Local News

Former Durham Bulls Pitcher's Story Hits Big Screen

Posted April 1, 2002

— The story of former Durham Bulls pitcher Jim Morris is about to hit the big screen. "The Rookie" stars Dennis Quaid as Morris, a 35-year-old high school coach who pursued a dream.

For Morris, it was truly a field of dreams. A former No. 1 draft pick, Morris' dream nearly died due to injuries. It was back to Texas to teach and coach.

"I was trying to teach them about hopes and dreams and pursuing whatever you want and going for it with your whole heart and they threw it back on me," Morris said. "When I got the opportunity, I had to do it."

So 35-year-old Morris gave it one last shot. Shortly after his tryout, Morris found himself in Durham pitching for the Durham Bulls. Just weeks later, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays called Morris to the big leagues. Morris' journey is an inspiration to Bulls manager Bill Evers.

"It's an amazing story. I'm still aspiring to get to the big leagues after 27 years, and I still feel in my heart that I can get there," Evers said.

"It's just the way the story has come together. It's so unlikely," said. Allen Simpson, editor of

Baseball America

.

"[It's a] lifelong dream, you know. Just achieving it at that one moment. I'm in Texas where I live, and I've got a big league uniform and there's people like Boggs, Canseco, McGriff, Hernandez in the locker room and my jersey with my name is in there," Morris said. "To actually get and pitch and strike out the first guy I face, I mean, that was one day. Incredible."

Injuries soon cut short his days in the majors, but not before his dream came true.

"If you've got a dream out there, pursue it no matter what the odds are against you," Morris said.

'The Rookie' is now being shown in movie theaters nationwide.

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