January 9th, 2013

Morris, Trammell left out of Hall again

The last time the BBWAA didn’t vote anyone into the Hall of Fame, the ballot included a half-dozen eventual inductees. We’ll see if that’s much consolation for Jack Morris, who is once again left on the outside looking in, this time in his next-to-last year on the ballot.

Morris fell 42 votes shy of the 427 needed for induction this year, garnering 67.7 percent. His 385 votes represented a bump of just three votes from last year. He was one of five players to be named on half the ballots submitted, joining Craig Biggio (68.2%), Jeff Bagwell (59.6%), Mike Piazza (57.8%) and Tim Raines (52.2%). Biggio and Piazza were on the ballot for the first time, Bagwell the third, Raines the sixth.

Morris, by contrast, has only one more chance to get to the magic number of 75 percent. He’s going to need a major jump to do it, like the one he got from 2011 to 2012. The last chance on the ballot would normally be a factor, but next year’s crowded ballot might counteract that. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Mike Mussina all join the ballot, and voters have a limit of 10 players they can select on their ballot.

The hope for Alan Trammell, meanwhile, seems all but extinguished. After a 50 percent jump in votes last year, he was in position where another big jump would put him in the conversation. Instead, his vote percentage dropped, from 36.8 to 33.6. That’s 20 fewer votes. Four fewer total ballots were turned in this year than last.

Tigers spring training dates are set

If you’re planning on a February visit to Florida for spring training, or if you’re just looking forward to having actual baseball news other than hot stove stuff (I know I am), the dates are set for the Tigers’ first spring training workouts. Pitchers and catchers hold their first formal workout on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The first full-squad workout is set for Friday, Feb. 15.

They’re earlier dates than usual for a couple reasons. First is the World Baseball Classic and the desire to get players into camps and working out with their Major League teams for a while before some of them report to their respective national teams. The other factor is the April 1 start date.

The Tigers don’t really list official reporting dates anymore, because it’s a non-issue. So many players report early nowadays, especially pitchers, that there’s nothing to enforce. A lot of players also get their physical exams out of the way early, like when they’re in Detroit in January for TigerFest and the Winter Caravan. As long as players show up for the first workout, they’re fine.