Former Tigers pitcher Jack Morris waves to the crowd before Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Thursday night. (Dale G. Young / Detroit News)
Detroit— Although he didn’t come out and say it in so many words, one gets the impression Tigers legend Jack Morris would have preferred to pitch at Comerica Park than Tiger Stadium.
Morris, who threw out the first pitch in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Thursday at Comerica Park, pitched 14 seasons (1977-90) for the Tigers. He was 198-150 with the Tigers, and admits Tiger Stadium wasn’t his favorite place to pitch.
“They built the dugout for Ty Cobb,” he said. “And he was about 4-foot-6. Every time I went in there I hit my head, and I’ve been a wreck ever since.
“This field (at Comerica) is much more enjoyable for everyone. Tiger Stadium was unique. This first time I walked into it I thought it was pretty cool. It was a historical park where some of the greatest players of all time played. That in itself is kind of cool. As we get older as players, we appreciate history more than we did as current players.”
Morris also touched on a few other subjects:
■On the current Tigers rotation and the success they’ve enjoyed:
“I thought we were pretty good in the teams we played,” he said. “These guys are great. I don’t mean to do anything that doesn’t put them in the light, because this is what it’s about, those guys, not me.
“I had a good run. I don’t regret anything I did and the teams I played on were great teams.”
■On pitching in cold weather (Game 5 was the coolest of any game in the series):
“The pitcher is the warmest guy on the field,” said Morris, who pitched for the Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays and Indians (all cold-weather cities). “He’s the only one moving. The catcher is close. He has a bunch of gear on and the umpire is breathing down his neck.
“You just have to make sure you’re loose in between innings. Today they’ve got heaters and all sorts of nice things to keep guys warm. You’ve got to accept the fact that Mother Nature is more powerful than anybody. And both teams deal with the same environment.”
■On starting pitchers going seven innings or less regardless of how well they are pitching:
“That’s a question for (Jim) Leyland,” said Morris, who had 175 career complete games. “I’m old school. I haven’t bought into it all and never will. My prayer and hope is that I live long enough to see pitch counts thrown out again. I think for 90 years of baseball it worked just fine.”
■On the adage good pitching trumps good hitting:
“The good (hitters) capitalize all year long on pitcher’s mistakes,” he said. “They rarely hit good pitchers when the good pitchers are on. And it seems in the postseason they’re all on.”