VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Leading PGA professional Matt Morris of England also pitched zero innings in the 2002 MLB All-Star Game.
Over the next few days we will, thanks to the magnanimity of the zinc pyrithione industry, be taking a look at some memorable moments in Cardinals All-Star Game history. I'm not great at making lists, but there are supposed to be 10 of these, with some kind of countdown involved, so I decided to start with the most memorable unmemorable moment in MLB All-Star Game history: The tie game in 2002.
Matt Morris, the Cardinals' only representative at the game that year—Albert Pujols's .294/.393/.579 mark at third base wasn't enough, apparently, to unseat Mike Lowell—has the strange honor of being the only pitcher left on either bench when the teams walked off the field tied after 11 innings in Milwaukee. Replaced by Braves reliever Mike Remlinger on the NL roster, Morris wasn't injured or unable to go; he was struggling personally and professionally in the wake of Darryl Kile's death, and decided—with Tony La Russa—not to pitch.
My only vivid memory of the game is watching as each manager began pulling at his collar in extras and hoping Morris would suit up to keep things going for another inning, only to be disappointed when the announcers discounted the possibility. Morris emerging from the shadow of Kile's death to cut through the managerial fluff and extend the game via shady roster machinations would have been the kind of All-Star Game surprise, possible only in a true just-for-fun exhibition, that baseball needs and seems determined to drive to extinction; instead baseball was forced to introduce a different All-Star quirk, one somewhat less likely to be passed down from grandparent to grandchild in 2060.
It was a strange situation in a game filled with strange situations, and like the rest of them it resolved itself in an unsurprisingly disappointing way.
It's worth remembering, amidst all the sadness and mundane ineptitude of the days leading up to it and the day itself, how great Morris was at the time; a year after going 22-8 he finished the first half 10-6 with an ERA of 3.55 in the height of the last live-ball era. For some reason Morris the hotshot young star is a lost mental image to me—all I can call up is the injured guy who threw fastballs like a knuckleballer, just to offset three curveballs in a row.