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 Hall continues to elude Morris, Trammell

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PostSubject: Hall continues to elude Morris, Trammell   Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:12 am

Hall continues to elude Morris, Trammell
Stars yet to align for elite of Tigers' '84 championship squad

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

01/06/10 6:00 PM EST

DETROIT -- The 1984 Tigers remain one of the best baseball teams in recent memory. It also remains without a Hall of Fame player. That might be a fact their alumni will have to accept. Many already have.

The debate over the Hall credentials of Alan Trammell and Jack Morris will go on for at least another year. While Andre Dawson became the latest to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Morris and Trammell again fell short.

Both of them achieved their highest vote totals and percentages to date, but both have a long way to go before the Hall doors open for them. With Morris, it seems to be a realistic possibility, but his time on the ballot is running short.

They're the lone members of that 1984 team left on the ballot. If they don't get in, and the Veterans' Committee doesn't vote them in later on, the lone member of that team in the Hall of Fame will be manager Sparky Anderson.

Still, that might be fitting.

"We had great balance," Trammell said of his old squad during the team's 25-year reunion last September. "I mean, we didn't have anybody drive in 100 or hit 30 home runs. But we had a lot of guys who had good, solid years and did good jobs when they were called upon. And that's what really, to me, as far as a team, that's what I look back on."

Lost in Dawson's ascension to induction and the near-misses of Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven was a nice jump in Morris' vote tally, which had been making slow, steady progress for the past several years. For the first time ever, more than half of Hall of Fame voters from the Baseball Writers' Association of America selected Morris on their ballots, resulting in 282 votes or 52.3 percent of the electorate.


2010 Results
Player________Total Votes__Percentage
Andre Dawson42077.9%
Bert Blyleven40074.2%
Roberto Alomar39773.7%
Jack Morris28252.3%
Barry Larkin27851.6%
Lee Smith25547.3%
Edgar Martinez19536.2%
Tim Raines16430.4%
Mark McGwire12823.7%
Alan Trammell12122.4%
Fred McGriff11621.5%
Don Mattingly8716.1%
Dave Parker8215.2%
Dale Murphy6311.7%
Harold Baines336.1%
Andres Galarraga224.1%
Robin Ventura71.3%
Ellis Burks20.4%
Eric Karros20.4%
Kevin Appier10.2%
Pat Hentgen10.2%
David Segui10.2%
Mike Jackson00%
Ray Lankford00%
Shane Reynolds00%
Todd Zeile00%
Complete Hall of Fame coverage >

Trammell's support, too, crossed a hurdle by topping 20 percent. His 121 votes were good for 22.4 percent of ballots. A candidate needs to be selected on 75 percent of all ballots to be inducted.

For Morris, in particular, 50 percent is a major threshold to reach for someone who fell below 20 percent in his second year of eligibility, and it's a mark that Dawson likewise needed time to reach. Along with columns written in the last few years by voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, the totals suggest that some voters are revisiting Morris' case as one of the greatest starting pitchers of the 1980s in addition to his well-known postseason glory. Newly-eligible voters, meanwhile, could be more inclined to vote for Morris.

The problem for Morris now is that he has just four years left on the ballot before he reaches the limit of 15. He has to make up 22.7 percent. If he repeated his latest percentage jump for each of the next four years, he'd barely make it. The next two years, however, might be his best shot, with fewer strong candidates becoming eligible.

Morris, for his part, has said more in support of Blyleven's candidacy over the years than he has of his own. Still, he clearly would love to get in.

Trammell has long since made his peace with the probability that he won't get in. In some ways, the current Cubs bench coach thinks it's fitting that he's best remembered as part of a double-play tandem with Lou Whitaker or as part of a team.

"I don't feel cheated at all," Trammell said in September. "I kid around with our players and say it's still a pretty good gig. I say that facetiously, but I mean it. I try to plant a seed in some of these guys, to say, 'You know what? This is a pretty good life you've got here. You should work at it and enjoy it to a point.'

"Everybody has to worry about themselves, do their job. I understand. But that's how I was taught. I had enough confidence that within a team concept, I'll get mine. I don't know when, but I'll get mine. Just let me be part of this, and I'll help you. And that's the mentality that Sparky taught us, and I'm grateful for that."

Anderson went into the Hall of Fame in 2000, elected by the Veterans' Committee. Other Tigers from that club and from the 1980s saw their cases die much sooner. Whitaker lasted only one year on the ballot because fewer than five percent of voters selected him in '01. Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish met the same fate that year.

As such, the 1984 Tigers are one of just two World Series champions from that decade without a Hall of Fame player. The '81 Dodgers are the other.

But it isn't just the title that makes the Tigers stand out in history. Detroit's 35-5 start in 1984 became a running story, and their 17 consecutive road wins tied a Major League record. They led the American League East from start to finish.

Yet their regular-season honors that year were dominated by their closer, Willie Hernandez, who won both the AL Cy Young and MVP awards.

Maybe they are best remembered as a team.

"We had some good players, but we just kind of fit together," Trammell said in September. "Really, I can't describe it any other way. I guess it was just meant to happen.

"I think if we would've played the 1927 Yankees, we would've felt confident we could've beat them. And I don't mean that as any kind of derogatory statement. I just felt the confidence we had in ourselves that whoever we played, we were gonna win."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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