Jack Morris at Skydome. Credit: US PRESSWIRE
Jack Morris turns 57 today.
Morris was a very good pitcher, back in the 1980's, with the Tigers. Not quite a Hall of Fame pitcher (though you never can tell what the BBWAA might do) but a guy that won a lot of games (helped along by a very good Tiger offense) and pitched a lot of innings. I'm 1983 he threw 293.2 innings, with 20 complete games.
The Jays signed him before the 1992 season. Morris had just helped the Minnesota Twins to a World Series win over the Atlanta Braves. He won two games in that series, including game 7, one of the greatest pitching performances in the history of the World Series. He pitched a 10 inning shutout, keeping the Braves off the scoreboard long enough for the Twins get the only run of the game in the bottom of the 10th.
The Jays signed him hoping he could get them a World Series win too. He had the reputation of being a winner. And in 1992 he was a winner, going 21-6, with a 4.04 ERA in 34 starts, again helped out by great offense. He was our first 20 game winner. We couldn't get enough runs for him to be a winner in the playoffs. In the ALCS against Oakland, he was 0-1 with a 6.57 ERA and, in the World Series against the Braves, he was 0-2 with a 8.44 ERA.
Jack had a poor 1993 season, going 7-12 (even great offenses can only do so much) with a 6.19 ERA and didn't pitch in the playoffs that year. But he picked up his 4th World Series ring.
Morris won a lot of games in his career, 254. He was a good pitcher, who was helped out by pitching for teams with great offenses. As well as pitching a lot of innings, he gave up a lot of home runs (389 in his career, 15th on the all-time list) and a lot of walks (1390, 19th all-time).
He was never a fan favorite in Toronto, we kind of disliked the Tigers back then and he had been their best pitcher and, well, he never had the warmest of personalities. Since he didn't pitch all that well for us, we really didn't grow to like him.
Happy Birthday Jack. Hope it is a good one.