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Jack Morris
Pitcher
Born: May 16, 1955 (1955-05-16) (age 54)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
July 26, 1977 for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
August 7, 1994 for the Cleveland Indians
Career statistics
Win-Loss record     254-186
Earned run average     3.90
Strikeouts     2,478
Teams
Career highlights and awards

John Scott "Jack" Morris (born May 16, 1955, in St. Paul, Minnesota) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher. He played in 18 big league seasons between 1977 and 1994, mainly for the Detroit Tigers, and won 254 games throughout his career. Armed with a fastball, slider and devastating splitter, Morris was a five-time All-Star (1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1991).

Contents

Playing career

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Detroit Tigers

Morris attended Brigham Young University[1] and was drafted by the Tigers in the fifth round of the 1976 draft.[2] He broke into the Tigers' pitching rotation in 1979, posting a 17-7 record and a 3.29 ERA and establishing himself as the ace of the Detroit staff. Morris, along with catcher Lance Parrish, shortstop Alan Trammell, second baseman Lou Whitaker, and manager Sparky Anderson, played a notable role in turning the Tigers into a contending team for most of the 1980s.

On April 7, 1984 (on NBC's nationally televised Game of the Week), Morris no-hit the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park,[1] beginning what would be an excellent season for him. At the end of the 1984 campaign, he notched 19 wins and a 3.60 ERA, leading Detroit into the postseason. He scored a win over the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS, and added two more in the World Series against the San Diego Padres as the Tigers concluded their wire-to-wire 1984 campaign with the World Championship.

In 1986, Morris racked up 21 wins, but was overshadowed by eventual Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox. The Tigers headed to the postseason again in 1987, but this time Morris' performance was below expectations as Detroit lost the ALCS to the eventual World Champion Minnesota Twins. Despite a sub par season in 1989 when he won only 6 games, he still finished as the winningest pitcher of the 1980s, with 162 wins during the decade.

Minnesota Twins

In 1991, Morris signed a one-year contract with his hometown Minnesota Twins. He enjoyed another great season, posting 18 wins as Minnesota faced the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. Morris started for the Twins three times, with his final outing being Game 7. In a postseason performance for the ages, the 36-year-old hurler, known throughout his career as a clutch "big game" pitcher, lived up to his billing by throwing 10 innings of shutout baseball against the Braves as the Twins won the World title on a 10th inning single by Gene Larkin that scored Dan Gladden. Morris was named the World Series MVP for his fantastic performance. He holds the records for most postseason wins by a Twin, with 4 acquired in 1991.

Toronto Blue Jays

Following the 1991 season, Morris spurned the Minnesota Twins, his hometown team, and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. He earned 21 wins for the second time in his career (and the first ever 20-win season for a Blue Jay pitcher), though he rode the wave of superior run support from his offense, as his ERA was over 4. The Blue Jays reached the 1992 World Series against the Braves. Despite a subpar World Series performance, he won a third championship ring as Toronto beat Atlanta in six games. He won a fourth in 1993, as the Blue Jays repeated as World Champions with a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. Morris did not pitch in the postseason, however.

On Tuesday, April 6, 1993, Morris set a major league record by making his 14th consecutive opening day start, an impressive achievement since he played on numerous title-contending teams. The opening day start is usually given to either the best pitcher in the rotation or the pitcher with the highest level of respect among the players and coaches.

Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds

He joined the Cleveland Indians in 1994, but left the team in August; after an abortive attempt at a final comeback with the Cincinnati Reds, Morris retired. In 1996, he made a brief return to professional baseball, this time playing with the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League.

Salary

Morris was the highest-paid pitcher in the American League on at least 4 occasions: 1987, 1988, 1991, and 1993.

Wildness

His split-finger pitch was responsible for Morris leading the league in wild pitches on six separate occasions. His 206 wild pitches in his career rank eighth in baseball history.

Awards and highlights

  • 1981 - The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year
  • 1984 - Babe Ruth Award
  • 1991 - Babe Ruth Award
  • 1991 - World Series Most Valuable Player
  • All Star: 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1991
  • AL Wins Leader: 1981, 1992
  • AL Strikeouts Leader: 1983
  • AL Shutouts Leader: 1986
  • Hold the major league record for consecutive opening day starts, with 14 (1980–1993)
  • Ranks No. 8 on the all time MLB list for wild pitches with 206 [2]
  • Ranks No. 1 in Detroit Tigers history for wild pitches (155) and balks (23). [3]
  • Holds Tigers' all-time record for most times leading the team in wins - 11 (1979-88, 1990).

Post-career activities

Morris has spent time as a color analyst for the Minnesota Twins, and as an occasional guest on Detroit Tigers broadcasts. He also spent time in Lakeland, Florida as a part-time coach for the Detroit Tigers during spring training.

Morris is known for his love of hunting and fishing, especially in his native Minnesota.

Morris was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hall of Fame candidacy

Morris has been eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame since 2000. From 2000 to 2003, he never received greater than 30% of the vote. He received 40% of the vote for the first time in 2006. In 2010, he received 52.3% of the vote, his highest level of support so far[3].

See also

References

  1. ^ McCarver, Tim; Jim Moskovitz, Danny Peary (2008). Tim McCarver's Diamond Gems: Favorite Baseball Stories from the Legends of the Game. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 193. ISBN 9780071545945. http://books.google.ca/books?id=EYukP2zp56gC&pg=RA1-PA193. Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  2. ^ Stone, Mike; Art Regner (2008). The Great Book of Detroit Sports Lists. Running Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780762433544. http://books.google.ca/books?id=AUZyxLK85iIC&pg=PT14. Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  3. ^ Baseball Reference

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Steve Stone
Scott Erickson & Bill Gullickson
American League Wins Champion
1981 (with Martinez, McCatty & Vukovich)
1992 (with Kevin Brown)
Succeeded by
LaMarr Hoyt
Jack McDowell
Preceded by
Floyd Bannister
American League Strikeout Champion
1983
Succeeded by
Mark Langston
Preceded by
Rick Dempsey
Billy Hatcher
Babe Ruth Award
1984
1991
Succeeded by
Bret Saberhagen
Dave Winfield
Preceded by
Jose Rijo
World Series MVP
1991
Succeeded by
Pat Borders
Preceded by
Steve Stone
Dave Stieb
Bob Welch
American League All-Star Game Starting Pitcher
1981
1985
1991
Succeeded by
Dennis Eckersley
Roger Clemens
Kevin Brown

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