Jim Morris was drafted as a teenager and pitched in the Milwaukee Brewers' Minor League system, but was released during the '87 season.
Morris left baseball in 1989, and became a high school teacher and baseball coach in Texas.
Nearly a decade later, Morris made a promise to his student-ballplayers that if they won a district title, he'd try out for a Major League team. They won, and the 35-year-old Morris was so impressive in his tryout with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that the team signed him.
Late in the 1999 season, Morris made his Major League debut for the Rays, striking out the first batter he faced, Royce Clayton of the Texas Rangers. He pitched in 20 Major League games before arm problems ended his career.
In 2002, his story was made into a movie, "The Rookie," starring actor Dennis Quaid (middle) as Morris.