Paul Hoynes, beat writer for the Plain Dealer, has a regular mailbag feature called “Hey Hoynsie”, in which he answers fan mail. I approve of said concept. He mostly has good information and is usually coherent. Then there’s this gem:
Hey, Hoynsie: In a recent column, you said that you think Jack Morris is a Hall of Famer considering his 254 wins. Some people would argue that wins by a starter are a meaningless stat. So many variables that are outside of his control go into recording a win (i.e. run support, fielding, relievers in some situations). Given that I think we should stop paying attention to wins by pitchers. What is your position? -– Joseph Tablack, Youngstown.
Hey, Joseph: Wins are still the most important stat in baseball and a starting pitcher who is a consistent winner is still one of the most important players on a team. Just ask his manager. Jack Morris did that for the entire decade of the 1980s. That’s why he’s a Hall of Famer in my mind.
I call Hoynes an idiot here because he completely evaded the substance of Joseph’s question. Joseph wasn’t saying “wins are meaningless”. He said “we should stop paying attention to wins by pitchers.” You know, since they’re slightly more useful than RBI. Was Jack Morris a durable innings eater who played on some very fine teams? Yes, absolutely. The “winningest pitcher of the 1980s?” Only if you cherry pick. Quick: in the entire 1980s, how many times was Jack Morris in the top ten in wins? 6. That’s not very good.
Hoynesie, get rid of the Morris fetish. It serves nobody.