This is Jack Morris's last year of Hall of Fame eligibility. Somewhere, there's a hardscrabble town in Pennsylvania that's built around the industry of Jack Morris/Hall of Fame arguments. Once those are gone, the entire town will slowly crumble into dust. First the diners will close. Then the pool hall. Then the family-owned hardware store. I hope you're happy.
There's no way Morris is going to get elected. Predictive models suggest that someone with Morris's 67.7 percent last year would be close to a shoo-in this year, but those models don't account for ballottageddon, in which there are as many as 18 deserving Hall of Famers on a 10-slot ballot. There's going to be a groundswell of let's-get-Jack-in support, but it won't be enough.
Hi. I'm Grant. I'm not exactly a sabermetrician, considering I can't balance a checkbook or calculate a tip, but I err on the side of evidence-based baseball analysis. Yet I've argued for the argument for Jack Morris before. It wouldn't shatter my universe if he got in. If enough people decided he was baseball personified for a large swath of time, well, more power to them.
I still wouldn't vote for him. If I had a ballot for the Hall of 1984 Tigers, and there were four slots, I'm still not sure if Morris gets my vote. Chet Lemon needs some love, people, and that's before you get to Kirk Gibson. But I could live with Morris being in the actual Hall.
What I can't get over or ignore is that Tim Raines might not get in the Hall. That really bugs me. Raines played for 23 years, and he was phenomenal for six or seven, merely excellent for a few more, and pretty good for several after that. He was a star, he was baseball-famous, and he should be in the Hall of Fame.
There were 43 Morris voters who didn't vote for Raines last year, according to a tally of publicly revealed ballots, courtesy of @leokitty. And, if I'm counting correctly, there are 43 Raines voters who didn't vote for Morris. Sometimes, the symmetry comes looking for you, not the other way around.
So I'm in. A vote swap. An alliance of the Raines/Morris voters. An uneasy truce of the people who actually watch the damned game and the dorks who use unfamiliar numbers. The meetings would be super-awkward. They would be a quiet mix of people who can't let the '80s go, unrepentant nerds, and guys with thick, luxurious mustaches.
It's simple: Raines being out of the Hall of Fame offends me far, far, far, far, far more than Morris being in would offend me.
For example, I haven't thought about Tony Perez being in the Hall of Fame since he was elected. I know the statistical arguments. I know the case against him, and I know the first basemen in history who are more deserving. Still, don't care. Growing up, Perez felt like a star to me, so I kind of get it. That counts for something, I guess. The same goes for Jim Rice. I wouldn't have voted for them, and some of the arguments -- most feared? -- are ex post facto nonsense. But they appear in my consciousness only when I need a supporting paragraph for a larger point. Like now.
The people who aren't in, though, gnaw at me. Edgar Martinez. Whitaker. Alan Trammell. Bobby Grich. And, perhaps most of all, Raines. It's like people telling you that your favorite movie was a B-, three-star movie at best. Raines's 1986 was like the scene in Godfather II where Michael closes the door on Kate without saying a word. That didn't move you? That didn't resonate with you? You seriously don't like that movie and/or season? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU GET OUT OF MY HOUSE.
I'm touchy about it. The people who are out bug me. The people who are in and don't have the statistical case I'd prefer? Eh. I'm not going to pretend I have the answers, so good for them.
Forty-three people need to get together and hash this out. Raines was awesome. Morris was still pretty danged valuable, even if his legacy has been besmirched by abacus twiddlers. Shake hands and do the honorable thing. Which is doing the sensible thing by way of doing the nonsensical thing. I'm okay with it.