The real 'Rookie' visits Tyler - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

The real 'Rookie' visits Tyler

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Former Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Jim Morris was the featured speaker at the UT TYler 40th Anniversary Alumni Gala Friday night.  Morris was played by actor Dennis Quaid in the 2002 Disney movie 'The Rookie.'

Morris had to give up on baseball in his twenties because of injuries.  Later in life his arm strength returned and he made an amazing baseball comeback, eventually reaching the Major League's at 35 years old.  Knowing his life story has been seen by millions still doesn't seem real.

"We had a premier in New York City," said Morris.  "They had all these celebrities there and Olympics athletes, actors and all these really popular people. I had to get up eight times because I couldn't sit through it."

After retiring from baseball in 2000, Morris spends his time speaking about his life story.  He wants others to find hope in his story.

"Anybody can put themselves in that situation and see themselves succeeding in whatever they want," said Morris.  "They can go after their dream. That's the message I like to leave with people."

Morris said about 80 percent of the movie is true.  He credits Dennis Quaid and Disney for helping turn his life story into an inspiration.

"Watching the movie was just like reliving it," said Morris.

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