1 minute read

Jim Morris Biography

Derailed By Arm Injuries, Tried Out For Major Leagues, Chronology, The Rookie, Further InformationSELECTED WRITINGS BY MORRIS:


American baseball player

The relief pitcher Jim Morris became one of baseball's oldest rookies in 1999, when at age 35 he signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. A high school science teacher and baseball coach who had formerly played in the minor leagues, Morris stunned the Devil Rays' talent scouts with his 98-mile-per-hour fastball. Although he played for only two seasons and pitched in only 21 major league games, Morris captured baseball fans' imaginations with his Cinderella story, which took him from the classrooms and baseball diamond of a Texas high school to the national arena of a big league stadium. His made-for-Hollywood tale became a major motion picture, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid, in 2002.

James Samuel Morris Jr. was born on January 19, 1964, in Brownwood, Texas. His father was in the U.S. Navy, so his family moved often. For young Morris, baseball became a way to make friends in new towns. It was also his passion and the source of his aspirations, as he dreamed of playing in the major leagues one day.

At age 18, Morris was selected by the New York Yankees in the first round of the major league baseball draft. He chose to continue his education first, but turned down football scholarships from Penn State and Notre Dame because he wouldn't be allowed to play college baseball. Instead he enrolled at Angelo State University on an academic scholarship. In 1984 Morris attended major league tryouts again and was recruited by the Milwaukee Brewers.


(With Joel Engel) The Oldest Rookie: Big-League Dreams from a Small-Town Guy. Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1991.

Sketch by Wendy Kagan

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBaseball