Jack Morris awoke on the morning of Oct. 27, 1991, without a
doubt in his mind. There was only one thing in his life that
mattered that day, and he knew how it would turn out. The
Minnesota Twins pitcher could not know that an offensive
revolution was coming, fueled by the trendsetting coziness of
Camden Yards, which would open in six months; the addition of
two expansion teams a year after that; and the relentless quest
for muscle enhancement by any means necessary. He could not know
that his way of pitching, in which a real ace had no need for a
bullpen, was doomed.
No, all that mattered that day was the outcome of the seventh
game of the most closely contested World Series ever. The Twins
and the Atlanta Braves had played so many cliffhangers so deep
into the night that one sleep disorder expert, in a Page One
story in The Atlanta Constitution, warned of "a rise in car
wrecks and work accidents" due to frazzled fans.
As he prepared breakfast for himself, his parents and his two
boys, Morris knew exactly how the game would end. What bothered
him was that his father, Arvid, and mother, Dona, who flew in
from Michigan to stay with him during the Series, were not so
certain. His father was too quiet. His eyes betrayed his anxiety.
Didn't he know? Arvid was a rock, a left-brain master, a former
troubleshooter for 3M labs in St. Paul. He had driven his sons,
Tom and Jack, hard, throwing to them when they were two or three
years old, much to Dona's consternation. "People used to say, My
gosh, how many hours do you spend with the boys?" Arvid says.
"They showed a lot of ability, and we were going to work that and
see if something might develop." When the boys got a little
older, dinner became conditional on how well they played: If they
won a Little League game, Arvid bought them steak. If they lost,
they got hamburger. Every drive home from the ball field included
a lecture on how they could improve.
March 31, 2003
By the time the boys were in high school, Tom and Jack decided to
confront Arvid. "Enough is enough," Tom said to his father. "You
need to back off." Arvid eased up after that.
When Jack first earned big money in the game, in 1983, he asked
his father, "How would you like to retire?" Arvid was 53. Jack
bought his parents a lakeside home and a car.
Now, eight years later, with Game 7 upon them, Arvid was nervous,
but Jack smiled and laughed. "Don't worry, Dad," he said. "We're
going to win the World Series."
"I was amazed," Arvid says. "He had never done anything like that
before. It had always been a 'Let the chips fall ... ' type thing
Arvid had not seen his son in the clubhouse the night before,
after Twins centerfielder Kirby Puckett hit an 11th-inning home
run--yet another traffic-alert game--to make Game 7 necessary.
"He had this huge smile on his face," Minnesota pitcher Kevin
Tapani says of Morris, "as if he couldn't wait for the next game
to start, couldn't wait to pitch that game."
Nor did Arvid see his son plop into a chair in the press
interview room that night, grab a microphone and, with a
heavyweight's bravado, bellow, "In the immortal words of the
late, great Marvin Gaye, Let's get it on!" Morris knew.
"I never had as much will to win a game as I did on that day,"
says Morris. "I was in trouble many times during that game but
didn't realize it because I never once had a negative thought."
Morris was right to be so confident. He pitched the game of his
life, the game of his generation, the game neither his father nor
his manager could have imagined. Game 7 became his game.
As Lonnie Smith, the Braves' leadoff batter, stepped in to hit
against Morris, he turned to have a word with catcher Brian
Harper. They had played together briefly with the 1985 St. Louis
Cardinals and only four nights earlier had met at home plate in a
"Lonnie looked at me, and I looked at him," Harper says, "and you
could tell we were both thinking the same thing: Wow, this is
going to be something! These six games have been tremendous. And
now one more...."
"Hey, have a good game," Smith said.
"Good luck," Harper said. "God bless you."
"We knew it was going to be a war," Harper says. "It was like two
boxers tapping gloves before the fight."
At 7:38 Central time--with 55,118 fans in the Metrodome screaming
like a jet engine, the noise bouncing off the white Teflon roof
and concrete walls--Morris threw his first pitch, an inside
fastball to Smith. Home plate umpire Don Denkinger called it a
ball. Morris glared at him. The third pitch, also a ball, brought
the same silent, icy protest from Morris.
"I knew Jack," Denkinger says, "and I never found too much that
he did like. I had the utmost respect for him as a competitor. He
was a guy who didn't like to lose. Tim Tschida, another umpire,
grew up in St. Paul. Jack played with Tim's brothers, and he told
me how Jack brought the ball to play. And if he didn't like how
the game was going, he'd go home and take the ball with him. And
that would be the end of the game."
