Happy 62nd Birthday, Jack Morris
It’s the birthday of 1973 Highland Park High School graduate Jack Morris, born in St. Paul in 1951. Morris was selected in the Fifth Round of the '76 Draft out of Brigham Young. The Tigers had drafted Alan Trammell in the 2nd Round, and Lou Whitaker in the 5th Round a year earlier. All three would make their major league debuts in 1977, with Trammell and Whitaker debuting in the same game. Morris was the Tigers’ Opening Day starter in 1980, beginning a major league-record streak of 14 consecutive Opening Day starts (1980-1993). Morris won his first of four World Series in 1984 as the Tigers beat the Padres in five games. Morris pitched complete game victories in Games One and Four. Morris won more games in the 1980s (162) than any other pitcher.
On February 5, 1991 Jack Morris signed a one-year, $3.7 million contract with the Twins, making him the highest paid pitcher in the American League, a distinction which he previously held in 1987 and ‘88, and would hold again in 1993. Morris won 18 games during the regular season and another four in the postseason, including the legendary 10-inning shutout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the World Series. 1991 would be Morris’s only season with the Minnesota Twins.
On December 18, 1991 he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, against whom he had just won two games in the American League Championship Series. Morris led the league with 21 wins in 1992 and the Blue Jays went on to win the World Series, beating the Braves in six games. The Blue Jays won the Series again in 1993, though Morris pitched poorly, accumulating a 7-12 record with a 6.19 ERA before his season was cut a month short by injury. Fellow St. Paul native Paul Molitor was MVP of the '93 Series.
Morris pitched for Cleveland in 1994 but was released in August just prior to the strike. The following spring he unsuccessfully attempted a comeback with Cincinnati. In 1996, the 41-year-old Morris went 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts with the St. Paul Saints before retiring for good.
May 16, 1928
It’s the Birthdate of Billy Martin
Twins player, coach, and manager Billy Martin was born in Berkeley, California on this date in 1928. Martin, who won four World Championships as a member of the 1950s New York Yankees, was traded by the Milwaukee Braves to Minnesota on June 1, 1961, where he played out his final major league season. Martin served as a Twins scout from 1962-’64, and rejoined the major league team as third base coach in 1965. He was sent down to Triple-A Denver midway through the 1968 season where he served as manager. He succeeded Cal Ermer as manager of the Twins in 1969, winning the American League West in his only season at the helm. Martin was hugely popular as a Twins coach and manager, and instrumental in the development of Cesar Tovar, and, to a lesser extent, Rod Carew. Martin went on to manage 16 major league seasons, including five stints with the Yankees who he led to a World Series Championship in 1977. Martin died in a single-car crash on Christmas, 1989. He was 61 years old.
May 16, 2010
Jason Kubel Hits Grand Slam Off Mariano Rivera
The Twins had not beaten the Yankees since August 13, 2008. They had been swept by the Yankees in both the 2009 regular and postseason. Now, trailing 3-1 in the third game of a series at Yankee Stadium, the Twins loaded the bases against Joba Chamberlain in the eighth. With two out and the bases full of Twins, manager Joe Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera to face Jim Thome. Rivera had converted his last 51 home save opportunities, tying the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne’s all-time record. Rivera walked Thome, forcing in Orlando Hudson. Trailing now by just one run, Jason Kubel hit Rivera’s 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for a grand slam. The Twins went on to an improbable 6-3 victory, with Jon Rauch converting his 10th save of the season.
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