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Hall of Fame vote a mystery/Paul Peterson

January 11, 2012
By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette , The Daily Mining Gazette

If there's any aspect of the sports world that continues to baffle, it is the method used to determine just who gets into the respective hall of fames.

For once, I'm not talking about the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame.

That's a topic that would require a book ... perhaps a volume or two. Any hall of fame that does not include such obvious choices as Rick and Don Miller, Wayne Sickler, Emery Ruelle and countless others, requires a thorough looking over.

But what disturbs me today is the Baseball Writers Association of America, which has continued to keep players like Jack Morris out of Cooperstown.

Morris, the winningest pitcher of the 1980s while hurling for the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins, picked up 67 percent of the required number of votes in the latest balloting.

Not always the most agreeable person during his playing days, Morris appears to be satisfied that he will probably enter the hall in the next year or two.

But I maintain that his inclusion into baseball's most hallowed grounds is long overdue.

Any pitcher who won 254 games, struck out nearly 2,500 batters and compiled an earned run average of 3.90 is worthy of induction.

Furthermore, Morris was a steely competitor who battled 110 percent when he was on the mound.

His performance against the Atlanta Braves in the 1991 World Series was a sterling example of that grit. Matched up against Braves ace John Smoltz in Game 7, Morris pitched 10 shutout innings as the Twins finally won the decisive game.

Morris pitched for four World Series champions - a feat unmatched by many pitchers already in the Hall of Fame.

I had the chance to interview, if you call asking questions and getting grunts in response an interview, Morris in a 1979 trip to Tiger Stadium. Another reporter present that day told me that was a typical interview for the belligerent Detroit ace.

I'm convinced that it was his attitude toward the media in his younger days that has kept Jack Morris out of the hall. Writers are like most people. They remember uncivil behaivor and carry grudges to a certain extent.

Like most of us, Morris has mellowed with age. Now, he's even approachable as he goes to big league parks as an announcer for the Twins.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, I also believe that former Detroit shortstop Alan Trammell should have been inducted a long time ago.

Trammell, who is one of the genuine nice guys in the game, put up stats that are certainly worthy.

Compared to someone like Bill Mazeroski of Pittsbugh, Trammell's credentials are more than enough.

Not only did he hit for a much higher average and with more power than the popular Mazeroski, Trammell was a model of consistency in the field. He and second baseman Lou Whitaker played more games together in the infield than any other duo in MLB history.

Unfortunately, baseball's hall of fame voters are a group as biased as any in bigtime sports. If you're a New York Yankee or Boston Red Sox player, your chances go up appreciably.

Of course, I also believe that Pete Rose belongs in baseball's gloried stage. His numbers more than make the case for him, enough to overshadow his betting involvement in the game.

Unlike cheaters like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and others who juiced themselves up on steroids, players like Morris, Trammell and Rose did it the right way on the field.

They deserve to be rewarded.



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