Morris' move to Toronto helped Blue Jays to title

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Craig Muder

In his first year with his hometown team, Jack Morris put the Twins on his shoulders and carried them to the World Series title.

Perhaps no player ever was more efficient in his only season with a team.

On Dec. 18, 1991, Morris and the Twins parted ways when the 36-year-old right-hander signed a two-year free agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The deal called for Morris to make $10.85 million over two seasons, making him the fourth $5 million-a-year-player in the game’s history along with Bobby Bonilla, Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden.

“It was a tough decision, a big decision,” Morris told the Associated Press after his new contract was announced at SkyDome in Toronto.

“I have some mixed emotions. Some good things happened in Minnesota, but some good things could happen here.”

Morris signed a one-year deal with the Twins for the 1991 season and went 18-12 with a 3.43 earned-run average. He beat the Blue Jays twice in the 1991 American League Championship Series, then took home World Series Most Valuable Player honors after going 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in the Fall Classic.

In Game 7 of the World Series against the Braves, Morris pitched 10 shutout innings before Gene Larkin’s single in the bottom of the 10th won the game for Minnesota.

“It was one of the greatest seasons of my career,” Morris told the AP. “I’m getting a ring out of it…I love Minnesota and I always will.”

At the time he signed with the Blue Jays, Morris ranked fourth among active starters with 216 wins and 2,143 strikeouts. But Blue Jays assistant general manager Gord Ash said it was Morris’ desire to win that made him a target for Toronto during its offseason shopping following the Jays’ 1991 American League East title.

“The competitive fire that Jack has, that’s an important fact to us,” Ash told the AP. “The winning attitude…the ability to be in these key situations and come up big all the time, that was important to us.”

In 1992, Morris went 21-6 for Toronto, leading the AL in victories and finishing fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting. Toronto defeated the Braves in the Fall Classic to give Morris his third World Series ring, and he would add a fourth the following year when the Blue Jays repeated as champions.

Morris pitched for Cleveland in 1994 in his final big league seasons, finishing with a record of 254-186, 175 complete games and 2,478 strikeouts.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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