Jack Morris

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John Scott Morris

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jack Morris.jpg

Surly Jack Morris was a bulldog on the mound, replete with supreme confidence and the competitive fire to match his good stuff. He won 254 games in his career and played on three World Series winners: the 1984 Detroit Tigers, the 1991 Minnesota Twins, and the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays. In addition to his dogged determination, Morris relished facing baseball's toughest hitters. No major league pitcher won more games during the 1980s than Jack Morris, though Morris benefited greatly from being on such strong teams; he only had a 105 ERA+.

Morris became a national star in 1984 when he pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on April 7th, in the midst of the Tigers' amazing run to open the season. Morris had been a solid pitcher before, but that feat grabbed headlines, and he never lost his star status afterwards, thanks to his excellent performance the rest of the year and in the ensuing World Series. Although he never won a Cy Young Award, he was in the top 5 in the voting five times.

In the 1984 World Series, he went 2-0, pitching two complete games; in the 1991 World Series he went 2-0 as well, including a magnificent 10-inning shutout in the decisive seventh game, but in the 1992 World Series, he went 0-2. He was also a member of the Blue Jay staff in 1993, when they repeated as World Champions, but did not pitch in the post-season after suffering through a poor 7-12, 6.19 season. Through 2007, Morris is the last pitcher to pitch in consecutive World Series for two different World Series champion teams (Minnesota - 1991, Toronto - 1992).

It has been argued by many that his general distaste for sportswriters during his playing career has negatively affected his quest for induction into baseball's Hall of Fame; a much stronger case can be made that he just wasn't good enough to warrant their votes. In 2010, he received 52.3% of the vote and in 2013, 67.7% in his penultimate year of eligibility and then fell to 61.5% and off the ballot altogether in his 15th and final try in 2014, when the ballot was loaded with strong candidates. Historically, pitchers from the 20th century with 250 wins have gotten into the Hall, although Morris' contemporaries Jim Kaat and Tommy John also passed that total but were not voted in by writers, while Bert Blyleven had to wait 14 years to receive his ticket to Cooperstown. Morris will therefore have to wait for the Veterans Committee to examine his case. Morris is tied at 254 wins with Red Faber, who is in the Hall of Fame. However, Morris has a high 3.90 career ERA, which is higher than any pitcher in the Hall of Fame. He also threw 175 complete games, a high total for his era, which is a point in his favor.

Morris was a Detroit Tigers' television broadcaster in 2003 and did some color commentary for the Minnesota Twins and Tigers a few times in 2005.

"To me, he was the best pitcher I ever had in my career." – Sparky Anderson (as seen on MLB Network's Prime 9: Best Non-Hall of Famers, 01-10-2012; Morris was ranked second behind only Tim Raines.)

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 5-time AL All-Star (1981, 1984, 1985, 1987 & 1991)
  • 1991 World Series MVP
  • 2-time AL Wins Leader (1981 & 1992)
  • AL Innings Pitched Leader (1983)
  • AL Strikeouts Leader (1983)
  • AL Complete Games Leader (1990)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (1986)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 12 (1979, 1980, 1982-1988 & 1990-1992)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 3 (1983, 1986 & 1992)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 11 (1980, 1982-1988 & 1990-1992)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 3 (1983, 1986 & 1987)
  • Won four World Series with the Detroit Tigers (1984), the Minnesota Twins (1991) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1992 & 1993; he did not play in the 1993 World Series)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jack Morris (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, December 1994, pp. 71-72. [1]
  • Stew Thornley: "Jack Morris", in Mark Pattison and David Raglin, ed.: Detroit Tigers 1984: What A Start! What A Finish!, SABR Publications, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 129-133. ISBN 978-1933599441

Related Sites[edit]