"The Oldest Rookie"

In 1998, at age 35, Jim Morris, a high school teacher and baseball coach, made a bet with his young players that would catapult him from a tryout with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays all the way to the major leagues.


Read by Kevin O'Rourke
April 4, 2001 3:51AM (UTC)

After an injury-plagued stint in the minor leagues in his 20s, Jim Morris hung up his cleats and his dreams to start a new life as a father, high school physics teacher and baseball coach.

Morris believed his new purpose in life was to inspire his students and players to dream bigger dreams than their harsh west Texas surroundings usually allowed. Morris made his players work hard in baseball practice -- in fact, the players complained that their coach threw the ball so hard they could barely hit it.

Advertisement:

After a few discouraging results, Morris gave his players a pep talk. Their response was a bet with their coach: If the team won the league championship, he would have to try out for a major league ball club. They did -- and he did, and during that tryout threw the ball faster than he ever had, faster than anyone there, nearly faster than anyone playing in the bigs. He was immediately signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and three months later he made his major league debut, striking out All-Star shortstop Royce Clayton.


Read by Kevin O'Rourke

MORE FROM Read by Kevin O'Rourke

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Baseball

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••






Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •