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This is not the first time Dennis Eckersley and Jack Morris haven’t seen eye-to-eye

05.03.13 at 12:50 am ET
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Dennis Eckersley

On Thursday, a form of ex-pitcher-on-ex-pitcher crime took place, when Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley ripped longtime American League opponent Jack Morris for comments the latter made as a Blue Jays broadcaster suggesting that Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz was using an illegal substance to doctor the baseball. Eckersley suggested that Buchholz’s command of a wide range of pitches served as a rebuttal to the notion that he was using a foreign substance, and suggested on NESN that Morris’ claims to the contrary were “clueless.”

“When you throw a spitball, the ball falls off the table, and you know it right away. The hitters didn’t complain, but Jack Morris is. I think Jack Morris should zip it,” Eckersley said on NESN. “I feel sorry for Buchholz to even have to deal with this. I’m styling here, and you’re taking away from me, a guy that can’t even make it to the Hall of Fame yet, and he’s chirping over there — zip it.”

(More of Eckersley’s comments are here.)

Interestingly, this is not the first time that Eckersley and Morris have had a public — and personal — disagreement.

In 1992, when Eckersley’s Athletics played Morris’ Blue Jays in the ALCS, Morris denounced Eckersley’s conduct on the mound — most notably, his enthusiastic fist-pumping after a strikeout of an opponent — as “Little League stuff.” Prior to the following game, Eckersley and Morris spoke on the field. Eckersley offered the following account of the conversation in 1992, as recounted by numerous reports — including this one from The Associated Press — at the time.

“Who is Jack Morris, anyway?” [Eckersley] fumed. “Mr. Etiquette?”

Eckersley met Morris before the game, although it wasn’t exactly a meeting of the minds.

“I said, ‘What’s the story?’ ” Eckersley said. “Jack said, ‘I used to be like that, but I learned.’

“Well, I respect Jack Morris as a pitcher, but that’s all,” he said. “It really doesn’t matter what everybody else said, but Jack’s was the one that bothered me the most. He’s a competitor, so he probably understands — yet he buries me. Cheap shot.”

And, Eckersley added, he wouldn’t stifle his emotions on the mound just to satisfy Morris.

“I said, ‘I do what I do to get me going, and at the time, that was a big out,’ ” Eckersley told Morris. “I said, ‘I could sit here and apologize to you, but I could go out today and do the same thing.’ “

NOTE: This post initially described Morris as the 1984 Cy Young winner. That characterization was inaccurate, as Morris’ Tigers teammate, Willie Hernandez, claimed the 1984 Cy.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Dennis Eckersley, Jack Morris,
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