Johnny Morrison

Morrison’s nickname, Jughandle Johnny, was a tribute to his sweeping curveball, considered among the best ever. He was 25-13 for the Pirates in 1923, and, as a workhorse starter and reliever, tied for the NL lead in games pitched in 1924 and led in 1925. A heavy drinker, he was suspended by Pittsburgh at times in 1926 and 1927, when, claiming illness, he went home to the hills of Kentucky. Dodger manager Wilbert Robinson had tolerance for wayward imbibers; after the sobering experience of being sent to the minors, a repentant Morrison was welcomed to Brooklyn in 1929. Robinson’s reclamation project was a one-year success, as Morrison was the NL’s best reliever, with eight saves and ten wins out of the bullpen. But, early in 1930, he failed to report for a game, was deemed “out of shape” and fined $200, and left Brooklyn for good. His brother Phil pitched in one game for the Pirates in 1921.