(5-8-20) A feature film made by Disney called ‘The Rookie’ was released just two years after Jim Morris played in his last MLB game in 2000. The movie was about Morris and his second opportunity to live his dream and ended with him being called to play in the major leagues for the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. It was an inspirational story about overcoming setbacks, but never giving up.
While coaching baseball (and teaching Science) for the Reagan County (Big Lake, Tx) Owls in the spring of 1999, Morris made a promise to his team that he would try out for Major League Baseball if his team won the District Championship, something the team had never accomplished before. His team won the title, and Morris kept his end of the bargain by attending a Tampa Bay Devil Rays tryout in Brownwood, Texas.
Joaquin Campostold the LA Times in 1999-
“He would stand out on the mound, and look in at us, and throw that heat against the backstop, and we knew he wanted to be in the major league. You could see it in his eyes.”
- LA Times Story from 1999– LIVING THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM
That would all lead to another opportunity for Morris and his 2nd chance to play in the Majors…and would be the fundation to ‘The Rookie’ being made. It is still ranked today by many as one of the best sports films in history.
Did you know…
Morris was a multi-sport star at Brownwood (Tx) High School.
Brownwood did not have a baseball program when he attended…he played football for the Lions from 1979–82 and won the state championship as a wingback, punter and kicker. He would punt in college at D II Angelo State.
Before his chance came in 1999 Morris had several opportunities in pro baseball.
Morris was originally selected 466th overall in the January 1982 amateur baseball draft by the New York Yankees but did not sign. He was drafted fourth overall in the 1983 amateur draft (January Secondary) by the Milwaukee Brewers and signed with the organization. Arm injuries in the minor leagues shortened his first attempt.
Morris retired with a minor league record of 17 wins, 22 losses, and a 5.13 ERA in 270 innings pitched.