I was as surprised as you are right now to see that I am posting to hear that last night, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were elected to the Hall of Fame. First of all, I was completely unaware that the Modern Baseball Committee was even meeting much less that their results would be given a good month before the usual main announcement. Second of all, this tickles me because they were two of the best players of their time and their exclusion was a glaring omission (and I am not even a Tigers fan).
The best percentage of the vote Alan Trammell ever got from the writers was 40.9% in his last year of eligibility. This is pretty damn ridiculous.
I believe poor Alan retired and became eligible for the hall at the absolute wrong time possible for a player of his type. While his career was winding down, A-Rod, Nomar, and Jeter were all the rage and spending their time destroying the cliched concept of what a shortstop could be. Even though Alan spent 2 decades as the best all-around shortstop not named Cal Ripken Jr. in the American League, with the Big Three as the new hotness, Trammell's career seemed somehow lacking - even though his 1987 stacks up with any shortstop season of those guys (that he didn't win that MVP is proof that baseball writers in the 1980s were all huffing paint or something). Luckily, it didn't take until he was an old man (or dead) for perspective to sink in. I always feared that sometime in 2060, some future baseball historian would look at the beautiful double play combination of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell and realize a horrible injustice had been done and their grandchildren would have to accept their enshrinement. Now, all someone has to do is realize that Lou Whitaker's numbers are also very hall worthy. The fact that he fell off the ballot in his first year is a travesty.
The best percentage Jack Morris ever got from the writers was 67.7% in his second to last year on the ballot. When you get that high a percentage in your 14th year, it is usually practically a guaranteed springboard to induction. Somehow though, in his last time around, he only got 61.5% and didn't get in. Obviously, the paint huffing among baseball writers continues unabated.
The knocks always came hard against Jack Morris: his 3.90 ERA was terrible for his era, his 105 ERA+ meant he was only a slightly above average pitcher, he didn't have a great peak, he didn't win 300 games, his mustache wasn't as cool as Rollie Fingers' - the list was long and got even sillier than that. First and foremost, I am a firm believer in looking at the legacy of Hall of Famers in context among and against their peers, though. Suddenly, Morris starts to look pretty remarkable: 14 consecutive opening day starts, highest paid pitcher several years, started game one of the World Series twice and of the LCS four different times. Not to mention that minor trifle of game 7 of the 1991 World Series when he threw 10 shutout innings and was the winning pitcher (I am pretty sure he would have thrown 20 innings that night if Tom Kelly had asked). In short, he was an ace, a horse. The guy who said "jump on my back boys, I'll carry you home." The Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson type guy. Those guys belong in the hall and I am glad they came to their senses and put him in Cooperstown where he belongs.