Edgar’s Jack Morris Moment

Based on early returns of published Hall Of Fame ballots, Jack Morris is getting support from about half of the voters who elect players to Cooperstown. Let’s be entirely honest – Morris has no case if you eliminate Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. His reputation is heavily dependent on that classic performance, a 10 inning shutout that gave the Twins the championship.

From that performance, the legend of what Morris was has grown. He was a bulldog, an ace, a true winner, and the kind of talent who shines when the spotlight is brightest. Or, at least, so his supporters will tell you. That game drastically altered the perception of what Morris was. As a human watching the game, it’s almost impossible not to get wrapped up in that kind of fairy tale performance. When his team needed him the most, he delivered.

One shining moment of greatness in October is a huge part of Morris’ candidacy. Yet, for these same writers, the performance of Edgar Martinez in the 1995 ALDS is not even considered. And I’m here to suggest that Martinez’s performance may have been even more impressive.

In Game One, the Yankees beat the Mariners 9-6, but it wasn’t for Edgar’s lack of effort. He reached base in four of his five trips to the plate, going 3 for 4 with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI.

In Game Two, the Yankees would again prevail, winning 6-5 in 15 innings. Martinez went 3 for 6 with a double and a walk. Despite his hitting, the Mariners were on the verge of getting swept out of their first ever playoff appearance.

In Game Three, the Yankees decided to stop pitching to him. He was 0 for 1 with 3 walks, scoring a couple of runs as the Mariners would win 7-4 and push the series on.

In Game Four, he had his Jack Morris performance. The Mariners won 11-8, and it was almost entirely due to Martinez. He went 3 for 4 with 2 home runs, the first a three run shot and the latter a grand slam in the bottom of the 8th inning that proved to be the decisive blow. John Wetteland, one of the elite closers in the game, couldn’t keep Martinez from extending the series to a final fifth game.

In Game Five, Martinez went 3 for 6 with a pair of doubles, the last of which ended the series in the 11th inning. In Seattle, it is simply known as “The Double”, and it will stand for eternity as one of the most dramatic hits in baseball history.

For the series, Martinez came to the plate 27 times and reached 18 of them. He was 12 for 21 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 10 RBIs, 6 runs scored, and 6 walks. He hit .571/.667/1.000 for the series. He had the three most important hits of the series, carrying the team to victory in Game Four and then coming up with the clutch hit to end it in Game Five.

In 5 games, two of which went into extra innings, he made a grand total of 9 outs. He destroyed Yankee pitching and was the reason the team knocked off the Bronx Bombers in 1995.

Morris’ Game 7 performance may have come on a bigger stage, but Martinez’s 1995 performance was every bit as incredibly clutch. With the whole world watching, Martinez proved that he was a dominant offensive force.

So, Morris voters who do not elect Edgar, please call MLB and get a DVD of the 1995 ALDS. Watch that series again. Experience post-season greatness in a form other than a memorable Game 7 start. Pitchers don’t have a stranglehold on amazing October performances, and you’re doing the Hall Of Fame a disservice by not using the same standard for Morris and Martinez.



Print This Post



Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
wiffleball
Guest
wiffleball

while i loved watching edgar hit because of how beautifully he did it, i have trouble justifying his HOF election, as his power numbers are insignificant, his fielding was non-existent and his base running was mediocre at best. Basically, he was an excellent contact hitter with some power. And unfortunately, the major flaw in your argument is that morris’s performance won a world series; edgar went on to bat .087/.192/.087 in the alcs that very year as the mariners got bounced. in fact, for his career, edgar was .156/.239/.234 in alcs play and the mariners never reached the world series. so basically, as the stage got bigger, edgar choked.

Steve
Guest
Steve

what a bizarre characterization. .418 career OBP.

Joe R
Guest
Joe R

Insignificant power numbers?
His career ISO is the same as Jim Rice, slightly ahead of Orlando Cepeda, Andre Dawson, and others. And also, he hit .312. He’s 112th all time in HR (which is nothing to scoff at). He didn’t not have power.

He was also a plus fielder before getting moved full time to DH. This wasn’t an Adam Dunn scenario.

And Morris, sans his one great outing, was 6-4 with a 4.26 ERA in the postseason. In the WS, 3-2 w/ a 3.67 ERA. He was pretty much a regular guy in the postseason outside of one great game.