Morris wore a mustache in the bushy, droopy style of the stock
bad guy in an old Western. His face seemed petrified in a scowl.
The press, which he might have hated even more than hitters,
called him Black Jack and approached him as one would a live
grenade. Sparky Anderson, his manager for 12 seasons in Detroit,
called him Cactus Jack.
"He was the last of a breed," Anderson says. "Somebody who
actually comes to the park with anger to beat you. I never went
near him when it was his day to pitch."
Says Tapani, "We used to joke that Jack had low blood sugar. It
was as if he hadn't eaten in a while and his chemistry would
change. If he lost a game, it was the end of the world. But if he
was happy, he'd be buying drinks, telling stories and asking,
'What can I do for you?' What you saw was what you got with Jack.
He hid nothing. Every once in a while with the media he'd say
something that would make you cringe, make you say, 'Did he
really say that?'"
Once, in Detroit, a female reporter asked him a question in the
Tigers' clubhouse. "I don't talk to women when I'm naked," Morris
snapped, "unless they're on top of me or I'm on top of them."
Morris channeled so much rage on the mound that it lingered with
him in the clubhouse, like an engine that stays hot after it's
been turned off. "Show me a good loser," Morris would say, "and
I'll show you a loser."
Anger was a beast inside him, and baseball provoked the beast in
1986. Morris was a free agent that winter, a 21-game winner, 31
years old and one of the best pitchers in the game. And nobody
wanted him. The owners conspired not to sign other teams' free
agents. Collusion. Morris wanted to sign with Minnesota, to come
home to St. Paul, but learned quickly that that would not happen.
"[Twins owner] Carl Pohlad was ready to sign me," says Morris,
"and then [G.M.] Andy [MacPhail] came in and said no."
Morris and his agent, Dick Moss, flew to Tampa to meet with New
York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Morris loved
Steinbrenner's cocksure attitude and was impressed when
Steinbrenner asked him about some Yankees, including a young
first baseman named Dan Pasqua.
"This guy has ungodly power," Morris said. "It's just a matter of
him getting it together."
"I'm not sure," Steinbrenner said. "I don't think he's got the
heart you do. You're my kind of guy. You're just the kind of guy
Moss seized the opportunity and threw out numbers for a
three-year deal. Suddenly Steinbrenner turned cool, saying that
he needed to sign his own free agents, but Moss and Morris knew
what was happening. "George," Moss said, "you wouldn't be the
kind of person to have anybody tell you what to do, would you?"
Steinbrenner replied, "I swear on my mother's grave nobody's
telling me what to do."
Morris looked Steinbrenner square in the eyes and said to him,
slowly and firmly, "Do not do that to your mom. She hears what
"Steinbrenner," Morris says, "lied to my face."
Morris wound up returning to the Tigers, squeezing a $1.85
million one-year deal out of them in arbitration. Five years
later, after the owners were found guilty of collusion and Morris
was one of several players set free as a "new look" free agent,
he knocked again on the doors of Pohlad and MacPhail. This time
they signed him.
Arvid's boy at last had come home to the Twin Cities. It was a
heartwarming story, unless you knew that Morris's marriage was
falling apart and that he would live alone that year, his two
sons living with their mother.
"It was miserable," Morris says. "I poured all of my focus into
The first day of spring training he told his new teammates, who
had finished last the previous season, "Men, I'm going to get you
guys to the World Series. I'm going to throw the most innings on
this team, have the best ERA and win the most games. I will lead
"The guy was the ultimate competitor," Tapani says. "If we were
running wind sprints, he'd try to beat you. Scott Erickson and I
would take turns running hard. That way we'd save energy so one
of us would always be strong enough to beat him. But Jack would
run all 16 sprints hard and beat us every time. He had this
attitude, Whatever you do, I'm going to beat you."
Morris won 18 games for the Twins. He started and won both of his
starts against Toronto in the American League Championship
Series. He won Game 1 of the World Series 5-2. He was ahead 2-1
in Game 4 when manager Tom Kelly pinch-hit for him after six
innings. His replacement, Carl Willis, gave up a home run to the
third batter he faced, Smith. Minnesota lost 3-2 in the bottom
of the ninth.
"TK screwed up by taking me out," Morris says. "We would have won
it, and I would never have had to pitch Game 7."
That final World Series game was his third start in eight days.
He had already logged 273 innings.
The Braves quickly and consistently challenged whatever was left
in his reservoir of strength and will. They put a runner on
second in the second inning, runners at first and second in the
third, a runner at second in the fourth, runners at first and
third in the fifth ... and Morris allowed none of them to score.
