By: Will Burchfield
Jack Morris had all but accepted defeat — which is saying a lot for the three-time World Series champ. His phone was supposed to have rung by now.
“I was told by the people in the Hall of Fame a few weeks ago that if I did get elected, to expect a call sometime between 5:15 and 5:45,” Morris told the Jamie and Stoney morning show on 97.1 The Ticket for their show Friday.
In his hotel room in Orlando, site of the Winter Meetings, Morris glanced at the time: 5:45.
“I was just about ready to go face the press again and let them know how appreciative I was for everything,” he said, “and the phone rang.”
It was Jane Forbes Clark, chairwoman of the Hall of Fame. Morris was in. Finally.
“It was beyond words as far as emotions. I wasn’t really expecting it, and its been an emotional roller coaster for me ever since. So much love from so many people, and I just want to share it with all of them because I never felt like I deserved this on my own anyway,” he said.
Morris, who will be signing memorabilia at a card show on Sunday in Troy, will enter the Hall of Fame alongside former teammate Alan Trammel. The two longtime Tigers had recently lost eligibility on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot, but were voted in on the Modern Baseball ballot, comprised of 10 candidates whose biggest contributions to the game came from 1970-87.
Better late than never.
“Even though it’s been a journey and a long time coming, it’s certainly worth the wait to be able to go in with Alan,” said Morris.
Morris and Trammel broke into the big leagues together in 1977 and were teammates for the next 13 seasons in Detroit. They helped the Tigers capture a world championship in 1984, with Trammel winning World Series MVP and Morris going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the playoffs.
Prior to this year, manager Sparky Anderson was the only member of that team in the Hall of Fame.
“We’ve all talked about why aren’t we represented better,” Morris said.
He’s thrilled that team has finally gotten its due, and hopes the fans are, too.
“I hope they feel a sense of relief like I do. I certainly want to share it with them because I know they were a big part of all of it for us,” Morris said. “It’s just a time to celebrate. What the heck, we’re all in this together. … So what if it took some time? Look what happened on Sunday.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Morris learned later that day that the Tigers will retire his No. 47 and Trammell’s No. 3 during a ceremony next August at Comerica Park. Trammell said this honor meant even more to him than the Hall of Fame. Morris, too, was moved. He never thought he’d be in the company of such greats as Ty Cobb and Charlie Gehringer.
“When they built Comerica to celebrate and honor those guys, you come in there and you look the numbers on the wall: Sparky Anderson, Ernie Harwell, and all the greats out there with statues. I understand what Tram said, and man, I can’t even hardly believe it. Because for as long as Comerica will be up and quite honestly as long as the Tigers are on this planet, we’re going to be remembered by our numbers being retired,” Morris said.