"The only time I talk to a woman when I'm naked is when I'm on top of her or she's on top of me." - Jack Morris, to a female reporter, 1990.
254-186, 3.90 ERA, 3824 IP, 1390 BB, 2478 K
Morris was considered one of the top pitchers in the 1980's, and is best known for his brilliant performance in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. His 6-1 postseason record gained him the reputation as a big game pitcher. Does that propel him to Hall of Fame status? Well, the numbers don't paint quite as positive a picture as the above indicates.
Year in and year out, Morris was always among the league leaders in wins. Twelve times he finished in the top 10 in the American League in wins, nine of those seasons in the top five. You could count on him to throw a lot of innings during his peak years in the 1980's. While never winning a Cy Young Award, he finished in the top 5 six different times, two of those after the age of 35. And he has four World Series rings, one each with Detroit and Minnesota, and two with Toronto (though it should be noted that he was particularly poor in the '92 series with the Blue Jays, and did not pitch in the '93 series).
And...that's about where the case begins and ends for Morris, and the problems begin. In the 16 seasons that Morris pitched regularly as a major leaguer, his teams finished below .500 exactly twice, so his win totals were obviously going to be somewhat inflated relative to the rest of the pitchers of his day. This typically seduced Cy Young voters to give their votes to him over other pitchers with more impressive ERA's, WHIP's, strikeout totals, etc.
Making the case more complicated is his 3.90 ERA, which is higher than any pitcher in the Hall of Fame. For his career, his ERA was only about 5% better than league average. While ERA for a season is not always a good gauge of a pitcher's effectiveness, when it is barely average year in and year out, that has to send up a red flag. Additionally, his 1.30 WHIP would be among the worst in the Hall, and his 2,478 strikeouts isn't overly impressive. So, to summarize, a workhorse pitcher that gave up a lot of hits, walks, and runs, but accumulated a lot of wins on very good teams.
There's no denying that Morris was tough to beat in the biggest games of his career. There were also many other pitchers that you could say the same thing about that never got so much as a whiff of the Hall. That should be the case for Morris as well. A very good pitcher, not Hall-worthy.