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Former Twin Jack Morris elected to baseball Hall of Fame

Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Jack Morris talks to the crowd during a Twins Winter Caravan stop at in Duluth in January. Morris was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, Dec. 10. Steve Kuchera / Forum News Service file photo

ST. PAUL -- Make way for another Son of St. Paul in the Hall.

Jack Morris, a fiercely competitive and remarkably durable right-hander for 18 major league seasons, joined fellow St. Paul natives Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor with his election Sunday night to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

It only seemed fitting that Morris, who pitched the Twins to their last World Series title with 10 epic innings in Game 7 in 1991, had to go into extra innings one more time to win his permanent place in Cooperstown.

Morris joined former Detroit Tigers teammate Alan Trammell, a six-time all-star shortstop and 1984 World Series MVP, in Sunday’s election via the Modern Baseball Era Committee. Morris, who failed to gain entry after 15 tries via the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, was named on 14 of 16 ballots after a four-year waiting period for another crack at sporting immortality.

“It’s nice to know your colleagues think highly of you, but we’ll have to just wait and see,” Morris told the Pioneer Press in January 2014 after his final BBWAA-related disappointment. “I think Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva are hall of famers, and they’re still waiting for that call themselves. I think it has a lot to do with who’s eligible in that particular year. Timing is huge in this crazy game.”

The 62-year-old Morris, a three-time 20-game winner who also pitched for the Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians, becomes the seventh former Twin to achieve Cooperstown recognition. In addition to Winfield and Molitor, he joins Rod Carew, fellow Twins TV analyst Bert Blyleven and the late Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett on that list.

Former Twins outfielder Tony Oliva just missed election in veterans’ committee voting in December 2014. Winfield was inducted in 2001 and Molitor in 2004.

Morris is a graduate of Highland Park High School who went on to pitch at Brigham Young University before the Tigers selected him in the fifth round of the 1976 draft.

Morris ended his professional career with a brief stint playing independent-league ball for the St. Paul Saints in 1995. He retired at age 41 despite drawing interest from the New York Yankees, who wanted him to make a tuneup start or two at Triple-A.

The winningest pitcher of the 1980s, Morris finished his 18-year big-league career with 254 wins and a 3.90 earned run average. Morris topped the 200-inning 11 times and recorded 175 complete games, most of any pitcher who started his career after 1976.

Trammell played his entire 20-year career with the Tigers and batted .285 with 185 homers and 1,003 RBIs. He had 2,365 career hits and stole 236 bases and was a five-time Gold Glove winner.

The six-time All-Star's best season was 1987, when he established career highs of 28 homers, 105 RBIs and a .343 batting average. He finished second in the American League MVP balloting behind Toronto's George Bell.

Trammell was MVP of the 1984 World Series when he batted .450 with two homers against his hometown Padres. Overall, he hit .333 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 13 postseason games.

Morris will be inducted next summer in a hall class that also could include former Twins slugger Jim Thome. Johan Santana also appears on the writers’ ballot for the first time.

Twelve votes were needed for election in this process. Trammell received 13 votes, while Ted Simmons, Molitor’s former Milwaukee Brewers teammate, fell one vote short.

Marvin Miller, the first executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, received seven votes. Falling shy of that mark were fellow finalists Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker and Luis Tiant.

Reuters contributed to this report.