Protégé Of Pitcher Who Inspired ‘The Rookie’ Shining In His Own Right

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Asa Lacy is a top pitching prospect for the Kansas City Royals, and his pitching coach inspired an entire movie. It’s proving to be a good combination.

Lacy’s personal coach is a man by the name of Jim Morris, whom you may know as the pitcher who made his major league debut at the age of 35. Hence, the movie, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quad as Morris.

That leads us to Lacy, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefty who was trained by Morris as a young teenager.

“Jim Morris is that one person, so important to my path here,” Lacy told the Peoria Journal Star. “He gave me pitching lessons for two years. I was 13-14 years old. He told me a lot of cool stories about pitching in the big leagues.

“Everything he told me was good. Incredible human being and role model. He’s that one person I think of when I think of how blessed I am to be here.”

Lacy, 21, was drafted by the Royals with the fourth overall pick in 2020. He now pitches for the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Royals’ high-A affiliate.

Morris is now 57 years old and has actually written two books, including one about his experience, The Oldest Rookie. The movie was based on his climb to the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays in 1999.

Morris’ MLB career didn’t last long. He debuted on Sept. 8, 1999 and threw his last MLB pitch on May 9, 2000. He ended his big-league career with a 0-0 record and 13 strikeouts. And all of that is OK. It was the journey that made Morris’ story worthy of a major motion picture.

Mostly, Morris’ legacy lives on in the likes of proteges such as Lacy.

“About age 15, I just started really developing and having a lot of fun with baseball,” Lacy told the Journal Star. “A lot of kids get burned out, but I had really good coaches and teammates and it was fun for me.”

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side,

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