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Morris impressed by Verlander

Morris impressed by Verlander

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The honor of being the last Tigers pitcher to throw a no-hitter no longer belongs to Jack Morris.

It had been 23 years since Morris held the White Sox hitless at Comiskey Park on April 7, 1984. But on Tuesday, Morris witnessed another Tigers pitcher take over his position when Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Not that Morris seems to mind a bit.

"I'm glad he did it," Morris said of Verlander. "I told all the 50,000 people I talked to today that I won't be shocked if he does it again, because he's got that kind of God-given talent that rarely comes along in baseball."

Unlike the day in '84 when he was a part of the history, Morris was like so many people Tuesday night who got to see just the highlights of Verlander's no-hitter on television.

"I'd love to see the replay of his game because from what I hear, he was lights-out right away," Morris said. "He sure had that curveball working from what I saw. I talked to a lot of the writers over in Detroit and they said they knew right away he was getting a lot of strikeouts early and then nobody had a chance."

Morris certainly received his share of attention on Wednesday due to Verlander's feat and the former pitcher spent most of it reliving that infamous April day in Chicago. There was a gleam in Morris' eye when he talked about his no-hitter. And it's clear that even though more than two decades have past since then, the memories of that day haven't faded away.

"For me that game was so surreal," Morris said. "I had never in my life come even close to doing that before."

Morris can still remember when he first started to acknowledge what was going on that day at Comiskey Park. It was in the sixth inning of that game when his teammates started not to sit near him on the bench and avoid him all together.

But it wasn't like Morris was concerned at all about superstition, heck, he practically threw all of the rules of a no-hitter out the window on his own.

"It was the seventh inning and some of the drunks in the crowd were trying to jinx me, and there was this one guy stacking up beer cans," Morris said. "I literally walked up to him and said, 'Quit drinking so you can enjoy history today.' Our pitching coach Roger Craig looked at me and rolled his eyes like you just jinxed yourself."

As history shows, the jinx never came, and instead Morris' prophecy came true.

For Morris, it was something special to be remembered in Tigers' history for his accomplishment. And now he's glad that Verlander has the chance to have the same thing attached to his name.

Verlander's no-hitter was the second thrown by a pitcher this season, with the first coming on April 18 when White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle no-hit the Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field. Despite the difference in the two pitchers, one a soft-throwing lefty and the other a power right-hander, Morris said that it's one thing that links all no-hitters.

"The one common denominator in any no-hitter is you have to have the stars, and the moon and the sun up above all lined up," Morris said. "You've got to have luck and some great defense on your side. I truly believe a no-hitter is a team effort. Granted, the guy on the mound is dealing. But the guys in the field are just as sharp. They are making fabulous plays because you have to have luck. Without luck, you are never going to throw it."

Though Morris has only met Verlander once, earlier this season, he has seen the power pitcher plenty of times on the mound. Watching the pitcher dominate with his nasty fastball and great command of his breaking ball, Morris isn't about to rule out that Verlander might do what he himself couldn't -- deliver a repeat performance.

"I really think it's possible he could throw another one," Morris said. "He's got that kind of arm. The kind when you are really on, it's something special."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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