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MORRIS, JERRY WALTER

MORRIS, JERRY WALTER (1880–1961). Jerry Walter Morris, baseball player, promoter, and executive, was born on January 30, 1880, at Rockwall, Texas. He left the University of Texas in 1902 to play with Corsicana of the Texas League, a league in which he spent the next twenty-six years as player, manager, club executive, and, for five years, league president. He was one of the earliest collegians to leap directly into organized baseball. Headlines and records seemed to follow Morris. In his first season at Corsicana his club had baseball's highest winning percentage (.793), set a world record for consecutive victories (twenty-seven), never relieved a pitcher all season, and figured in the game's greatest slaughter-a 51–3 victory over Texarkana. All this was done with an eleven-man squad. While a student at the University of Texas, where he frequently played without shoes, Morris had been known as the "Barefoot Boy at Texas." He received a law degree from the University of Texas in 1906 and tried to combine law and baseball careers until 1910, when he decided that baseball was his life's work. In 1916 he became president of the Texas League and helped to arrange the Dixie Series, a thirty-seven-year match between the Texas League and the Southern Association champions. For several years he owned half interest in the Fort Worth Cats, and again, after 1922, he was part owner and secretary-business manager for six years of the Dallas baseball team. He also served as business manager for the Shreveport, Tyler, and Fort Worth teams. He held the following personal records: club manager in his third year of organized baseball; organizer of more leagues (fourteen) and president of more (seven) than any other man on record; at one time president of three leagues concurrently-the East Texas, Evangeline, and Cotton States; builder of nine baseball parks; developer of numerous baseball players for the major leagues, including Rogers Hornsby; and once, in an emergency, Texas League president and umpire simultaneously. He died on August 2, 1961, of a heart attack following a surgical operation. In December 1966 he was elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Joe B. Frantz

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Joe B. Frantz, "MORRIS, JERRY WALTER," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmo58), accessed July 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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