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Monday, May 28, 2007

Jack Morris

Eligible in 2000.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2007 at 12:18 PM | 115 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. OCF Posted: June 05, 2007 at 11:40 PM (#2394127)
When I was about 14-16 years old, I played in organized youth leagues but I have much fonder memories of what happened outside those leagues with my circle of friends. We'd find a field - a lot of this was in late summer after the seasons were over, so we pretty much had out pick. One of our group's father was a coach for some team, so we had a whole paint bucket full of balls - of course, they were getting a little brown and fuzzy. We'd have just 3 to 5 people per team, so we almost always played with RF closed, no catcher, free pinch-running, and sometimes "pitcher's hand" and "ghost runners." Everyone did some pitching. The rules were simple: no strike zone. A pitch not swung at was nothing - the only strikes were on swings. You were expected to swing at pitches that were probably in the strike zone - that was more a part of the social compact than the rules. The social compact also prohibited "real" fastballs but encouraged every other kind of pitch imaginable - as long as you didn't throw 7 or 10 unreachable pitches in a row. My own control was lousy enough that I was always skirting the edges of that last issue, but you really could make those fuzzy balls do things. I threw a curve, a knuckleball, and a screwball - I particularly liked that scroogie. (Although in truth I sometimes had more success spotting a "straight ball" - i.e., a nothing fastball - into places where certain batters didn't like it.) I remember a kid who (unlike me) was a pitcher during the organized season; he threw a sidearm curve that seemed to start out behind you and the sweep all the way across the plate. And he threw a knuckler, too - his was better than mine.

But when we were 17 and 18, we were playing basketball year-round.
   102. Paul Wendt Posted: June 06, 2007 at 09:38 PM (#2395254)
Did you live in St Louis?
By the way, the SABR Convention is in the mound city this year-- just in case you have ever considered attending one, you could combine it with a return to old haunts or visit to relatives. Of course it would be a drag to go and preserve a secret identity.

On the Island where I lived until mid-8th grade (Grand Island NY), there were two neighborhoods with dense populations and two of the three elementary schools. I was a busser to one of those. Although I did ride my bike to school a few times, I didn't even once stay in the neighborhood afterward. So it was organized sports or a group smaller than six for me. At home I could shoot baskets or play catch. Six was a rare treat and I have fond memories of the few times I played a baseball-like game --such as one batter self-pitching and three or four outfielders.

My nephews north of Newark DE lives in similarly semirural condition, playing either organized baseball or whatever is fun for one to usually fewer than six. That is partly why the elder could be a dominating pitcher and .100 batter at age nine or so. Throw a tennis ball against a rectangle chalked on the side of the house.
Such relative isolation occasionally produces a deadly shooter with otherwise limited basketball skills. Vaguely I think Rick Mount may have been an example 40 years ago (probably my first basketball season) and one major women's collegiate point machine during the last decade.

Actually, that pitching skills can be developed alone, in the beginning, and then by working with a single willing partner, is probably a reason why New England produces more pitchers than other major league ballplayers. The baseball seasons are short but a talented determined pitcher can work out effectively with, say, a teammate catcher.
   103. Paul Wendt Posted: June 06, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2395258)
Jack Morris played at Brigham Young University; born in St Paul, Minnesota; raised?
Maybe he grew up with short seasons too. (This is his thread, you know.)
   104. DL from MN Posted: June 06, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2395263)
Good observation. I grew up in a rural area with a neighbor who was a good athlete. We played a lot of catch, didn't hit much unless we got a 3rd guy to shag.
   105. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 07, 2007 at 12:13 AM (#2395389)
Jack Morris played at Brigham Young University

I had no idea he was Mormon. He'll never be President.
   106. sunnyday2 Posted: June 07, 2007 at 01:12 AM (#2395458)
I don't remember how Jack Morris ended up at BYU other than that he was not regarded as a great prospect out of high school. His brother Tom was a bigger star in high school, as a hoops star as well as hardball player.
   107. kthejoker Posted: June 07, 2007 at 01:13 AM (#2395461)
Morris grew up in the same neighborhood as Paul Molitor. Molitor is a little over a year younger, and they went to different high schools (Molitor was drafted as a pitcher by the Cardinals after HS, but went to Minnesota instead.)

I wonder if they faced each other, and what the outcomes were?

And of course Dave Winfield was there, but was 4 years older than Morris, so I doubt the three ever collided.

