||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2009)|
May 16, 1955 |
St. Paul, Minnesota
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|July 26, 1977 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 7, 1994 for the Cleveland Indians|
|Earned run average||3.90|
|Career highlights and awards|
John Scott "Jack" Morris (born May 16, 1955) is an American former Major League Baseball starting pitcher, and played between 1977 and 1994, mainly for the Detroit Tigers, winning 254 games throughout his career. Armed with a fastball, a slider, and a forkball, Morris was a five-time All-Star (1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1991), and played on four World Series Championship teams (1984 Tigers, 1991 Twins, and 1992–1993 Blue Jays). While he gave up the most hits, most earned runs, and most home runs of any pitcher in the 1980s, he also started the most games, pitched the most innings, and had the most wins of any pitcher in that decade.
Morris attended Brigham Young University and was drafted by the Tigers in the fifth round of the 1976 draft. He was first called up to the Detroit Tigers in 1977 after Mark Fidrych was placed on the disabled list with an injury. Morris 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, outfielder Kirk Gibson, 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, beginning what would be an excellent season for him. The no-hitter was the first by a Tiger since Jim Bunning in 1958. 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 complete-game victories 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 the 1980s with 162 wins, the most by a major league pitcher during the decade.
Noted as a big-game pitcher during his prime, Morris owned a 7-1 record in his first nine post-season starts, covering six series in 1984, 1987, and 1991.
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 and joined fellow pitcher Sandy Koufax as the only players to win the Babe Ruth Award twice. He holds the record for most wins by a Twin in a single postseason, with 4 acquired in 1991.
Toronto Blue Jays
Following the 1991 season, Morris 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 Jays pitcher), though he rode the wave of superior run support from his offense, given his 4.04 ERA that year. The Blue Jays reached the 1992 World Series against the Braves. Despite a subpar post-season performance (he went 0-3, including 2 World Series losses), Morris won a third World Series ring as Toronto beat Atlanta in six games. He won a fourth ring in 1993, as the Blue Jays repeated as World Champions with a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. However, Morris was not an important factor in the Blue Jays World Series repeat: he pitched poorly for the team in the regular season, finishing 7-12 with a 6.19 ERA, and was not used at all in the postseason due to a season-ending injury.
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 was released by the team on August 9, three days before the season was ended by a strike. Morris finished the season with a 10-6 record, but an ERA of 5.60. After an abortive attempt at a comeback with the Cincinnati Reds during spring training of 1995, Morris retired. In 1996, however, he made a brief return to professional baseball, this time playing with the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League. The 41-year-old Morris went 5-1 in 10 starts, with a 2.69 ERA, before retiring for good.
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 
- Ranks No. 1 in Detroit Tigers history for wild pitches (155) and balks (23).
- Holds Tigers' all-time record for most times leading the team in wins – 11 (1979–88, 1990).
- Jack Morris is the only pitcher with 2,000-plus strikeouts who did not face a single pitcher in his career.
Morris has spent time as a color analyst for the Minnesota Twins. He also is 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.
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. In 2012, he received 67% of the vote, and most recently (January 9, 2013) he received 67.7% of the vote. His last year of eligibility will be in 2014, making it a 15-year run on the ballot.
- 1984 Detroit Tigers season
- List of MLB individual streaks
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career wins
- List of Major League Baseball strikeout champions
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- List of Major League Baseball no-hitters
- Top 100 strikeout pitchers of all time
- Best pitching seasons by a Detroit Tiger
- James, Bill; Neyer, Rob (2004-06-15). The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Simon and Schuster. p. 314. ISBN 9780743261586. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Sexton, Joe (18 October 1992). "WORLD SERIES; For Blue Jays' Morris, It Was Feast or Famine With His Forkball". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Barzilai, Peter (January 3, 2011). "Study Hall: Jack Morris' case is stuck in the 1980s". USA Today.
- "Is collusion to blame for Jack Morris’ HOF case?". Hardballtimes.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- 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 978-0-07-154594-5. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- Stone, Mike; Art Regner (2008). The Great Book of Detroit Sports Lists. Running Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7624-3354-4. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- "Retrosheet Boxscore: Detroit Tigers 4, Chicago White Sox 0". Retrosheet.org. 1984-04-07. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- "Career Leaders & Records for Wild Pitches". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- "Tigers All-Time Leaders | tigers.com: History". Detroit.tigers.mlb.com. 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- Posnanski, Joe (2012-12-28). "Joe Blogs: Pitcher v. Pitcher". Joeposnanski.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- Sportsnet Staff (February 5, 2013). "Morris joins Sportsnet’s Blue Jays coverage". Sportsnet. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- Baseball Reference
- ASSOCIATED PRESS: Andre Dawson makes Hall of Fame; Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell denied, AnnArbor.com, January 6, 2010.
- "Former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin elected to baseball Hall of Fame." Article at washingtonpost.com on January 9, 2012. 
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball Library
- The Baseball Page
- 1991 World Series | Game 7
|Awards and achievements|
April 7, 1984
|American League All-Star Game Starting Pitcher