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Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Greg Maddux won't be unanimous

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Greg Maddux won't be a unanimous selection for the Hall of Fame.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, says the only player he voted for was pitcher Jack Morris. Morris is on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for the 15th and final time after falling 42 votes shy last year.

Greg Maddux
Greg Maddux, who won 355 games and four Cy Young Awards in a 23-year career, was left off one voter's ballot because he played in the steroid era.

Gurnick said Tuesday that he excluded "everybody from the steroid era."

"I just don't know who did and who didn't," Gurnick said, adding: "Some people quibble over when the era starts, but the bulk of [Morris'] career was in my opinion well before all of the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs."

Maddux is among three high-profile players on the ballot for the first time, joined by former Atlanta Braves teammate Tom Glavine and Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Holdovers include Craig Biggio, who topped voting at 68 percent last year, when the BBWAA failed to elect anyone for only the second time in four decades. This year's totals will be announced Wednesday.

Maddux, a 355-game winner, could break Tom Seaver's record of highest vote percentage of 98.84 set in 1992.

"I just have just never come across any human being, whether they're a voter or just a fan, that doesn't think Greg Maddux is a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest pitchers who ever pitched," The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo said Tuesday. "I can't imagine someone not voting for him. So I would guess that he's going to break Seaver's record."

Still trying to gain entry, Morris' case may have grown stronger as the game has gone on.

Bert Blyleven was elected in his 14th year in 2011. Jim Rice made it in his 15th year in 2009. Bruce Sutter was inducted in his 13th year in 2006.

Morris finished second on the BWAA ballot last year with 67.7 percent of the vote, just behind Biggio. Election requires three-quarters or more of all ballots cast, so Morris was 42 votes short.

Morris has 254 wins, which ranks 43rd. He's 32nd in strikeouts and 50th in innings on the career lists, and his 3.90 ERA would be the highest of any pitcher in the Hall.

Over his best decade of work, from 1983 to 1992, identifying a better starting pitcher other than Roger Clemens is difficult.

Morris made 34 or more starts in all but one of those seasons, averaging 247 innings per year. He led the American League in strikeouts and innings in 1983, shutouts in 1986, complete games in 1990 and wins in 1992. Then there are the three World Series rings: with Detroit in 1984, Minnesota in 1991 and Toronto in 1992.