Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The DNR 25: #20 Jack Morris
The DNR 25 is a list of my personal favorite Detroit Tigers players of the past 25 years. If you’ve missed any so far and care to catch up, here they are.
#25: Jamie Walker
#24: Dmitri Young
#23: Todd Jones
#22: Miguel Cabrera
#21: Mike Henneman
And on with the list…
John Scott Morris
Bringham Young University
1976, 5th Round, Detroit Tigers
254-186, 3.90 ERA, 1.296 WHIP, 105 ERA+, 2478 K’s
1981 Sporting News Pitcher of the Year
AL All-Star (’81, ’84, ’85, ’87, ’91)
1981: AL 1st in Wins (14)
1983: AL 1st in Strikeouts (232)
1983: AL 1st in Innings Pitched (293.2)
1986: AL 1st in Shutouts (6)
1990: AL 1st in Complete Games (11)
1992: AL 1st in Wins (21)
Major League Record 14 straight Opening Day starts (’80-’93)
Best Tiger Season
Although Morris had many fine seasons as the Tigers’ ace, 1986 was his best year. He went 21-8 with a 3.27 ERA, 223 strikeouts, an ERA+ of 127, 15 compete games, 6 shutouts, and a career best 1.165 WHIP. The Jack Morris that Tiger fans recall today was from that ’83-’87 era. Awesome stuff. Roger Clemens was amazing in ‘86 and overshadowed Jack’s numbers, however, ruining his best chance at a Cy Young Award.
Little Known Fact
Morris is the all-time Tigers leader in both wild pitches (155) and balks (23).
Reason For Being On The List
He was the first “ace” pitcher that I ever knew. Morris was what they referred to as a “bulldog” on the mound. He always wanted the ball, hated coming out of games (he had 175 complete games in 527 career starts, unheard of today), and no one tried harder on the mound than Jack. You could see how pissed he was when he played poorly.
He was the first player I ever saw that threw the split-fingered fastball and was the guy that made it the “hot” pitch of the 80’s and early 90’s. He is one of the few major league ballplayers whose career numbers really don’t show what a great player he was for so many teams, in my opinion.
What Happened To Him?
A lot, actually. Jack left the Tigers in 1991 and went on to his hometown Minnesota Twins and won a World Series. Who can forget his badass Game 7 where he went 10 innings for the win against John Smoltz and the Braves? Morris would win the World Series MVP that year.
He bolted the Twins after the season for the Toronto Blue Jays winning World Series rings in ’92 and ’93, though he didn’t pitch in the ’93 Series after a disappointing 7-12, 6.19 ERA season.
He joined the Cleveland Indians in 1994 going 10-6 with a 5.60 ERA. After that, he tried a final MLB season with the Reds in 1995, but never pitched for them. In 1996, he played for the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League before finally retiring from the game.
Today, he’s a broadcaster for the Twins and is slowing gaining support for the Hall of Fame getting a personal high 52.3% of the vote in 2010. He probably has the best chance of getting elected of anyone that you’ll see on this list. Good luck, Jack.
Info ripped off of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.