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Jim Morris Shares The True Story Behind Disney’s “The Rookie”

Jim Morris The Rookie interview on Hustle & Motivate presented by, the home of the underdog
Credit-Getty Images/Joker Mag Illustration

Jim Morris always dreamed of being a major league baseball player. When he got drafted in the first round in 1984, that dream felt close to becoming a reality. Unfortunately, a series of debilitating injuries forced him into early retirement.

Instead, Morris got married, started a family, and got his college degree. Shortly after, he became a high school science teacher and baseball coach in West Texas.

One day, while giving a speech to his high school team about pursuing their dreams, a player challenged Jim to go after his own.

Jim Morris delivers a 98 mph fastball for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays during the 1999 MLB season
Credit-Getty Images/

So they made a bet, if the team won the District Championship, he would try out for the majors.

The team did their job. Now it was time for him to do his.

The 35-year-old Morris wasn’t very sure of himself at the try-out. When he saw the scout shaking the radar gun, he was worried his fastball didn’t even register.

But soon he learned the truth.

He was bringing it. Hard. 98 miles-per-hour to be exact.

Three months later, Jim Morris was toeing the rubber for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, finally living his major league dream.

Disney quickly turned Jim’s incredible story into a feature film, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid. And the rest is history.

So, where is Jim Morris now?

He joined me on the Hustle & Motivate podcast to tell the real story behind the legendary movie. And to catch up on what he’s doing today.

Listen to our full conversation by tapping the play button below.

If you enjoyed the show, subscribe to Hustle & Motivate on your favorite listening platform to get instant access to new episodes:

Quote Of The Week

“The surgeon said, ‘You will never ever ever pitch again. You may play golf, you may play toss with your kids in the yard, but you will never pitch again. Physically impossible. It can’t be done.’ So at 28 I thought there was no way I could ever begin to hope, ‘Hey, I think I can make it now.’ So I gave that dream up and just started putting all my energy into those kids.” – Jim “The Rookie” Morris

Show Notes

[5:00] Why he gave up on baseball at 24

[7:37] The famous bet that led him back to pursuing his MLB dream

[12:16] “No one would even play catch with me” – The Try-Out

[16:14] Fielding movie offers while pitching in AAA

[19:08] Jim’s biggest piece of advice for young athletes

After Listening…

You can keep up with Jim over on his website,

Check out our 2020 follow-up interview where Morris reveals his comeback story that’s more incredible than the first!

Thanks for listening!

Check out these related episodes:

PART 2: Jim Morris Picks Up Where “The Rookie” Left Off – Overcoming Addiction, Dream Makers, & Dream Killers

The True Meaning of Resilience with Professional Arena Football QB Collin Saring

The “Graveyard Mentality” & Being a Leader with Penn State Assistant Baseball Coach André Butler

Written By

Division III baseball alum (McDaniel College) and founder of Joker Mag. Sharing underdog stories to inspire the next generation.



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