"When Kirby hit that [Game 6] home run, a calm came over me that
I never had felt in the game," Morris says. "Growing up, I always
envisioned being on the mound in Game 7, bottom of the ninth. I
had this calm come over me knowing that I had mentally prepared
for this game my whole life."
There was, however, something Morris never counted on: an
opposing pitcher with the same kind of resolve.
John Smoltz grew up in Lansing, Mich., 90 minutes from Tiger
Stadium. His father played the accordion at the Tigers' team
party after they won the 1968 World Series. Smoltz's grandfather
worked at Tiger Stadium for more than 30 years, first on the
grounds crew and then as an attendant in the pressroom. He would
brag to Bill Campbell, Al Kaline, Bill Lajoie and anybody else in
the Detroit front office, "My grandson's going to play for you
John was a huge Tigers fan. "Never missed a game," he says. He
made a few trips to Tiger Stadium each year and listened to all
the other games on the radio. When the team played on the West
Coast, Smoltz would set his alarm clock so he could wake to hear
Ernie Harwell call the first pitch. He'd catch a few innings
before falling asleep again.
He liked all those Tigers--Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, Sweet Lou
Whitaker and the rest--but one player stood out above all others:
"He was tough on the mound," Smoltz says. "He had good stuff. And
he wasn't one of those pitchers who came out when it was
convenient. He pitched a lot of innings, a lot of big games."
In the summer of 1985, just as Grandpa Smoltz had been predicting
for years, Detroit drafted his grandson. Smoltz signed too late
to play in rookie ball, so the Tigers let him spend two weeks
with the major league club. Smoltz would put on a uniform for
batting practice, change into his street clothes and watch the
game from the stands, then return to the clubhouse upon its
conclusion. He was just a kid out of high school, so green that
when the team traveled to New York City and the hotel desk clerk
gave him a card to open the door to his room, he had no idea what
Smoltz hung out with the bullpen catcher and kept his mouth shut.
He sat there in awe as he shared a locker room with the Tigers of
Harwell's word pictures, only they were crankier and saltier in
real life, veterans playing out the string in a disappointing
Morris was there, but Smoltz didn't have the nerve to say hello.
Then one day somebody said something funny in the clubhouse, and
Smoltz laughed. Morris gave Smoltz one of his icy glares.
"Go ahead and laugh, kid," Morris said. "You're trying to take
our jobs." Smoltz stopped laughing.
Morris has no memory of Smoltz's being with the team, had no
knowledge of him two years later when the Tigers traded Smoltz to
Atlanta to get Doyle Alexander, had no idea that his Game 7
opponent grew up idolizing him.
In that game Smoltz, then 24, matched Morris zero for zero,
clutch pitch for clutch pitch. After seven innings neither team
had scored, the first time that had happened in a final game of a
World Series. The tension was excruciating. The noise was so loud
that Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek watched the game with
his foot on the bullpen telephone: He had to feel for the
vibration if it rang, because he couldn't count on hearing it.
"There was no discussion on the bench of what was going on,"
Tapani says, "because you had to yell in the ear of the guy next
to you if you wanted to be heard. And that gets old real quick.
So we just watched."
Smoltz got three ground ball outs to end the seventh then,
exhausted, trudged up the four flights of stairs from the dugout
to the clubhouse for some rest. He flopped into a chair in front
of a television and cried out, "Please, please can we score?"
They would not. Morris, with some help from Lonnie Smith, would
not allow it.
Smith checked his swing on the second pitch of the eighth inning,
sending the ball softly into rightfield for a single. Morris
missed with his first pitch to Terry Pendleton, and the bullpen
phone vibrated. Pitching coach Dick Such wanted Steve Bedrosian
and Mark Guthrie to warm up.
With the count 1 and 2 on what was Morris's 100th pitch,
Pendleton crushed a fastball toward the gap in left centerfield.
The speedy Smith seemed certain to score. Except there was a
problem--Smith had broken toward second on a delayed steal but
committed a fundamental mistake by not peeking toward home to
pick up the ball when it was hit. Now he was looking to his left,
then to his right. Where was it?
The Metrodome is as artificial a ballpark as you will find. The
ceiling is a dull white, perfect camouflage for baseballs.
