Thursday, November 20, 2014
1995 Topps Jack Morris
I wasn't born quite early enough to remember Jack Morris as a Detroit Tiger, but I do remember him with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was a great pitcher, and I remember him winning 20 games for the Jays and helping them to 2 World Championship trophies. If the strike hadn't happened in 1994, it could've been 4 in a row and 5 overall (He pitched 10 shutout innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series with the Minnesota Twins to win the title, and his 1994 Cleveland Indians team was one of the strongest in the majors that year).
I personally think the Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame, especially after doing the research for this card. He won 250+ games, if he would've played 3 more seasons and been healthy, he would've had an outside shot at 300 wins, and maybe 3,000 strikeouts. One of the many problems I have with the Hall of Fame is that they base their membership on accumulated stats. For pitchers, it's 300 wins or 3,000 strikeouts. For hitters, it's 500 home runs or 3,000 hits. The problem with that is that if an average player plays in 20+ seasons, they can get close to any of those numbers. Heck, if Joe Carter played in 6 or so more seasons, he would've been close to those numbers. So Jack Morris gets penalized just because he didn't hit the 300 win total. News flash: Back in the 60's players played more seasons in their careers. Now in the '90's and '00's, we have 5-man rotations, players are getting pinch-hit for more often, and the players are making so much money, that they would rather retire than play a few seasons into their 40's. That wasn't the case 40-60 years ago, and players needed all the money they got, so they often had second jobs in the off-season, and many of them played into their 40's and put up those extra 50-100 home runs that pushed them over the 500 mark. Baseball is different now, and we need to accept that, and put players in the Hall because of how good they were during THEIR era, not if they compare with Mickey Mantle, Roy Campanella, or Bob Gibson's numbers. So what if a pitcher has an ERA close to 4.00? That is pretty decent nowadays, and you can have an ERA of 3.75 and still give your team a chance to win 70% of the games you start. I think Morris put up excellent numbers for his era, and he was the go-to pitcher (if not, the ace) of 4 World Series winning teams. He is a Hall of Famer in my book, and I hope the writers who vote realize that (the fact that writers, and not fans or former players get to vote is beyond me, and I'll save that for another post).
Topps gave Morris a card in their 1994 Traded set, but not in 1995. I like how this one turned out, and I think it's a good sunset card of Jack Morris.