Jack Morris' complete Hall of Fame speech
Here is the complete speech given by former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday.
I am humbled and honored to be with all of you today. Above all, I give thanks to God for His many blessings. Thank you, Commissioner Manfred, thank you, Jane Forbes Clark, for all that you have done and continue to do to make this place so special. Jeff Idelson, thanks for being so supportive for so many years, and the Hall of Fame staff for all that you've done for me and my family.
To all the men behind me, thank you for all that you have brought to the game of baseball and all that you have brought out in me. You have inspired me and helped to elevate my game.
To the committee who voted me into the Hall of Fame, thank you so much. It is extra special to me to be selected by my peers, the people I played with and competed against.
Yes, thank you to the sports writers for your support for the 15 years I was on the ballot. Whether you voted for me or not, thank you for keeping my name alive. Thank you to all the fans for being here today to share this with all of us.
I can't possibly thank everyone that has contributed to my baseball journey. I hope to be able to thank you all in person in the near future.
Congratulations to my fellow inductees, Chipper, Tram, Vlady, Trevor, and Jim. What an honor it is to be inducted with all of you.
As early as six years old, I remember telling my mom I was going to play in the Big Leagues someday for the Minnesota Twins, and I believed it would happen. I'll never forget my excitement of seeing my first Big League game at Metropolitan Stadium. It was magical and left an everlasting impression on me.
Life was simple then, but the kids in our neighborhood spent countless hours emulating our heros and practicing the game.
After high school, I attended Brigham Young University hoping to advance my baseball skills and get the exposure necessary for a professional career. To my college coach, Glenn Tuckett, thank you for being here today, Coach. You taught me a lot during those wonderful years in Utah. Coach, I also need to confess one thing: I went skiing way more than you ever realized.
In 1976 after three years in college, I was drafted by the Detroit Tigers. I had no idea how I would come to appreciate and love the hard-working people of Michigan and Detroit. I will always cherish the friendships I made there. My teammates, coaches, managers in my Detroit years taught me what winning was all about. Many of us players came up together through the amateur draft, the Minor Leagues, Instructional League, and even Winter ball. Could any of us have guessed who would finally make it to the Major Leagues?
Each of us came from a different background. We had unique personalities. The late nights and laughter we shared on bus rides and road trips created a bond. We grew together in the Minor Leagues and eventually won together in the Major Leagues. I appreciate all of my teammates in my Detroit years.
Thank you, Jim Leyland, for your tough love that I needed during our time together. Your encouragement helped me to realize that I never want to go back to the Minor Leagues.
Dick Tracewski, thanks for making me smile and laugh at myself and for your lifelong love and commitment to our game. 1984 was an incredible year. A 35-5 start, wire to wire in first place, and a world championship that brought joy to a lot of people.
I owe a huge thank you to Detroit. I know Sparky Anderson is with us here today. He taught me so many things, especially to respect this great game. In 1980 I was struggling late in games. Sparky told me he had confidence in me, but that I needed to finish games to rest the bullpen. He said he couldn't tell me how to do it, wasn't coming out to get me, so I shouldn't look for any help. He taught me a valuable lesson by allowing me to fail and fight through adversity.
I understood what my role was, and appreciated his willingness to guide me into being a complete game pitcher. Our conversation had a huge impact on my role in baseball. Thank you pitching coach Roger Craig. Even though we didn't always agree, I knew you were always in my corner.
To go into the Hall of Fame with my friend and teammate Alan Trammell is a dream come true. We signed together in 1976, spent 13 years together in Detroit, and now 42 years later, Cooperstown. Wow, wow. Thanks to the owners in Detroit, Tom Fetzer and Tom Monahan, and a special thanks to Mike and Chris Ilitch for what you've done for me and the city of Detroit.
People ask me the question all the time: Who is your toughest out? It happened in my first trip in Boston to Fenway Park. The PA announcer, Sherm Feller, had a unique way of introducing players. I will never forget what he said: Batting third, left fielder, No. 8, Yastrzemski, Carl Yastrzemski, No. 8. It was a memorable moment.
My first pitch fastball, on the corner, down and away, perfect pitch: Ball one. Second pitch, on the black, down and in, perfect pitch: Ball two. The next pitch was a fastball, underneath his hands, another perfect pitch: Ball three.
I just shook my head and wondered if this was the way it was going to be when a rookie faces a great player for the first time.
The fourth pitch was a fastball down the middle. I needed to throw a strike. Whack, line drive off the Green Monster in left. As Yas was rounding first, heading to second, I heard footsteps. I turned around to see home plate umpire, Ron Luciano, coming towards me. He said, Jack Morris, that's Carl Yastrzemski, he's one step away from the Hall of Fame. Welcome to the Big Leagues.
Yas's at-bat was the toughest I ever had to endure, but it was nothing compared to having to face George Brett for 15 years. Pretty sure every guy behind me got a few hits off me.
In 1991 I had a chance to go back to Minnesota and complete the dream I had as a young boy. It would be a dream come true to follow in the footsteps of my heros -- Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Tony Olivia, Jim Kaat, and Rod Carew. I knew the Twins had a talented group of ballplayers, and free agency worked very well for me that year. The team chemistry was special, and every day I couldn't wait to get to the ballpark to see what was going on unfold.