NEPP
Guest
NEPP

Comparing a guy to Jim Rice isn’t exactly a glowing HoF recommendation.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

Except that un-adjusted power numbers are Rice’s one argument, while it’s a secondary component for Edgar.

Joe R
Guest
Joe R

One’s ISO came from years at Fenway
One’s ISO came from years at the Kingdome

Rice’s road ISO: .182
Martinez’s road ISO: .202

And per b-r, 24.37% of Edgar’s batted balls were line drives. This guy straight up hit the ball hard.

And it’s not that I’m using rice as a minimum point. I’m using Rice to say “Well you put this guy in, so why not this guy?” Rice also had the benefit of Boston sportswriters inventing some sort of conspiracy against Rice by other writers because he was a “jerk”.

Hey, he still is, and I have to watch him attempt to analyze baseball all season on NESN. Maybe my tone would be different if I was born in like 1968, but I do not like Jim Rice.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

Morris was 4-0 1.54 in the years his teams won the WS (84 and 91). You guys kill me with this “one great outing” stuff.

FWIW, that 7 ER in 41 WS IP (1984 and 1991).

I’m also seeing Morris as a 7-4 3.60 post-season pitcher, including 4-2 2.96 in 3 WS. He was actually much better in the WS than he was in the LCS, but that also might have some DH component to it.

You need to review the stats.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/morrija02.shtml

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

Any reason you’re ignoring ’92, besides the fact that it torpedoes any “Morris is teh clutchy gamer!!!1!” argument?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

Dude, I listed:

[1] His COMPLETE post-season W-L record and ERA.

and also his

[2] W-L record and ERA for the 2 WS championship teams.

I’m not looking for an angle. I did this because (A) the numbers another person posted were innaccurate (especially in light of the “regular guy except for that one game” comment), and to show that Morris just wasn;t a lucky 3rd SP on really good teams, but he was one of the MAIN reasons why DET and MIN won those titles.

(CAPs for emphasis, not yelling.)

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

Yes, and Toronto was a WS championship team, which won the WS very much in spite of JM. Hence, your numbers for Morris when his teams won are terribly inaccurate.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

Okay so Morris was crap in the 92 WS. I thought that was an obvious point, that went without saying.

How does that diminish his dominance in 1984 and 1991?

I am not saying Morris is the greatest post-season SP of all time. I AM saying that he was a BIG reason why the 84 Tiggers and 91 Twinkies won the WS, as evident by his 4-0 1.54 stats.

Am I giving him ANY credit or acclaim for anything done in 1992?

Put all his good world series games in one bucket, and his bad in another and see how it balances out.

But, don’t hand me two bad starts in 1992 and act as if it counter-balances 4 dominant starts for two different world series winners, with one of those being an epic 10-inning 1-0 shutout victory against another future HoF’er.

In the end, his overall world series performance works IN his favor, not AGAINST. That’s all I am getting at.

wiffleball
Guest
wiffleball

Not to ask a crazy question, but if edgar was such a dominant, outstanding fielder, why did he switch to DH permanently after getting hurt? Most great fielders get hurt and come back

moreover, why did he only make one AS team before the switch and six after? same with SS? Same with a 60 point jump in OBP and OPS? Before the switch, he never knocked in 75 runs, hit 20 HRs, and none of his top-5 extra base hit seasons? basically, he became a good hitter when all he had to think about was hitting in the middle of a lineup that was a complete murderers row by then forcing pitchers to throw him pitches to hit.

I’m not saying morris is a HOFer (although he has a far stronger case on regular season alone, ignoring his post-season play), i’m just saying that edgar falls into the immensely talented but not HOF worthy category

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

You were talking about how Morris did “in the years his team won,” which implies correlation between Morris doing well and his team winning. And I’m not denying that his performance helped in ’84 and ’91. But it actively hurt his team in ’92 – they won the WS in spite of his performance. Finally, his overall postseason ERA was 3.80… so yeah, I’d say his bad postseason performances did “cancel out” his awesome ones, in that they brought his performance back to his career norm.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

Kevin,

Would you feel the same way if your boss told you that your 2 poor performances cancelled out your 4 great ones, with one of the great ones being regarding as one of the greatest performances, in the biggest situation, … ever?

