Jack Morris

Last updated

Jack Morris
Jack Morris 2013.jpg
Morris in 2013
Born: (1955-05-16) May 16, 1955 (age 63)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
July 26, 1977, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
August 7, 1994, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 254–186
Earned run average 3.90
Strikeouts 2,478
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction 2018
Election MethodModern Era Committee

John Scott Morris (born May 16, 1955) is an American former professional baseball starting pitcher. He is currently a color commentator for the Detroit Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) between 1977 and 1994, mainly for the Detroit Tigers. Morris won 254 games throughout his career.

Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.

Starting pitcher baseball or softball pitcher who throws the first pitch for their team in a game

In baseball, a starting pitcher or starter is the first pitcher in the game for each team. A pitcher is credited with a game started if they throw the first pitch to the opponent's first batter of a game. A pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher. Starting pitchers are expected to pitch for a significant portion of the game, although their ability to do this depends on many factors, including effectiveness, stamina, health, and strategy.

Color commentator Sports commentator who assists the play-by-play announcer

A color commentator or expert commentator is a sports commentator who assists the main commentator, often by filling in any time when play is not in progress. The phrase "color commentator" is primarily used in American English; the concept may also be referred to as a summariser or analyst. The color analyst and main commentator will often exchange comments freely throughout the broadcast, when the main commentator is not describing the action. The color commentator provides expert analysis and background information, such as statistics, strategy, and injury reports on the teams and athletes, and occasionally anecdotes or light humor. Color commentators are often former athletes or coaches of the sport being broadcast.


Armed with a fastball, a slider, and a forkball, [1] [2] Morris was a five-time All-Star (1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1991), and played on four World Series Championship teams (1984 Tigers, 1991 Minnesota Twins, and 1992–1993 Toronto Blue Jays). He went 3–0 in the 1984 postseason with two complete game victories in the 1984 World Series, and 4–0 in the 1991 postseason with a ten-inning complete game victory in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Morris won the Babe Ruth Award in both 1984 and 1991, and was named World Series MVP in 1991. While he gave up the most hits, most earned runs, and most home runs of any pitcher in the 1980s, [3] he also started the most games, pitched the most innings, and had the most wins of any pitcher in that decade. [4] He is one of seven players in MLB history to have won back-to back World Series championships on different teams, the other six being Ben Zobrist, Jake Peavy, Bill Skowron, Clem Labine, Don Gullett, and Ryan Theriot.

Fastball type of pitch in baseball

The fastball is the most common type of pitch thrown by pitchers in baseball and softball. "Power pitchers," such as former American major leaguers Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, rely on speed to prevent the ball from being hit, and have thrown fastballs at speeds of 95–105 miles per hour (153–169 km/h) (officially) and up to 108.1 miles per hour (174.0 km/h) (unofficially). Pitchers who throw more slowly can put movement on the ball, or throw it on the outside of home plate where batters can't easily reach it.

Slider baseball pitch

In baseball, a slider is a breaking ball pitch that tails laterally and down through the batter's hitting zone; it is thrown with less speed than a fastball but greater than the pitcher's curveball.


The forkball is a type of pitch in baseball. Related to the split-finger fastball, the forkball is held between the first two fingers and thrown hard, snapping the wrist.

Since retiring as a player, Morris has worked as a broadcast color analyst for the Blue Jays, Twins, and Tigers. He has also been an analyst for MLB broadcasts on Fox Sports 1. Morris was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Fox Sports 1 American sports-oriented cable and satellite television channel

Fox Sports 1 (FS1) is an American pay television channel that is owned by the Fox Sports Media Group, a unit of Fox Corporation. FS1 replaced the motorsports network Speed on August 17, 2013, at the same time that its companion channel Fox Sports 2 replaced Fuel TV. Both FS1 and FS2 absorbed most of the sports programming from its predecessors, as well as content from Fox Soccer, which was replaced by the entertainment-based channel FXX on September 2, 2013.

Playing career

Amateur career

Morris attended Highland Park High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, graduating in 1973. [5] He then attended Brigham Young University (BYU), and played college baseball for the BYU Cougars. [6]

Highland Park High School (Minnesota) high school in Saint Paul, Minnesota

Highland Park Senior High School is a public secondary school in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States serving grades 9 through 12. It is located in the Highland Park neighborhood.

Saint Paul, Minnesota Capital of Minnesota

Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2017, the city's estimated population was 309,180. Saint Paul is the county seat of Ramsey County, the smallest and most densely populated county in Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state's largest city. Known as the "Twin Cities", the two form the core of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.6 million residents.

Brigham Young University private research university located in Provo, Utah, United States

Brigham Young University is a private, non-profit research university in Provo, Utah, United States completely owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and run under the auspices of its Church Educational System. Approximately 99 percent of the students are members of the LDS Church and one-third of its U.S. students are from Utah. The university's primary focus is on undergraduate education, but it also has 68 master's and 25 doctoral degree programs.

Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers selected Morris in the fifth round of the 1976 MLB draft. [7] 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' starting 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. In 1980, Morris learned to throw the split-finger fastball from newly hired pitching coach Roger Craig, and it became an effective pitch for the rest of Morris' career. He led the major leagues with 14 wins in the strike-shortened 1981 season.

Detroit Tigers Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

The Detroit Tigers are an American professional baseball team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the American League (AL) Central division. One of the AL's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit as a member of the minor league Western League in 1894 and is the only Western League team still in its original city. They are the oldest continuous one name, one city franchise in the AL. The Tigers have won four World Series championships, 11 AL pennants, and four AL Central division championships. The Tigers also won division titles in 1972, 1984, and 1987 as a member of the AL East. The team currently plays its home games at Comerica Park in Downtown Detroit.

Mark Fidrych American baseball player

Mark Steven Fidrych, nicknamed "The Bird", was a Major League Baseball pitcher. He pitched his entire career for the Detroit Tigers (1976–1980).

Lance Parrish American baseball player and coach

Lance Michael Parrish, nicknamed "Big Wheel", is an American former professional baseball player who played as a catcher in Major League Baseball from 1977 through 1995. He played for the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, California Angels, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays. He currently is the manager of the West Michigan Whitecaps. He was regarded as one of the best catchers in the 1980s, for both his offensive and defensive play.

Despite playing for the notorious "Captain Hook" (Anderson), [8] so named because of his tendency to pull his starters at the first sign of weakness, Morris was known for finishing what he started. He racked up 175 complete games in his career (154 with Detroit). In 10 of his 12 full seasons as a Tiger, he compiled double-digit complete game totals. In 1983 alone, Jack completed 20 of his 37 starts. That year, he led the league in innings pitched (293.2), batters faced (1204) and strikeouts (232), while posting his first 20-win season. [9]

The 1983 Detroit Tigers finished in second place in the American League East with a record of 92-70 (.568), six games behind the Orioles. The Tigers outscored their opponents 789 to 679. The Tigers drew 1,829,636 fans to Tiger Stadium in 1983, ranking 8th of the 14 teams in the American League.

On April 7, 1984 (on NBC's nationally televised Game of the Week ), Morris no-hit the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park, [10] beginning what would be an excellent season for both him and the Tigers. The no-hitter was the first by a Tiger since Jim Bunning in 1958. By the end of the 1984 campaign, he had 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. While teammate Alan Trammell was named the World Series MVP, Jack was given the Babe Ruth Award for most outstanding performance in the 1984 postseason.

In 1986, Morris racked up 21 wins, and had a stretch from July 9–18 in which he threw three consecutive complete game shutouts. [11] But he was overshadowed that year by eventual Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox, who went 24–4. The Tigers headed to the postseason again in 1987 behind a team-leading 18 wins from Morris, but this time Jack's postseason performance was below expectations. He lost his only start in the ALCS, surrendering six runs in eight innings to the eventual World Champion Minnesota Twins. Despite a sub par season in 1989 when he made only 24 starts and won just 6 games, he still finished the 1980s with 162 wins, the most by a major league pitcher during the decade. In 1990, his final season in Detroit, Morris lost a career high 18 games, though he also led the Tiger staff with 15 wins and led the AL with 11 complete games.

Morris had a 3–1 post-season record as a Tiger, with a 2.73 ERA.

When playing for the Tigers, Morris was approached for a locker room interview by Jennifer Frey. At the time, Frey was an intern with the Miami Herald ; she would later work as a reporter for The New York Times and The Washington Post . Morris responded to Frey that, "I don’t talk to women when I’m naked unless they’re on top of me or I’m on top of them". When the Herald complained about his actions, Bo Schembechler, who was the president of the Tigers at the time, said that the newspaper had a "lack of common sense" for assigning a woman to a locker room interview.

Minnesota Twins

In 1991, Morris signed a one-year contract with his hometown Minnesota Twins. He enjoyed another great season, posting 18 wins with a 3.43 ERA, and an even better postseason after Minnesota won the AL West. Morris won both of his starts over the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, and his team went on to face the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. Jack started for the Twins three times in the series, going 2–0 with a 1.17 ERA, making his final outing in the deciding Game 7. In a postseason performance for the ages, the 36-year-old hurler threw 10 innings of shutout baseball against the Braves, as the Twins won the World title 1–0 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 four 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 (the first ever 20-win season for a Blue Jays pitcher) with only six losses, 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. [12] Regardless he was given his fourth World Series ring

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.


