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May 12, 2017

When Jack Morris was on the Hall of Fame ballot, proponents of his case often cited the fact that he won more games, 162, than any other pitcher from 1980 to ’89. As with the rest of his case for Cooperstown, his status as "The Pitcher of the Eighties"—if that's a thing—is questionable based upon his run prevention and overall value. According to Wins Above Replacement, it was actually Stieb who was the decade's best pitcher, compiling an MLB-high 48.6 WAR and notching 140 wins, with clear advantages over Morris in ERA (3.32 to 3.66) and ERA+ (126 to 106). A seven-time All-Star for the Blue Jays—for whom he pitched from 1979 to ‘92, with a brief comeback in '98—Stieb is the franchise leader in pitching WAR (57.4), wins (175), innings (2,873), strikeouts (1,658) and shutouts (30). On Sept. 2, 1990, he threw the Jays' lone no-hitter against the Indians, that after coming within one out of doing so three times in 1988 and '89 (including on consecutive turns in the former year).

Chronic back problems prevented Stieb from reaching the career totals that would have given him a strong case for the Hall of Fame; he received just 1.4% of the vote in 2004. While the Blue Jays honored the 20th anniversary of his no-hitter on Aug. 29, 2010 by having him throw out the ceremonial first pitch and engraving his number on the mound, Stieb deserves to become the team’s second player to have his number retired, alongside that of second baseman Roberto Alomar (No. 12), the only player with a Blue Jays cap in the Hall of Fame.

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