Former Detroit Tigers Jack Morris, Alan Trammell to be inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday
By JOHN KEKIS
AP Sports Writer
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Larry Wayne Jones Jr. was a throwback, a guy who played for only one major league club and always stayed focused on a single goal — trying to get better every day.
Any doubts about the switch-hitting overall No. 1 pick of the 1990 draft from the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, quickly faded. In Class A ball the next season, Jones batted .326, hit 15 homers, drove in 98 runs and stole 40 bases. Four years later he was a regular in the Atlanta lineup at age 23 and relishing the journey.
“I just kept my head down and tried to do whatever I could to help us win and let the numbers take care of themselves,” he said.
Those numbers — .303 career batting average, 549 doubles, 468 home runs, 1,623 RBIs — earned Jones baseball’s highest honor, election to the Hall of Fame on the first try.
He’ll be inducted Sunday with Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, and former Detroit Tigers teammates Jack Morris and Alan Trammell. Thome also is a first-ballot selection, while Morris and Trammell were picked by a veterans committee last December.
Morris pitched 18 seasons for the Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays and Indians, and played on four World Series champions. In the 1980s, he led all pitchers with 2,444.2 innings pitched and 162 wins and topped all AL pitchers in strikeouts with 1,629.
The crowning achievement of Morris’ career was his 1-0 complete-game victory in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series while pitching for his hometown Twins against the Braves. M
innesota manager Tom Kelly wanted to take him out after nine innings and the 36-year-old Morris convinced him not to.
“That was Jack Morris,” Trammell said. “That just tells you what’s inside of him. He wasn’t going to give up anything.”
Trammell played shortstop for 20 seasons — all for the Tigers — and earned six All-Star Game selections, four Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards. His .977 fielding percentage ranks sixth among shortstops with at least 2,000 games played.
“It’s overwhelming, to be honest with you,” said Trammell, now 60. “To say that you’re part of that group, it’s hard to comprehend.”
Jones, only the second overall No. 1 draft pick to reach the Hall (Ken Griffey Jr. is the other), couldn’t have arrived at a better time for the Braves, who were perennial cellar-dwellers in the NL West. He became a force on most of the Atlanta teams that did a quick about-face and won 14 straight division titles — and a World Series in his 1995 rookie season.