Anybody have any more details?
   108. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 02:56 AM (#2395678)
I believe that colliding with Winfield could be painful.
   109. sunnyday2 Posted: June 07, 2007 at 03:52 AM (#2395782)
I believe that Morris went to St. Paul Highland Park HS, at least I know his brother Tom did. As I said, Tom was the bigger star in both baseball and basketball in high school, taking his team to the state high school basketball tournament in 1975. I guess Tom was the younger brother. Jack was probably class of 1973.

Winfield went to St. Paul Central, the next district north of Highland, and I believe he was class of 1969. Ironically, while he was a starting forward for the Minnesota Gophers basketball team, he did not play high school basketball.

Molitor played at Cretin High School, the Catholic school, which is where Joe Mauer also went. Molitor was all-state in basketball, too (meaning in addition to baseball; Mauer was not all-state in basketball though he played in the state tournment as a starting player, but football was his other big sport. Chris Weinke was one of his predecessors as football QB at Cretin.) I believe Molly was class of 1974 when Cretin finished second in the last of the old Catholic state tournaments. (The Catholics and other private schools were invited to join the MSHSL in 1974-1975.)

I would guess that Cretin probably did not play Highland Park (or Central) in those days. Cretin played in the old Central Catholic Conference from time immemorial until maybe around 1980 or so. The Catholics and publics, IOW, didn't play each other much in those days, prior to 1975 and then not much except in the post-season for a bit after that. Cretin joined the St. Paul City Conference but in just the past 2-3 years they were asked to leave because they are just too good. They now play against east metro suburban schools in the cleverly titled Suburban East Conference and continue to dominate in football and baseball, a bit less so in hoops.

It is possible they were teammates in Legion Ball, however. I can't think of the name now but there was a St. Paul Legion team that was always a powerhouse--they probably won the state title about every other year, and they would surely have had the best players in the St. Paul area on it. But like I said, it's not for certain that Morris was that highly regarded as a high school senior. Molly sure was. If they weren't teammates, then it is likely they opposed one another in Legion ball.
   110. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 04:06 AM (#2395802)
The tidbit that Dave McNally was from Montana bubbled to the surface . . . Isn't it sad what 40 years of baseball can do to the imagination?

So I checked Montana at baseball-reference. McNally p, Lowenstein of/h, and Ballard p played for the Orioles in my time. Hm-m. 11 pitchers and 8 others have played in the majors. 9 pitchers and 6 others have played 40 mlb games. Hm-m.
   111. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: June 07, 2007 at 04:10 AM (#2395812)
I didn't realize anyone actually lives in or is from Montana. Or Idaho.
   112. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 04:17 AM (#2395831)
5 pitchers and 2 others have played in the majors.
4 pitchers and 1 other have played 40 mlb games.
I'm ahead so I quit.
   113. DL from MN Posted: June 08, 2007 at 01:34 PM (#2397328)
Harmon Killebrew hails from Idaho.
   114. yest Posted: December 27, 2009 at 06:21 AM (#3422621)
I used this argument on Mickey Welch a few years ago slightly increasing his support at the time. but since my comment I put on Morris doesn't seem to get my message across not that I'm expecting anyone to buy it just to understand it.

assuming 2 pitchers pitched the same amount of innings against the same teams in the same ballparks behind the same defense in the same era.
which of these 2 would you rather have on the mound (these are the amounts of runs given up) (all earned) and and the league ERA minus these 2 pitchers is 4.00 (obviously this would depend on what sort of team you had (in other words if pitchers A and B were on a team whose runs/game (adjustments are still in neutral) was around 6 I'm assuming you would pick A but under normal situation or on a low scoring team you would go with B))
pitcher A 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
pitcher B 1 0 2 9 3 2 2 1 7 1 3 2 6 9 2 2 2 1 8 7

now please look at Morris 1984 season and and with out looking at what the Tigers offense and figure out game by game (do not use averages) what his W-L record with the Tigers defense (leave that for another argument) should be assuming he was on a league avg team.

according to my assessment (my numbers on what a neutral team would score) of the pitchers I did this with many not all of the pitchers with big wins ERA differences their new win numbers are still better then there so called peers with better ERA numbers. (I did use random pitchers to test out the randomness factor)

now we can argue about the Tigers defense.
   115. The Honorable Ardo Posted: September 04, 2014 at 12:42 AM (#4785125)
In 1984, Morris was 10-1 with a no-hitter in his first twelve starts (a big reason for the Tigers' 35-5 run) and the narrative was "Best Pitcher Ever", "Could he win 30?", etc. He struggled with wildness and a nagging elbow injury the rest of the way, going 9-10 with an ERA over five in his final 23 starts.
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