Jim Morris, the subject of the 2002 film “The Rookie,” starring Dennis Quaid, will talk to STN EXPO attendees about mentorship, leadership and following one's dreams as the 2016 keynote speaker sponsored by Blue Bird Corporation.
Morris was a promising Major League Baseball prospect in high school and was drafted in 1983 by the Milwaukee Brewers, but his career never advanced past Single-A ball because of arm injuries. He retired and became a high school science teacher and baseball coach in Reagan County, Texas.
One of his teams was inexperienced heading into the 1998 season, so he gave his players a pep talk on leadership. He even made a bet: If they went on to win the district championship he promised he’d give professional baseball another shot.
As depicted in the movie, the team defied all odds and won the championship, and the then 35-year-old Morris tried out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. His 98-mph fastball impressed the team, which promptly signed him to a minor-league deal. Three months later, he made his major league debut in a game against the Texas Rangers.
Morris made a total of 16 big league appearances with the Devil Rays over two seasons before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers and then retiring before the 2001 season. Soon thereafter, Morris finished his autobiography, “The Oldest Rookie,” which inspired the film.
In addition to speaking internationally on the subject of making dreams come true, Morris runs the Jim “The Rookie” Morris Foundation that focuses on combatting poverty.
Morris’ STN EXPO Keynote address in Reno, Nevada, also sponsored by Hendrickson and ROUSH CleanTech, is scheduled for the late afternoon of July 25, immediately followed by a reception for attendees hosted by Blue Bird.