Tom played in the Cubs' farm system in 1979-80 and is now completing a doctorate in geology at Wisconsin. Jack advanced from Little League to the St. Paul American Legion division that produced Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor. "I wanted to be a shortstop or third baseman, but I'd also done some pitching," says Morris. "My first day at Brigham Young, I asked the coach. Glen Tuckett, where he wanted me, and he said, 'You are a pitcher from this day on.' "
Drafted by Detroit after his junior year, Morris progressed rapidly—fighting himself all the way. He thought he'd be released after getting off to a slow start with the Double-A Montgomery Rebels in 1976. He joined the Tigers a year later, was plagued with a sore arm in 1978 and had to be talked into playing winter ball by Ralph Houk, the Detroit skipper at the time. Morris cured his arm troubles by lifting weights, but he developed a volcanic temper. He busted a bat rack, kicked over stools and stiffed sports-writers after losses. "I used to take the game home with me, especially when I was going bad," he says. "By the time I went to the mound again, I had nothing left to think about, including how to pitch." Morris finally straightened out last summer when Parrish took him aside and told him to stop displaying his emotions on the field.
"I'm not a Mark Fidrych, brushing off the mound," says Morris. "My style is methodical, everyday, do your best. I admire guys like Carlton, Seaver, Palmer, Perry, Hunter. Every time out I want to throw a perfect game. The thing I treasure most about my no-hitter was wanting to hug all my teammates. I mean, it wasn't that great a game. I walked six guys and got three or four good fielding plays. So I tied the record for earliest no-hitter of a season. Whoopee!
"Pitching is a constant adjustment. I love to tinker with things like snowmobiles and cars. I took the job of player rep two years ago to find out what that involved." Indeed, an hour before he pitched last week, Morris was brandishing medical and dental forms and joyously summoning teammates to his locker "office."
Petry describes his life as one continuous miracle. His mother, Aleene, who had miscarried three times before he came along, almost miscarried before he was born. As a baby he had severe bronchitis and a heart murmur. "He was always big for his age and paired with older kids," says his father, Ron, a good-humored, low-key chemist. "I'm kind of an egghead, but I think being a good father is realizing where a kid ought to be, not what you want him to be. It was obvious from an early age that Dan had the talent to be an athlete. About all I could do was practice with him, tell him it was all right to cry, create a stable atmosphere."
Petry grew up in Placentia, Calif., wanting to be an outfielder, but Detroit drafted him as a pitcher because it liked his arm. "I started out 0-5 in A-ball," he says, "and my manager at Lakeland was tempted to demote me. I guess the Tigers had confidence in me, because they kept me. It wasn't until I got to Triple A that I realized I wasn't so bad. When Sparky started managing the Tigers in 1979, he called me up. I won a couple of games and opened some eyes. I went down again, and then I popped right back. I was no phenom, just a steady developer." Since making Detroit for good in 1980, Petry has had records of 10-9, 10-9, 15-9 and, last season, 19-11.
Morris is casual and cocky. Petry, who's shy and reserved, is one of the growing number of players who have undergone sessions in "creative relaxation," a school of positive thinking. "Jack thinks he's the greatest pitcher in the world, and that makes all the difference," says Craig. "Dan underestimates how good he is," says agent Moss.
At 53, Craig is at last being compared with such celebrated pitching coaches as Philadelphia's Claude Osteen and Baltimore's Ray Miller. "The man is a genius," says Anderson. "He's so optimistic, he could find good in a tornado. How much does he mean to us? I could drop dead tomorrow, but if we lose Roger Craig, we've got problems."
If Craig had his way, all his charges would throw the split-fingered fastball, a kind of fast forkball that's gripped closer to the fingertips and released with a fastball motion. He began teaching the pitch at his boys' camp in 1974 and discovered that it worked at all levels. "It's a devastating pitch," says Craig, "and you can throw it with maximum arm speed without hurting yourself. I tell my pitchers, Think fastball.' It comes in like a fastball and then falls off the table." In his no-hitter, Morris had the White Sox chasing the funny fastball out of the strike zone. Detroit's third starter, Milt Wilcox, the first Tiger to use the pitch, has kept his ERA below 4.00 the last three seasons by relying heavily on the split-fingered fastball.
"A lot of pitching coaches try to teach you what worked for them," says Wilcox. "Roger teaches what's best for you, possibly because he didn't have that great a career." Craig, who had a 74-98 record in 12 seasons, was on the mound in the Brooklyn Dodgers' last game and the New York Mets' first and competed in four World Series. He went 15-46 in two seasons with the Mets. As a coach with the Padres in 1969, he once received a Mother's Day card from his pitchers. In '78 he managed San Diego to its only winning season but was fired a year later. Anderson immediately hired him.