Jim Morris’s improbable journey of becoming a major league pitcher at the age of 35 is best known via the 2002 Disney blockbuster The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid. Morris’s journey to the majors seemed to be impossible after he was drafted in the 1983 amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers but could not advance past the single-A level due to reoccurring arm injuries.
Morris retired from professional baseball and became a high school science teacher and baseball coach in Reagan County, Texas. Following through on a bet with his inexperienced team that surprised everyone by winning their district title, Morris attended an open tryout for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and surprised scouts with his 98 mph fastball.
Morris signed with the Devil Rays, ascended through the minor league ranks and made his major league debut against the Texas Rangers just three months later at the age of 35. Morris went on to make 16 major league appearances with the Rays, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers the following season and then retired soon thereafter in 2001.
Following retirement, Morris went onto release an autobiography, The Oldest Rookie, which served as the inspiration for the feature film. Morris currently travels the world as a sought after keynote speaker and has recently developed the Jim the Rookie Morris Foundation, which aims to give back to impoverished communities by hosting mini-sports camps, meals, and sports equipment to at risk youth.
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