Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Do They Have a Chance: Morris, Mussina, Nomo & Palmeiro

Now on to the continuing series of do they belong in the hall.

Jack Morris:

With it being his 15th year on the ballot, its now or never for Jack Morris. Depending on your individual perspective, Jack Morris is either the greatest thing since sliced bread and his numbers are merely good all in the name of pitching to the score or he's merely a decent pitcher who stuck around for a long time compiling lots of numbers, an 80s style mustache and a very prominent moment of glory in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series (a game I remember watching but I think I feel asleep in the 7th or 8th inning).

Me, i'm more in the second camp. He had fairly pedestrian ERA+ (105), WHIP (1.296) and a propensity for wild pitches (leading the league six times). His win total was aided by pitching for a lot of teams that won a lot of games and despite the legend surrounding his post season mystique, his post-season numbers are good but not great (7-4 3.80 era 1.24 WHIP).

The Similarity Scores do treat him more favorably as five of these pitcher (Bob Gibson, Red Ruffing, Amos Rusie, Burleigh Grimes & Bob Feller) are in and two of the HOF Statistics used on Baseball-Reference (Gray Ink & Hall of Fame Monitor) give him favorable scores. However, the pitchers that are from earlier eras and the pitcher that ranked #1 (Dennis Martinez) didn't even survive his first trip on to the ballot. I think this one is a matter of perception and what things the voters weight more emphasis on. If I had a vote, I would not vote for Jack Morris.

Verdict: No

Mike Mussina:

Just turned 45 a couple days ago and who knows, he may be getting a present from Cooperstown. Mussina's case is stronger than Morris from many standpoints. From the traditional standpoint he had more wins (a given considering he was the best pitcher on some very good Baltimore & New York teams). He was a better pitcher period (123 ERA+), while he never won a Cy Young Award, he was in the top 10 in voting 9 different times (ranging from 1992 to 2008) so he was on top of his game for a very long time. It doesn't hurt that he finished his career on a strong point going 20-9 3.37era, 131 ERA+ in his last season at the age of 39 and could have made it to the mystical world of 300 wins if he decided to stick around for a couple more years. For me (at least) he gets bonus points for having some pretty rocking intro music ("The Zoo" by the Scorpions).

While he doesn't have the post season legacy that Jack Morris has, he actually pitched better in the playoffs (3.42 era, 1.10 WHIP). History seems to be on his side as all of the five hall of fame statistics listed in baseball-reference (Black Ink being the exception) show his hall of fame status as favorable and four of his similar players (Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer, Carl Hubbell & Clark Griffith) are all in Cooperstown.

Verdict: Yes

Hideo Nomo:

Nomo's impact on the game is much more on the cultural side than it is in regards to on field performance. In 1995, Nomo did take the league by storm as one of the first Japanese players to be in MLB. After a strong start we he gave up an absurd 5.8 hits per 9 innings, led the league in strikeouts and had strong follow up season in 1996, the league finally started to figure him out which led to him being basically a an average pitcher from 1997-2003 before the bottom fell out with some absurdly bad seasons in 04 and 05. By all objective measures, not a hall of famer.

Verdict: No

Rafael Palmeiro:

On the ballot for the fourth time and in danger of falling off (he got 8% of the vote last year). Like several others on the ballot, this seems more tied to off-field transgressions than on field performance. Even before this and despite shiny home run & hit totals, he seems more like a very good but not great player who put up good numbers during an era where offense was a dime a dozen.

However, on a numerical standpoint, he has a strong case. Six of his ten similars (Robinson, Murray, Winfield, Jackson, Ott & Kaline) are in and four of the five stat measurements on baseball reference (Black Ink being the exception) give him favorable ratings. He may not be the most ethical player ever or even close to being the most liked, but his numbers indicate he has what it takes to eventually be inducted.

Verdict: Yes