Since 2000, there has been a wide divide between the BBWAA, sabermetric analysts and Detroit Tigers’ fans over whether Jack Morris qualifies as a Hall of Famer. Detractors of his candidacy point to his career ERA of 3.94 and sabermetric WAR of 4.44.
For fans of the Detroit Tigers, these two stats led to years of disappointment. Tigers fans insisted that he was indeed a Hall of Famer.
Jack Morris, Drive to Hall of Fame
The Early Years
Morris was drafted in the 5th round by the Detroit Tigers in 1976. It was, perhaps, the best draft in baseball history.
Morris was first brought up to the major league club on April 11, 1977. He replaced Mark, the Bird, Fidrych who had gone on the disabled after tearing cartilage in his knee.
After an up and down ’77 and ’78 season, he broke into the starting rotation in 1979. According to Morris, he was instructed by manager Sparky Anderson that it was his responsibility to go as deep into a game as possible.
This was a somewhat curious directive given by the man labeled as ‘Captain Hook’. A moniker Anderson earned through his tendency to bring in a relief pitcher, seemingly on a whim.
Morris followed that directive and went on to pitch 197.2 innings and finished the year with a 17 and 7 record and 3.28 ERA.