By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – In his 15th and final year of Hall of Fame eligibility, former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris fell short again, leaving his hope of Cooperstown enshrinement in the hands of the Veteran’s Committee.
Morris received 61.5 percent of the vote, well short of the 75 percent required and down from the 67.7 percent of the vote he received in 2013. A five-time All-Star, Morris was 78 votes shy of election this year.
Voters elected Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas but snubbed Jack Morris, who recorded 254 wins – including 175 complete games – and a 3.90 ERA in his 17-year career. That ERA would be the highest of any Hall of Fame pitcher.
One voter, Los Angeles Dodgers beat writer Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, voted for Morris but no one else in protest of baseball’s steroid era, in which some of the league’s best players enhanced their preparation and play with performance-enhancing drugs.
“As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them,” Gurnick wrote.
“”It’s not a personal thing,” he added. “It’s an indictment of an era.”
Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire – all connected with PEDs – all received fewer votes in 2014 than in 2013. While most voters may not eliminate everyone in the steroid era from Hall of Fame consideration, it certainly seems that the vast majority would not elect even a tremendous player that used steroids.
A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens would be considered one of the best pitchers ever if not for his PED use. He received declining support from voters despite his scintillating stats, including 354 wins – 100 more than Morris – and a 3.12 ERA.
In the estimation of Gurnick, Morris’ career ended right around the beginning of all the steroid hubbub, making a vote for Morris acceptable in Gurnick’s eyes.
Morris himself told 97.1 The Ticket’s Terry Foster back in February 2012 that he felt he deserved to be inducted.
“I think I deserve to be in, based on people that have accomplished similar things,” Morris said.
Lou Whitaker, one of Morris’ former teammates and a part of the lethal double-play combination that also included Alan Trammel, did not seem so certain of Morris’ worthiness.
“Jack Morris was no better than Alan Trammell-Lou Whitaker,” Whitaker said, according to CBSSports.com. “If we didn’t make the plays, and we didn’t come up with the big hits, Jack Morris wouldn’t be where he was, or where he is.”
Trammel played 20 years for the Detroit Tigers and also got Hall of Fame consideration but fell short Wednesday, receiving just 20.8 percent of the vote, a sharp decrease from the 33.6 percent he received in 2012.