Will 3rd Mormon make Baseball Hall of Fame next year?

January 7, 2011 | 14 comments
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When I looked at the results of voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, I was somewhat surprised that two LDS players were still getting enough votes to stay on the list for next year, even though they haven’t yet been selected. And one of the players looks like he may eventually be selected — perhaps even next year.

They player on the list that most Mormon Baseball fans know, and perhaps hope will make the Hall is Dale Murphy, now a former mission president. Murph was on the ballot this year for the 13th year in a row, still not getting the votes needed to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, but also not getting so few votes that he is dropped from the ballot next year.

Under the selection rules, players must get votes on 75% (436 votes) of the 581 total ballots to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. To stay on the ballot, they must get votes on at least 5% of the ballots (30 votes). Players are eligible for 15 years starting 5 years after they retire.

Murphy reached his highest vote count (23%) in his 2nd year on the ballot (2000). For the past decade he has averaged about 10-12%. With just 2 years remaining, its most likely that Murphy will drop out of eligibility without making the Hall of Fame.

However, the 4th most votes were received by another LDS baseball player, Jack Morris. This year, on his 12th ballot, Morris received 311 votes (53.5% of the ballots), toping a steadily increasing percentage over the 12 years that he has appeared on the ballot. More encouragingly, this increase is somewhat similar to that of Bert Blyleven, a fellow pitcher who was selected this year — his 14th on the ballot. Morris’ statistics also place him in the range for pitchers who have been selected for the Hall of Fame.

Of course, whether a player makes the Hall of Fame is also dependent on other factors — how much competition there is (new players become eligible each year), for example. In the next three years we will find out. If Morris is selected, he will become just the 3rd Mormon (or former Mormon) in the Hall of Fame, following Harmon Killebrew and Dennis Eckersley. [As I understand it, both Killebrew and Eckersley are inactive. Killebrew claims to be Mormon still, but Eckersley doesn't.]

For what its worth, BYU fans will be pleased to know that Morris went to BYU and was tutored there by BYU’s coach and former Major League pitcher Vernon Law.

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14 Responses to Will 3rd Mormon make Baseball Hall of Fame next year?

  1. Benjamin on January 7, 2011 at 11:17 am

    WikiPedia simply says, “Morris was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Do we have any details on this? The wording implies that he is a convert, but I’ve never heard his story. Is he active?

  2. Eric Nielson on January 7, 2011 at 11:40 am

    It baffles me that Murphy does not get more consideration. Back-to-back MVP, 5 consecutive gold golves, 7 all star games, 398 home runs (before the steroid era), a 30-30 man. And if character issues are enough to keep Pete Rose out, shouldn’t character get a borderline guy in?

  3. queuno on January 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Character isn’t really the reason Pete Rose is out. He’s out because he bet on baseball and agreed to a lifetime suspension from baseball as part of his agreement with Giamatti. Pete Rose could be an angel but the betting on baseball (now admitted) would still keep him out.

  4. Kent Larsen on January 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Eric (2), there is always the possibility that Murphy will be added by the Veteran’s committee, although that seems a remote possibility given how few people have made it in that way and how often the rules have changed.

  5. Kent Larsen on January 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Benjamin (1), I’m afraid I don’t have an further information.

  6. Eric Nielson on January 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    queuno (3)

    That all depends on whether you consider gambling as a character issue.

  7. Eric Nielson on January 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Also, Murphy took a stand against women in the locker room. He would not grant any locker room interviews (to anyone) as a protest. He would take interviews out of the locker room, but not in it. I wonder if there is any sports media (who hold the votes) backlash from this.

  8. queuno on January 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I like Dale Murphy, but the only people who seem to passionately argue his case are Mormons and Atlanta fans.

    (Full disclosure: Growing up in an AL city, no one I knew growing up cared about Dale Murphy, Mormon or otherwise, and since there was no interleague play, there was no fireside tour featuring Dale Murphy to get the Mormons on his side.)

  9. Chris H. on January 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I think Murphy falls in a category of players that many will consider a good player, but just not a hall of famer. One thing in favor of players like Morris and Murphy is that many of the more recent players have fallen out of favor with the voters because of the steroid scandal. It should be interesting to see how this impact of players on the ballot. In general, it seems to have hurt everyone.

  10. Chris H. on January 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I think that Murphy reminds me a bit of Jim Rice who was inducted in 2009 after being on the ballot for a while. I am rooting for Murphy. I am a Maryland native and a devout Cal Ripken fan. I am love the good guys of baseball.

  11. Kent Larsen on January 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Chris H., I think you’re right about the steroid scandal — I saw that Mark McGwire is on the ballot for the 5th time, but still had less than 20% of the ballots.

  12. thesnakeguy on January 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Eric, Golden Gloves are meaningless. When someone like Jeter can repeatedly get one it is clearly a popularity contest.

  13. Whydoesitmatter on July 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Why does it matter what church someone goes to? You are the only religion that points out who your members are. It is baseball not sacrament meeting. Way to go Bert!

  14. Kent Larsen on July 26, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Whydoesitmatter (13) you are right, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t think anyone in the comments (and I in the op haven’t) suggested that it does matter.

    BUT, if you think about it, baseball and sports in general are all about affiliation. I don’t know what team(s) you follow, but how many of the players are actually from the city that they represent? Yet in following the team you are buying into an artificial affiliation — so please explain to me why that affiliation matters?

    I don’t think by exploring an affiliation with these sports figures harms anyone, inconveniences anyone or has much of an effect at all. So leave us to our harmless enjoyment.

    Oh, and as for being the “only religion that points out who your members are” you are misinformed.

    Or perhaps you haven’t heard of Sandy Koufax?

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