Former pitcher Jack Morris, who received 67 percent of the vote in 2012, again fell short at 67.7 percent this year, his 14th on the ballot.
—Erik Matuszewski, “Clemens, Bonds Rejected in Steroid-Stained Hall of Fame Vote,” Bloomberg News, January 9, 2013.
Five-thirty in the afternoon, Lee Smith was preparing to leave his place of employment. He was looking for a pair of sunglasses.
—Leigh Montville, “Newcomer Smith Yields 10th-inning Homer, Red Sox Lose, 5-3,” the Boston Globe, April 4, 1988.
I cried once at Fenway Park.
After the Yawkey regime, the new owners went all P.C. sensitive and invited fathers and a selected offspring out to the field. So there I was in short centerfield with Prada (the youngest daughter) playing catch with a Dunkin’ Donuts Nerf baseball. I lost it.
With that said, baseball offers ample opportunities for the usually calm and collected to, shall we say … tear up.
So I am moist of eye this day over the colossal tragedy that is an empty Hall of Fame class.
In a cold, late, pre-drug afternoon, Roger Clemens and Jack Morris dueled to one of the greatest draws in baseball history. Clemens was dominating. The visiting Detroit Tiger, Morris surgically contained the Red Sox, then resolutely walked west, off the pitcher’s mound onto the Boston lawn to his third-base dugout.
To this day I carry the applause of 34,781 with me. Thunderous does not begin to describe the size of loud of the moment.
Ray-Banned Lee Smith would go on to lose this perfect game, but that was secondary to the performance of two destined for Cooperstown.
Roger Clemens is a Hall of Fame pitcher burdened with a heavy asterisk. He, and others, removed—the price of a steroid-stained decade’s folly.
Jack Morris is a different matter. I have not the wisdom and nuance to know of his qualifications to join Cobb, Greenberg, and Kaline, other than to say, he should.
What I know for certain is he was everything I ever imagined excellence could be.
Baseball struggles with a miserable era fading into its muscled past. And Jack Morris? Hall of Fame or not: Any time, he can play catch with Prada. Discuss.