Kaat is out. IMO, Morris has a better resume than Kaat's, but perhaps not as good as John's --he's out now in my book.

    How about Poll's on Brown, Cone and Trammell?

  79. I've often thought that they should give a Pitcher's MVP and a Hitter's MVP for the LCS/WS.

    Morris was 7-1 after the 1991 WS, and to be fair he pitched TWO bad games in the post season up to that point. Game 1 of the 1987 LCS and Game 1 of the 1991 ALCS. He was extremely lucky to get the win in game 1 of the 1991 Alcs, he didn't pitch a good game, he gave up 8 hits and 4 earned runs in only 5.1 innings pitched and if not for Willis/Aguilera bailing him out and Candiotti pitching like crap on the other side, he probably would have got a loss.

    And really you can't just cherry pick certain games to explain what a pitcher did. He pitched in 1992 and that's part of his post-season record. Frankly the Blue Jays won the Alcs & WS no thanks to Morris. He had 4 Horrible starts in the Alcs & WS and if it weren't for Guzman, Key and Cone, they don't win either series. Game 4 of the 1992 Alcs gets overlooked in Morris post-season career because he got a no decision, but he was horrible and deserved a loss. He gave up 5 hits, 5 bb, and 5 earned runs in only 3.1 innings pitched.

    So all together Morris had:

    2-Excellent post-season starts
    2-Very Good post-season starts
    2-Good post season starts
    1-Fair post season start
    2-Bad post season starts
    4-Horrible post-season games

    You can do the same thing with Kevin Brown. Take away his last start in the 2004 ALCS and he has a career 3.44 post-season era. And it's really not fair to say he never pitched a big game. He had a 0.97 division series ERA and pitched well in the NLCS.

  80. This seems to illustrate as well as anything the degree to which Morris's reputation as a great postseason pitcher rests on one game:

    His career postseason WPA is about 0.89.

    His WPA for '91 Game 7 was 0.84.

    So, his net WPA for the other twelve starts is only about 0.05. In half of them, he had negative WPA. His bad starts cancel out his good ones almost entirely.

  81. Tomorrow's HOF Poll post is about Jack Morris.

  82. mike aring Says:

    schilling is a definate... he did very well before winning the championship with the diamondbacks.
    Then a World Series co-mvp and then going to the Red Sox and helping (if not being the catalyst) for them winning the series in I don't remember how many years. Mussina was just a cog in the wheel!

  83. David J,

    Valid point on game #7 but to be fair, Morris was great in the 1984 AlCS and WS, and the two games he pitched in the 1991 world series. The problem is the media tend to focus on one or two things like game #7 in '91 or the 1984 WS while overlooking the rest of his post-season career. And it's not like Morris pitched a no-hitter or a one hitter in game 7, Morris gave up 7 hits in game #7. John Smoltz also pitched a great game. Also, if Lonnie Smith doesn't make a base-running error in the top of 8th the Braves probably win the series. As it was, the Braves had 2nd and 3rd with no out and didn't score. and had bases loaded with 1 out and didn't score.

    It seems like a pitcher's post-season productivity tends to even out over time to match his career era. The Same thing happened to Josh Beckett. It's kind of the law of averages, a guy with a 3.90 era won't continually put up 2.00 era's in post season series, eventually there will be a stinker.

  84. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    WPA does not adjust for park effects or quality of defense behind the pitcher. If TZ is right, than the Braves defense cost Niekro 110-120 runs. He also played in one of the NL's biggest hitters parks. Fix those two issue, and his WPA skyrockets.