Outfielders--who otherwise can check base runners, teammates or
the proximity of walls while tracking fly balls--are warned never
to take their eyes off the baseball once it is in the air in the
Metrodome. Smith knew Pendleton's hit was in play. He just had no
As Smith took off for second, Braves jumped off their seats in
the dugout. "I remember yelling, 'Go! Go! Go!'" says pitcher Mark
Grant. "When the ball was hit we thought, There it is. There's
the run that's going to win it."
As Smith searched, Chuck Knoblauch, the second baseman, crouched
as if fielding a ground ball, then threw an invisible baseball to
shortstop Greg Gagne, who raced to cover second base, finishing
the pantomime double play. A legend was born: Knoblauch deked
Smith. It may have looked that way on television, especially with
broadcaster Tim McCarver telling the world that's what had
happened, but it wasn't true.
"In no way was I faked out by Knoblauch." Smith says. "If I did
think Knoblauch had the ball, why didn't I slide?"
Leftfielder Dan Gladden, his back to the infield, chased the
ball. Smith pulled into second standing up and rounded it,
stopping four steps past the bag. He then froze, staring into
left centerfield. Puckett, the centerfielder, was nowhere near
the ball, but his reputation for the impossible catch--only the
night before he had made a leaping grab to take away a home
run--made Smith indecisive.
"What people don't realize is that I had played in Kansas City,"
Smith says. "I saw Kirby run down the ball many times."
Up in the clubhouse Smoltz yelled at the television--and at
Smith--"Go! Go! Go!"
Smith, still staring into the outfield, took two more hop-steps.
Jimy Williams, the third base coach, never gave Smith any
direction, never moved in the coaching box. Finally, only after
the ball had bounced in front of the wall (about 20 feet from
Gladden), off the wall, into the air like a little pop-up and
eventually into Gladden's glove, Smith took off for third base.
Gagne circled into the outfield to take Gladden's throw as
Williams finally threw his left hand up and pointed at third base
with his right hand, the signal for Smith to stop there.
Pendleton easily pulled into second with a double.
Smoltz came running down those four flights of stairs, back to
the dugout. "I wanted to watch us score some runs," he says,
"because I knew the game was over if we scored. Lonnie's play
didn't bother me. It was like, We're going to score. Second and
third, no outs, and we've got our boys coming up."
Ron Gant, the number three hitter, failed for the third time that
night with two runners on, grounding meekly to first base.
David Justice was up next. Kelly came out to the mound, a daring
move, according to Harper. "I learned early that you're better
off not talking to Jack when he's on the mound."
"When they'd come to the mound, I didn't want to hear nothing,"
Morris says. "I already knew I was in trouble. You got something
to say to me? Tell me between innings on the bench. I'm
embarrassed when you're out there. I know I suck. That's why
you're out there."
"What do you think?" Kelly said.
"I can get him," Morris said.
Kelly said, "Let's walk him."
Morris, head bowed, replied, "All right."
Justice was intentionally walked. Now the bases were loaded. The
tension was too much for Dona. She left Arvid and her grandsons
in their press-level box to stand alone in an empty concourse,
unable to see the field.
"It's unbelievable," Morris says, laughing at the tension he sees
on the TV as he watches a tape of the game, "because I realize
the importance of [the moment], but I'm still believing that I
can get out of this. They are not going to score."
Harper had another thought, a horrible one. He suddenly thought
of the error Bill Buckner made in the 1986 World Series, an error
so huge it blotted the memory of his prolific hitting career.
Harper saw himself throwing the baseball into rightfield, the
winning runs scampering home. It was a horrible thought at a
Four pitches later Morris hung a forkball to Sid Bream. It was a
lousy pitch, the kind of awful pitch that sometimes causes a
hitter to jump at it. Bream topped the ball to first baseman Kent
Hrbek, who fired a strike to Harper to force Smith at home.
Harper took a step, cocked his arm and made a perfect return
throw to Hrbek. Double play. Inning over.
"I sat on the bench," Harper says, "and thought, I don't know how
much longer I can take this. I was exhausted. My head hurt."
The bottom of the inning was just as wild. Smoltz, pitching with
one out and a runner at first, yielded a hit-and-run single to
Knoblauch that barely cleared the glove of Bream at first base.
Braves manager Bobby Cox walked to the mound to remove a
"I felt like Jack did," Smoltz says. "I was going to go as long
as it took--10, 11 innings. I'm amazed Kelly was able to leave
Morris in, but that's what I grew up watching."
Reliever Mike Stanton intentionally walked Puckett to load the
bases. Then Knoblauch made an even worse baserunning gaffe than
Smith's. He took off from second on Hrbek's soft liner to second
baseman Mark Lemke and was doubled off. Inning over.
