Fifteen years of divisive debates and constant critiquing have taken a toll on would be Hall of Famer Jack Morris. That much is clear after Morris fell short (61.5 percent) of the 75 percent needed for election into baseball's Hall of Fame and officially fell off the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot after 15 years of eligibility on Wednesday.
In an interview with MLB.com, Morris expressed his disappointment with the news, which could go without saying, but he also painted the picture of a man who has accepted the committee's decision and is simply ready to move past the Hall of Fame discussion.
Here's an excerpt from the interview which you can view in its entirety below.
"I just want to congratulate the three men who were voted in today and the three managers that were voted in during the winter meetings. It’s going to be a great day this summer for them, and well deserving all of them as candidates. I want to give all of my condolences to the candidates that are still on the ballot. And I know there’s many of them that are future Hall of Famers, and possibly a few that won’t be, but that doesn’t mean they’re not."
"It’s a process. There’s no perfect system. And I’m going to be a guy that’s probably going to be the center of attention for quite some time even though I’ve had enough of it."
The Morris debate became a central focus of the Hall of Fame discussion every year, even at a time when the debate over accused PED users raged and stole headlines. At times it wasn't the most cordial debate, as those opposed on Morris' credentials were very passionate in their stance. He was the poster boy for players who hung right on the edge of belonging, and those who felt he didn't belong weren't afraid to run his shortcomings — most notably, a career 3.91 ERA — into the ground to make their point.
Of course, what we often forget when these debates are taking place is that Morris himself is just as privy to them as anyone else. He hears his name, his numbers, his shortcomings and his failures repeated time and time again, year after year, and it's not surprising that after 15 years he's ready to hear his name attached to something, anything, other than a Hall of Fame debate.
"I’m very glad it’s over. 15 years of being critiqued ought to be enough for anybody, so I’m glad that part’s over."
One can easily understand how Morris reached his threshold of tolerance on Hall of Fame debates. 15 years on the same roller coaster is enough to take a toll on anyone. Unfortunately for Morris, though, his ride and the heated debates probably aren't over for good. However, the good news is it should be at least another three years before it reignites in large form. That's when Morris will become eligible for induction by the Expansion Era Committee.
He knows that day is coming, too, and when asked if he was looking forward to it, Morris chuckled and simply said "I hope I live that long."
Finally! Something we can all agree on when it comes to Jack Morris.
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