Jack Morris: From St. Paul to the Hall of Fame (Part 2)

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Minnesota Twins great Jack Morris on his journey to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

NARRATOR: In 1977, Jack Morris found a new home in Detroit. He was toeing the major league mound for the first time. There was only one problem, his debut at Tiger Stadium was the situation of star substitution.

JACK MORRIS: Mark Fidrych was the biggest name in baseball during that time.

- The pitching sensation of the American League is with us tonight. Mark, I've never seen anything like this in my life tonight. And I know it's a very emotional moment for you.

- Hell, yeah. I mean, 49 people-- 48,000 people coming out to see Detroit pitch. I said, we couldn't have gave them a better show, you know.

JACK MORRIS: Nobody was more loved in Detroit than 'The Bird.' And when he couldn't make his start, our pitching coach, Fred Gladding, came running up to the locker room, my locker, and said, hey, get your spikes on. You're pitching. And I started laughing. Because I knew, there's 40,000 people there. They're all there to see Bird, not me. And he says, he can't pitch. You're pitching. Get going, right now.

I have reoccurring nightmares about not being ready in time to this day. As I was walking towards the mound, the PA announcer made that announcement that ladies and gentlemen, Mark Fidrych will not be pitching. Today's starting pitcher is Jack Morris, and the whole place got up and booed. And I knew they weren't boring me, per se. But it still didn't feel well. And the good news is, I think I won that game, and got deep into the game. And those boos turned into cheers when I came off the mound. So, that just shows what baseball fans really want, they want to see a good game.

NARRATOR: Detroit fans some many more good games from Morris, especially during the 1984 season when a team of youngsters won 17 consecutive games on the road.

JACK MORRIS: We didn't have a lot of household names at that time. You know, we were all kids. Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, myself, Dan Petry, we had a lot of young guys that came up through the minor leagues together, but hadn't established ourselves as any stars in the big leagues. The one thing I know is I've never been with a group of guys that when the first pitch started, we were ready to do our part.

When we won our 17th in a row on the road, a bunch of writers were just all swarming all of us and saying, this is remarkable. And we looked at each other like, we're just playing ball. You know, this is not a big deal. But it was a big deal. We just weren't aware of it.

NARRATOR: Another big deal for Jack that season came on April 7th at Comiskey Park in front of a few vocal fans.

- Especially one in particular drunk fan, having a few pops over the dugout. He was piling up the big 16, 18 ouncers. And about the fourth inning, he started getting real vocal. And by the sixth inning, he started giving me the heckle. I looked up, and I saw all these zeros on the scoreboard. I didn't even know, at that point, that I had a no-hitter going. And I couldn't remember any time in my career where I was that deep in the game where I had a no-hitter. So, it was like, wow, this is pretty cool. I didn't know it.

And when I came off the mound in the seventh inning, the guy was just getting really belligerent. And I told him, I said, quit drinking. You're going to see something great here today. And you got to stick around for it. He didn't make it. He had one more, and they kicked him out. So, he didn't even get to see the end of it.

ANNOUNCER: Got him swinging, and he has his no-hitter.

JACK MORRIS: I remember, we came up in the shadows of the '68 Tigers. They were the last team to win a world championship.

ANNOUNCER: Detroit's the new world champion. Look at [INAUDIBLE] picking up Lolich.

JACK MORRIS: And in those years, it really brought a city together, because of the real tough times that the city of Detroit was going through in the late '60s. We heard so much about how a baseball team could influence a community. You win, and it's never forgotten. You know, you're never, ever brushed aside. You win and it's a part of the culture of the community.

And it's something special. I think it's probably the most cherished part of my whole baseball career is being a part of those championship teams, because of what it means to me even at this point in my life.

ANNOUNCER: Here comes Herndon. He's here He's got it. The Tigers are the champions of 1984.