We had so much fun in the clubhouse with Kirby Puckett as our ringleader. His home run in Game 6 of the World Series brought a calm over me that I had never experienced. He gave us an opportunity to play one more day, and I could not wait to pitch and have my chance in Game 7.
Thank you locker mate Ron Gardenhire. You were the first coach I had who was younger than me, and I'm sure I never, ever let you forget that. Thank you for your lifelong passion of our game.
Tom Kelly's leadership cultivated another world championship that couldn't have been scripted any better. Thank you, T.K., for believing in me. I will always be grateful for your decision to lead me in Game 7. We were two teams that went from last to first, playing for the title. I want to thank all of my teammates for that great experience, and all of the Twins fans who were our 10th player.
I also want to thank the equally talented Atlanta Braves for your effort which made it such a great World Series. It takes two evenly matched teams to make a classic. Thanks to the Pohlad family and Dave St. Peter for all that you have done for me.
My ride continued in '92 and '93 to Toronto. It was another great city with extremely talented baseball players that included Robbie Alomar and Rickey Henderson. I am also proud to have been teammates with St. Paul Minnesota's Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor, I'm thrilled to join you both here in Cooperstown as the third Hall of Famer from St. Paul.
My years in Toronto were like playing on All-Star teams, and my time spent in Canada is always appreciated. For two summers, Jays fans packed SkyDome and gave us a huge home-field advantage, with the record-setting attendance. Like Sparky and T.K., Cito Gaston was a perfect fit for that group of guys. Thank you, Cito.
My favorite memory in Toronto came the night I signed my contract with them. Team President Paul Beston invited me to dinner in celebration of my signing. After dinner, at the end of the evening, he proposed a toast, to Jack Morris, the newest member of the Toronto Blue Jays, may you never know how much more I was willing to pay you. I have loved that man ever since.
In 1994 it was on to Cleveland where I played with talented teammates including Eddie Murray and newly inducted Hall of Famer Jim Thome. We all felt that a championship run was a possibility if not for the labor dispute that ended the season before any postseason games were played.
Thank you to Cleveland's owner, Richard Jacobs. Over the last 18 years I've surprised many by joining the media and working in TV and radio as a baseball analyst. Who would have ever thought? Thank you to the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, and Toronto Blue Jays for your support. Thank you to FOX Sports North, FOX Sports Detroit, and a special thanks to all my friends at MLB.com.
My success and accomplishments would not have been possible without the sacrifice and support of my family and friends. Thank you for your effort in being here today to share this with me. I love you all.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for everything you taught me and have done for me. Mom, I know you're smiling down on us today. Dad, thank you for instilling in me the work ethic that was so vital to my success. But more than that, you showed equal love to all your children. Thank you both for everything.
My sister, Marsha, you've been a loyal fan and a huge support system my entire life. I can't thank you enough.
My brother, Tom, you've always been my best friend, and I consider you one of the best human beings I've ever known.
My two older sons, Austin and Erik, I'm proud of what each of you have become. We shared some of my greatest baseball memories together, and I especially cherish the summer of 1994 where you spent time with me in Cleveland. I look forward to our future journeys together and spending more time with you and your families.
My youngest son, Miles, I'm so grateful to share this experience with you since you weren't able to see your dad play. You've brought a lot of joy into my life in my post-baseball years. I can't wait to see what your future has in store for you.
I'm also grateful to share this day with my daughter-in-laws, Laura and Jennifer, and my six grandchildren, Olivia, birthday girl Lucy, Kate, Patrick, Jax, and a granddaughter on the way.
Finally, my wife Jennifer, I can't begin to cover it all. Thank you for inspiring me in so many ways. You've shown me that balance is important in my life and have reminded me at times that there is more to life than baseball. Our family is the most important thing to me in my life. I love you.
With age comes more aches and pains, gray hair, if you're lucky, but also wisdom and perspective. The game has always been a part of who I am and what I have become. It has somehow been connected to almost every lesson that I've learned in life. To be successful, I believe it takes practice, patience, focus, concentration, work ethic, desire, determination, trust, will and confidence, and more practice.
Many say that baseball is known as a game of failure. I had plenty of challenges and failures, but it only made me work harder to find a path to success. It also didn't hurt to have a short memory. Work can be rewarding as long as you keep your goals attainable.
Whether in Little League or in the Big Leagues, I would encourage all baseball players to learn the history of our game. Learn about the great players behind me. Learn about the owners and the history of the players union. Only then will you have a better understanding of who you are and where you fit into its history.
Baseball is a team sport played by individuals, and so is life. Winning and losing are facts of life, but it's how you deal with both that defines you.
I believe in the human heart and human spirit, and no analytics can define them. There is no telling what you can accomplish if you have the will and desire to try. God blessed me with a gift, and it was meant to be shared with others. My life in baseball has been an incredible journey, and I am grateful for everything.
I want to thank you again for sharing this wonderful day with me. Praise be to God. Thank you.