Morris had reached the big leagues in 1977, a time when no one
paid much attention to pitch counts or rotator cuffs or knew
what a closer was. He was 22 years old when he made his first
major league start. He walked the first four batters he faced.
Manager Ralph Houk left him in for nine innings. He struck out
12; heaven knows how many pitches he threw. His arm hurt like
hell for the next year and a half. Houk's successor, Anderson,
reinforced the tenet that Morris should not look to the bullpen
"During the '82 season Sparky left me out there to rot because he
was teaching me something," Morris says. "He believed in me,
believed I had the best stuff on the team. He knew I was strong,
knew I was durable and knew I could handle it mentally. Once I
got what he was doing, I wasn't going to let him take the ball
from me ever again. I always looked at it this way: If the
relievers came into the game, I screwed up. It wasn't, Jack, you
did a good job for seven. Bull crap."
One day Morris was losing 5-4 in the fifth inning when he
noticed "our 20th pitcher warming up." He saw Anderson leave the
dugout for the mound, his second visit of the inning, which
required Morris's removal once Anderson had crossed the third
base line. Morris walked toward Anderson and grabbed him before
he reached that line. "Get the hell out of here," he yelled,
"because what you've got warming up is no better than what I've
got right now."
Says Morris, "He looked at me like, You're nuts, but he turned
around. I got out of the jam, and we won the game."
"We had more fights and arguments than the world would allow,"
Anderson says. "But I don't have more respect for anybody. This
man was quality, the best pitcher I ever had in 26 years."
Morris breezed through the ninth inning, getting three outs on
eight pitches. He had thrown 118 pitches in the game. His innings
odometer for the year read 282. Kelly thanked him in the dugout,
told him "Great job, that's all we can expect from you," and
walked away ... even though no one was throwing in the bullpen.
"I'm fine," Morris said. "I'm fine."
Morris and Kelly had not always seen eye to eye. "I think when I
came to Minnesota he didn't know how to handle me," Morris says.
"It was all kind of trial and error for the first few months. One
time I remember I got so pissed off at him that I wanted to go
The Twins were holding one of their usual pregame meetings to
review the opposing lineup, when Kelly asked Morris how he would
pitch to a particular hitter. Morris gave his answer.
"All right," Kelly said, "we're not going to do it that way." He
then gave orders that contradicted Morris.
"Now," Kelly said, "anybody have a problem with that?"
"Yeah," Morris snapped. "Why the f--- did you ask me?"
"That's not important," he said. "We're going to do it this way."
Morris says, "TK wanted to show everybody--and I loved him for
this--that he was in control."
Now, with the World Series on the line, Kelly was testing Morris
again. He seemed to be saying somebody else would pitch the 10th
inning. The pitching coach grabbed Kelly by the arm and said,
"TK, he said he's fine."
Kelly turned. He looked Morris in the eye.
"I can pitch," Morris said.
Kelly paused, then said, "Oh, hell. It's only a game."
"He was giving me the chance to take myself out," says Morris.
"But I think he wanted me to look him in the eye and say, 'I'm
not going nowhere. This is my game.'"
So Morris pitched the 10th inning, the only starting pitcher to
do so in the World Series since Tom Seaver, one of his heroes,
did it in 1969. He pitched as if it were a balmy Florida
afternoon in spring training, fresh and full of vigor. Again he
zipped through the inning with only eight pitches. He had pitched
to eight batters since Pendleton hit that double, and none of
them got the ball out of the infield. It made no sense. A
36-year-old pitcher, 283 innings into his season, working a second
straight time on short rest, throwing 10 shutout innings ... and
he was getting stronger.
"Without question," MacPhail says, "it is the most impressive
pitching performance I have ever witnessed, and, remember, I
watched Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game."
The bullpen phone remained still. Morris was prepared to go back
out for the 11th, but Minnesota loaded the bases with one out
against Alejandro Pena in the last of the 10th. Kelly sent Gene
Larkin to pinchhit.
"They're pulling their outfield in," home plate umpire Denkinger
said to Larkin. "I believe you could hit one over their heads."
Larkin said nothing.
Weeks later, at a White House reception, Denkinger asked Larkin,
"Didn't you hear what I said?"
