Friday, November 20, 2009

Jack Morris & the 1991 Twins

What's so special, you might ask, about the above card? To most people not much, I mean, it's not worth much on the market (I paid $5 for it), Morris isn't a particularly well-known player to most baseball fans, and honestly, the autograph itself is a bit washed out looking. But for me, even though the card depicts Morris in a Tigers uniform, the card holds some sentimental value. Afterall, for one year in 1991, Jack Morris was a capital-H Hero in Minnesota, the last year that my beloved Twins won the World Series.

In the months before the '91 season, Morris signed a one-year deal with the Twins. Morris had been the winningest pitcher in the decade of the 1980's with 162 wins and had won one World Series with the Tigers and, ironically enough, lost an ALCS match-up with the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 post-season.

The Twins season was a good one for Morris, he went 18-12 with a 3.43 ERA in 246+ innings. That season, the World Series ended up being Twins v. Braves and it came down to Game 7, one night after Kirby Puckett's miraculous home-run that won Game 6. The match-up was slated to be John Smoltz v. Jack Morris. Throughout Morris' entire career, he had been known as a big-game pitcher, but this was probably the biggest start of his career. Well boy did Morris deliver. He pitched 10 innings of shutout baseball and the Twins won the game and the Series in the bottom of the 10th inning when Gene Larkin singled in Dan Gladden. Morris was named the MVP of the series and many baseball historians and writers still consider that World Series to be one of the greatest of all-time.

After the '91 season, Morris decided not to resign with his home-town Twins, but rather to sign with the Blue Jays who, quite spectacularly, won the World Series in 1992. Morris finished his career with 254 wins and 3 World Series rings but has not seemed to be able to gather the support necessary to get into the Hall of Fame despite the fact that there are many out there who support his induction.

So yes, this card, though not particularly special to most people, is special in terms of my collection because it is an instant reminder of the last moment of true greatness for the Twins.

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