After providing Florida State legend Bobby Bowden to the annual Student Transportation News (STN) Expo as keynote speaker in 2015, Grizzly Sports was again contracted to deliver A-List speaker power and provided former Major League Baseball pitcher (and subject of the Disney movie “The Rookie”) Jim Morris to its client as keynote speaker for 2016.
The Cinderella story of Jim Morris serves as testimony to the power of dreams and their ability to inspire and transform human life. Jim Morris’s meteoric rise from 35 year-old high school teacher to flame-throwing major league pitcher in 3 months, made cinematic history with the release of The Rookie starring Dennis Quaid.
The heartwarming and unforgettable Disney blockbuster about chasing your dreams and keeping your promises, was nominated for a Critics Choice Award, won an ESPY for “Sports Film of the Year.” and Sports Illustrated magazine voted The Rookie one of the “five greatest baseball films ever made.”
Originally drafted in the 1st round in 1984, Jim Morris’s dream was to become a major league baseball player, but his career was derailed by a series of debilitating arm injuries before he got out of the minors in 1988. Instead, Jim got married, raised a family and got his college degree before becoming a high school science teacher and baseball coach in West Texas.
After retiring from minor league baseball, Jim Morris was giving a speech to his high school team about the importance of dreams and hard work when his high school players challenged him to pursue his own dream of pitching in the major leagues. Jim Morris made the bet with his high school team: if they won the District Championship, he would tryout for the majors.
Jim Morris’ team fulfilled their end of the bargain, which committed him to a big league tryout. Inspired by his family and students, Jim immediately signed a professional baseball contract. His rise from obscurity became the feel-good story of 1999. After pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000, Jim Morris signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and retired from baseball in 2001.