Replied Larkin, "Yep. But you know what? My mouth was so dry I
Larkin hit the first pitch over the leftfielder's head, and
Gladden danced home with the game's only run. Never before or
since had a run been so difficult to come by in a World Series
game. Morris--his warmup jacket on, ready to pitch all night if
he had to--was the first player to get to home plate, waving
There is a scene on the videotape in which Kelly first spots
Morris in the clubhouse after the game. Kelly seems to be
fighting back tears as he rushes toward his pitcher, then
embraces him with a long, tight hug.
"Now, that ..." Morris says, choking up as he watches the tape.
He lowers his head, gathers himself and continues, "... that is
worth more than any trophy or ring. To have the respect of your
manager, your teammates.... What is greater than that?"
The game has changed. Complete games, Morris's badge of honor, are
more than twice as rare now as they were in 1991. Only twice in
the 116 World Series starts since Morris's Game 7 has a pitcher
thrown a shutout (Curt Schilling in 1993 and Randy Johnson in
2001). The next Jack Morris, Smoltz, isn't even a starting
pitcher anymore. He's a closer. Smith is retired, raising a
family in an Atlanta suburb. The Braves asked him last year to
attend one of their promotions at Turner Field in which former
team members sign autographs for fans. Smith was heckled there by
some fans about 1991 and Knoblauch. He vowed he would not return.
"I feel like an outcast," Smith says. "I'm the one they identify
with losing that Series."
Says Smoltz, "Many times in sports guys are falsely accused of
being the reason a team lost. This is one. We had men on second
and third, nobody out, and we did not score...."
Morris was 39 years old--with 10 wins by August--when Cleveland
released him in '94. He squeezed in his starts that year between
visits to a wheat and barley farm he had purchased in Montana
after the '91 World Series. He lost $1 million that year. He made
money with a bumper crop the next year, the only year of
sufficient rain. He lost money for several more years until he
sold the farm.
"No matter how well you fertilized, how well you prepped the
fields, you had to rely on Mother Nature," Arvid says.
It is not in Morris's blood to rely on anyone or anything. He did
not make many friends in the game. He received one job offer in
baseball after retiring: $50,000 to be a coach in Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, in the Toronto minor league system. He passed on
it. Last season Detroit invited him to spring training as a
special instructor to work with its pitchers. He saw firsthand
how much the game has changed. "I expected them to care like I
care," he says, "and they didn't."
Though he still lives in the Minneapolis area, Morris is mostly
associated with Detroit--this season he will work 40 Tigers games
as a broadcaster. He never pitched again for the Twins after that
Game 7. He exercised his option for free agency and signed with
Toronto, becoming baseball's highest-paid pitcher. Then he again
pitched his team into the World Series, in 1992, and pitched
against the Braves again, though poorly in Game 5. He gave up a
grand slam--to Lonnie Smith. Smoltz was the winning pitcher.
Morris knew that a night like Oct. 27, 1991, would not happen
"Other than my kids being born, I can't remember anything that
meant more to me," Morris says. "It was the epitome of everything
I'd ever tried to achieve in my life. And yet within 24 hours
this sadness came over me, knowing I might not be back in
Minnesota and I might not ever pitch a game like that for the
rest of my life.... I wish everybody could experience what I
experienced that day. The joy. Total joy. The world would be a
better place if everybody could feel that at least once."
On that Sunday morning when Morris woke up and knew he would win
Game 7, an old baseball wizard with gleaming white hair and a
twinkle in his eye awoke with a similar premonition. Anderson,
Morris's old skipper, met his friends for his daily game of golf
that day in Sunset, Calif. The boys were talking about how the
Braves would win the Series. The man with the white hair laughed.
"Tell you what to do," Anderson told them. "Go home and get your
bankbook. Clear it out and send it to Vegas. Morris is pitching.
He will beat Smoltz. I promise you that."
"How do you know?" they said.
"Boys, I know that guy," Anderson said. "He's an animal. If he
doesn't have a real challenge, he's liable to give up six runs.
But don't get him in a position where you challenge him."
Anderson laughs when he tells the story. "[Jack] was the last of
them," he says. It was 12 years ago. Another era. "When you talk
to Cactus Jack, tell him he's still the meanest man I ever met."
"I was in trouble many times," says Morris, "but didn't realize
it because I never had a negative thought."
"It made no sense: a 36-year-old, throwing 10 shutout innings
on short rest ... and getting stronger."
"I think [Kelly] wanted me to look him in the eye and say, 'I'm
not going nowhere. This is my game.'"
"It was the most impressive pitching performance I've ever
witnessed, and I saw Wood's 20-strikeout game."
"He was the last of a breed," Anderson says. "Somebody who
actually comes to the park with anger to beat you."