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


Although it likely helped his strikeout totals, the split-finger pitch was also 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

Morris DET.png
Jack Morris's number 47 was retired by the Detroit Tigers in 2018.

Post-career activities

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

In 2013, Morris joined Sportsnet as a color analyst for Toronto Blue Jays radio broadcasts, as well as making appearances on television broadcasts. [16] In 2014, served as a pre- and post-game analyst for Twins telecasts on Fox Sports North (as well as a part-time substitute for regular game analyst Bert Blyleven) and as a regular on-air contributor on KTWN-FM and the Twins Radio Network. [17]

On February 10, 2015, it was announced that Morris was hired as a part-time analyst for Detroit Tigers telecasts on Fox Sports Detroit, along with former teammate Kirk Gibson. [18] In a unique arrangement, Morris continued to work part-time for the Twins' television crew as well as the Tigers'. [19] In 2017, it was announced that Morris would no longer do Tigers telecasts. [20] On January 15, 2019, Morris was named a color commentator for the Tigers. [21]

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

Hall of Fame candidacy

Morris was eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame from 2000 to 2014 but did not receive the required 75% of the vote in any of his eligible years. 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. [9] [22] In 2012, he received 67% of the vote, and in 2013 he received 67.7% of the vote. [23] On January 8, 2014, Morris only received 61.5% of the vote in his last year of eligibility. [24] Morris was next eligible in 2017, and was elected by the Modern Era portion of the Veterans Committee in December of that year. He was inducted in 2018 along with former Tigers teammate Alan Trammell. [25]

See also

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  1. James, Bill; Neyer, Rob (June 15, 2004). The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Simon and Schuster. p. 314. ISBN   9780743261586 . Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  2. Sexton, Joe (October 18, 1992). "WORLD SERIES; For Blue Jays' Morris, It Was Feast or Famine With His Forkball". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  3. Barzilai, Peter (January 3, 2011). "Study Hall: Jack Morris' case is stuck in the 1980s". USA Today.
  4. "Is collusion to blame for Jack Morris' HOF case?". Hardballtimes.com. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  5. http://www.mlive.com/whitecaps/index.ssf/2017/05/jack_morris_and_his_dual_affai.html
  6. 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 May 6, 2009.
  7. Stone, Mike; Art Regner (2008). The Great Book of Detroit Sports Lists. Running Press. p. 14. ISBN   978-0-7624-3354-4 . Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  8. "Sparky Anderson bio at The Baseball Library". Baseballlibrary.com. Archived from the original on September 20, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  9. 1 2 Baseball Reference
  10. "Retrosheet Boxscore: Detroit Tigers 4, Chicago White Sox 0". Retrosheet.org. April 7, 1984. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  11. Beck, Jason (July 1, 2014). "Porcello extends scoreless streak with shutout of A's". MLB.com. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  12. Caple, Jim (October 16, 1994). "Jack Morris Adjusting To Life On Farm – His Farm". The Seattle Times.
  13. "Career Leaders &amp Records for Wild Pitches". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  14. "Tigers All-Time Leaders | tigers.com: History". Detroit.tigers.mlb.com. June 19, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  15. Posnanski, Joe (December 28, 2012). "Joe Blogs: Pitcher v. Pitcher". Joeposnanski.blogspot.com. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  16. Sportsnet Staff (February 5, 2013). "Morris joins Sportsnet's Blue Jays coverage". Sportsnet . Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  17. Miller, Phil (January 25, 2014). "Jack Morris added to Twins radio and TV teams". Star Tribune . Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  18. Nowak, Joey (February 10, 2015). "Gibson, Morris aboard as Tigers analysts". MLB . Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  19. Berardino, Mike (February 10, 2015). "Twinsights: Jack Morris 'on loan' to Detroit Tigers in broadcast booth". blogs.twincities.com.
  20. Crawford, Kirkland (January 25, 2017). "Jack Morris bows out of Detroit Tigers' TV booth". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  21. Beck, Jason (January 15, 2019). "Gibson, Morris join Tigers broadcasting team". MLB.com. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  22. ASSOCIATED PRESS: Andre Dawson makes Hall of Fame; Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell denied, AnnArbor.com, January 6, 2010.
  23. "Former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin elected to baseball Hall of Fame." Article at washingtonpost.com on January 9, 2012.
  24. Morris, Raines among Hall of Fame candidates who deserved better Heyman, Jon at cbssports.com on January 8, 2014.
  25. "Morris, Trammell get long awaited call to Hall" (Press release). MLB. December 10, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mike Warren
No-hitter pitcher
April 7, 1984
Succeeded by
Mike Witt
Preceded by
Steve Stone
Dave Stieb
Bob Welch
American League All-Star Game Starting Pitcher
Succeeded by
Dennis Eckersley
Roger Clemens
Kevin Brown