Leave it to TangoTiger to notice an inconvenient truth ...
- Jack Morris has faced 16,501 batters in his MLB career, including the playoffs. His W/L record is 261-190. He has given up 1854 runs, earned or not, which is 5% less than the league average of his era.
Jamie Moyer has faced 16,533 batters, or one game's worth more than Morris. His W/L record is 257-194. That's 4 "games behind” from Jack Morris. He has given up 4% fewer runs than the league average.
Once his career is over, Jamie Moyer will be relegated to the same pool of pitchers occupied by Dennis Martinez, Frank Tanana, Bob Welch, Dave Stieb, Bret Saberhagen, Orel Hershiser, Steve Rogers and others in the Hall of Very Good.
Somehow Jack Morris continues to stand above them all, the black eye to the BBWAA that will be visible for the next five years.
Morris won 20 games twice; Moyer has won 20 games once. Morris never finished better than third in Cy Young balloting; Moyer hasn't finished better than fourth. Of course, the case can be overstated. Moyer has literally never led his league in a positive statistical category; Morris led his league in an "important" statistic seven times (though never, it should be noted, in ERA; never remotely close in ERA). Moyer's won three postseason games in his career; Morris won seven.
The real difference between Moyer and Morris, though, in the minds of the Hall of Fame voters?
One: Morris won more games than any other pitcher in the 1980s.
Two: Game 7.
The first of those should matter only if you believe there was something special happening in the 1980s, something that made it particularly difficult for pitchers to win games. I don't know what that something might have been. After all, in the 1980s, nine different pitchers won more than 22 games in a season. Only six pitchers have done it in the 19 seasons since, which makes me think it might have been easier to win games in the 1980s than it would become, later. Makes me think that Morris leading the majors in the '80s with 162 victories was more of a fluke than anything else.
I could be wrong. I often am. But considering the above, I think the burden of proof lies somewhere else. If you can explain how Morris leading the 1980s is more than a statistical anomaly, you'll be the first.
The other thing, the Game 7 thing ... Well, that's really a matter of taste, isn't it? The Hall of Fame's voting rules expressly prohibit electing a player because of a single great season or game. Which isn't to say one great game (or season) isn't worth a bit of extra credit. But it seems to me that if Jack Morris hadn't pitched that brilliant game, he would have been consigned to the Hall of Very Good a long time ago.
Which is, with all due respect, exactly where he belongs.