LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Jack Morris always prided himself on being a tough guy when he pitched, a big-game winner who wouldn’t break down.
So guess what happened when the newly elected Hall of Famer spoke in front of George Brett, Robin Yount and a couple of his Cooperstown pals?
He lost it.
Morris choked up several times Monday, often pausing to catch himself as he and former Detroit Tigers teammate Alan Trammell were formally introduced a day after they were elevated forever.
“I was a wreck,” he said.
A Hall of a moment it was, during a news conference at the baseball winter meetings.
“I’m overwhelmed. I’m grateful. I’m honored and very humbled,” Morris said. “I want to share it.”
Morris and Trammell were elected by the 16-man Modern Era Committee, which considered candidates whose biggest contributions came from 1970-87. Brett and Yount were on the panel, along with fellow Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Dennis Eckersley, Dave Winfield, Don Sutton, Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz.
The former Detroit stars made their major league debuts in 1977, played with the Tigers for 13 years and now will be enshrined together on July 29.
They got a head start on the festivities by putting on Hall of Fame jerseys for photographers.
“How’s it look, buddy?” Trammell asked.
“Makes you look good,” Morris answered.
Morris earned 254 wins and was best known for throwing a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, pitching Minnesota past Atlanta.
Trammell was a six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover at shortstop, hitting .285 while scoring more than 1,000 runs and driving in more than 1,000.
“I’m going to be honest. I feel a little bit out of place. The Hall of Fame, that’s got a great ring to it,” he said. “But when I hear ‘Alan Trammell, Hall of Fame,’ it hasn’t resonated yet. And I’m just speaking from the heart.”
Morris and Trammell both fell short during their 15 years of eligibility in Hall voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
“I came very close,” Morris said. “Tram was behind, in my opinion, where he should have been. But the process didn’t work for us for a lot of reasons.
“You want all the writers to know that I’m not mad at any of you. … I respect everybody for whatever they thought. Now that I’m in, I don’t have to worry about that anymore,” he said, drawing laughs.
Morris figures it will be a bit more emotional when it comes time for his induction speech in Cooperstown, where a throng of Detroit fans is expected to fill the upstate New York shrine.
“I might not make it through. I’m going to do my best. I’m going to remember ‘The King’s Speech’ and see if I can work on it,” he said. “I hope I can represent the people that have supported me well. I’ll do my best.”
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)