I’m guessing NOT.

4 great WS outings > 2 poor ones.

If anything, the discussion illustrates flaws in ERA. 2 really bad instances bring 4 great ones down to “average”.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

Or maybe, the awful performances were more negative than the great performances were positive. Maybe we should just judge pitchers by quality start/non-quality start differential, since all that matters is “good” and “bad” – degree is apparently irrelevant.

Let’s say I’m a broker (I’m not, but money makes this easy). If I make four fantastic trades that gain my client a bunch of money, but then pull two colossal fuck-ups that bring his account back to average performance, do you think he’ll cut me slack because I made more good moves than bad?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

“Or maybe, the awful performances were more negative than the great performances were positive. Maybe we should just judge pitchers by quality start/non-quality start differential, since all that matters is “good” and “bad” – degree is apparently irrelevant.”

I wouldn’t say it’s “irrelevant” (not in the least), because there’s a big difference between [1] a 3ER in 7 IP “good start” and a [2] 10-inning shutout “good start”. *grin* But, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time splitting hairs between 3R and 2R games … but when you throw a shutout, you negate the oppossing pitchers QS every time.

I am a BIG fan of “Quality Start Pecentage” as being THE measuring stick for starting pitchers. IMO, consistently putting your team in a great position to win games is THE most important contribution of a SP. We agree big time on that one.

“Let’s say I’m a broker (I’m not, but money makes this easy). If I make four fantastic trades that gain my client a bunch of money, but then pull two colossal fuck-ups that bring his account back to average performance, do you think he’ll cut me slack because I made more good moves than bad?”

I’m not sure how you DON’T see that Morris’s two bad games in 92, don’t bring him to “average”, unless you ONLY look at ERA. Those two games did NOT make him a .500 pitcher in the WS, they made him a 4-2 pitcher in the WS. 4-2 in 3 WS’s is NOT average. He EARNED all 4 wins, and he earned both losses … wasn’t a whole lot of “luck” involved (i.e., he didn’t get his wins by his team outscoring the opponent 10-7).

ERA is a horrible stat for small sample sizes.

As I said before, you can have a reliever throw 8 consecutive no-hit performances (1 IP/G), 8 for 8 in SvOpp, and then give up a Grand Slam in the 9th appearance and his ERA is 4.00. That doesn’t bring him to “average” in terms of overall performance.

I don’t know in what world that 0-2 8.44 “equalizes” or “cancels out” 4-0 1.54.

4 GREAT world series WINS >> 2 BAD losses. Geez, the 84 Tigers and 91 Twins, only won 8 WS games combined, Morris had half of em.

This is only a major deal to me, because at this site (at least lately) there is a tendency to marginalize the WS accomplishments. IMO, this is likely due to confusing [1] statistically relevant sample size and [2] historical importance.

While Morris’s 4 WS wins, and especially g7 1991 win, are small sample sizes not indicative of his overall performance value, they are VERY important historical moments, and therfore carry some extra weight.

Would this discussion go differently if we did not use names, and just looked at the situations. I have no emotional attachment to Morris, but am a big fan of Edgar.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

AMAZING that this post gets negative votes. It’s not as if your comments are incongruent with reality.

Edgar Martinez:

LDS PA: 77
LCS PA: 71

LDS: .375/.481/.873
LCS: .156/.239/.234

I love the guy (3 Favorite RHBs: Pujols, Schmidt, Edgar). But, that doesn’t mean I need to put blinders on or marginalize scenarios where he doesn’t or didn’t perform well. He flat out sucked in LCS play, and that’s just reflective of the reality. He doesn’t need me to make excuses for him or sugar-coat it, or look the other way, or marginalize the accomplishments of others. He had a great career, overall. Not making the HoF or not doing well in the LCS does not remove the solidness of his career.

JohnK
Guest
JohnK

Edgar’s dropoff in hitting in the 1995 ALCS was entirely due to the umps. Clevelend was pitching well off the plate, and Edgar wasn’t swinging at those pitches, but the umps kept calling strikes. He ended up with a sick number of strikeouts that should never have been. There was no choke about it. Edgar was completely dialed in and seeing the ball better than ever.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

Edgar’s dropoff in hitting in the 1995 ALCS was entirely due to the umps

Dude?

wpDiscuz