Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Debate: Jack Morris's Game 7 vs. other postseason performances


With all of the pitching excellence in this years postseason there have been many that have spent time to look back on some of the dominating pitching performances from past playoffs.

Rob Neyer of ESPN.com broke down the Top 10 Postseason Pitching Performances.  He did this by looking at the scores of the games and what the pitcher did.  This doesn't take into account the team that the pitcher was opposing, the importance of the game, or what round the game was played in.  Many were surprised not because of the games that he had listed, but because of some of the games that were missing from the list.  There was no Sandy Koufax, no Randy Johnson, or, most importantly for Twins fans, no Jack Morris.

USA Today also counted down some of the best postseason pitching performances in their Sports Weekly Top 5 countdown.  This list includes Josh Beckett, Tom Glavine, Mickey Lolich, and the Twins Jack Morris.  Another listed compiled by a blog called Baseball Past & Present (Graham Womack) counts down the top ten pitching performances and has a few different names on the list.  Christy Matthewson, Orel Hershisher, and Curt Schilling all make appearances for their performances.  Jack Morris comes in at number seven.

Rob Neyer has gotten a lot of questions about his list and that might have been what he was going for when he wrote the article.  His response about Jack Morris was quite interesting.  According to Neyer's formula Morris's Game 7 performance only ties him for 69th on the all-time list.

As a fan that shocked me.  69th!?!?  He pitched 10 scoreless innings in the deciding game of a World Series.  How many other people have done that?  Here is a quick clue... it rhymes with zero.  That's right, no one has every done that.  In the age of more importance being placed on relief pitching, this may never happen again.

After my rant I calmed down and decided to revisit that night in October.  How did Black Jack fare against the Braves? 

The one stat that everyone focuses on for Morris in this game is the zero runs allowed over ten innings.  The problem with this stat is that it doesn't show the true nature of this game.  Morris was by no means dominant in the game.  He was able to get out of some rough situations to keep the game scoreless.  He gave up seven hits and walked two batters.  His pitch count made it to 126 with 79 strikes.  All of those strikes added up to eight strikeouts.  In any great pitching performance there needs to be a little luck.  One bounce of the ball or one bad call by an umpire and the game could have a completely different outcome.

In Twins lore there will never be another performance like Jack Morris in Game 7 of the World Series.

It was the crowning moment in arguably the best World Series in history.

If other people don't have it as number one on their list, it is still number one on mine.

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