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Friday, April 1, 2022

Angel Morris made the majors late, as a bullpen catcher; Saw 12 pro seasons, made AAA as player

After a decade in the minors, Angel Morris got his call to the majors in June 1990 - as a bullpen catcher, The Tampa Tribune wrote.

Morris had earlier been sent by the Expos to play with independent Miami, but now they needed someone to catch in the bullpen, The Tribune wrote.

"They needed a bullpen catcher and they called me," Morris told The Tribune. "What could I do? It's not what I'd always envisioned as my big break. But hey, I'm in the big leagues. It's a lot better than being in Miami."

Morris made the big leagues in that unusual way in his 11th season as a pro. He'd previously briefly made AAA. He never made the majors as a player.

Along the way in the minors, Morris even played an unusual position in one season-ending game in 1989 - mascot.

Morris' career began in 1980, signed by the Brewers out of his native Puerto Rico.

Morris started with the Brewers at rookie Butte. The catcher hit .190 over 31 games. He returned to Butte for much of 1981, getting a game at single-A Burlington. 

He made single-A Beloit in 1982, then single-A Stockton in 1983. He moved to the Pirates and single-A Macon for 1984. He hit .259 in 91 games there.

Morris joined the Royals for 1985 and played at single-A Fort Myers. That September, he helped his team get to the title series with a ninth-inning game-winning hit, The Fort Myers News-Press wrote.

"Before the game I was talking to my roommate and I said we were going to win," Morris told The News-Press afterward. "I came out 150 percent ready to play. I had confidence in my teammates, and I was ready to play."

Morris made the move to AA Memphis in 1986. He hit .259 in 89 games there. He split time between Fort Myers and Memphis in 1987, then saw three games at AAA Omaha in 1988. He went 1 for 8.

He returned to Memphis with the Chicks for 1989. He hit .203 in 102 games, including four outings as a relief pitcher. 

Late that August, he turned Chicks mascot. He worked the first three innings of a game, then played first by the fourth inning, The Memphis Commercial Appeal wrote. He even later got an RBI single.

"It's hot in that chicken suit - I must have lost 10 pounds," Morris told The Commercial Appeal later. "... When I got in the game, I was there, but my body wasn't."

Morris then played 1990 at Miami - and as bullpen catcher for the Expos. He saw 37 games at Miami and hit .255. He's last credited as playing in 1991, with Aguascalientes in Mexico.

He's later credited as serving as hitting coach at rookie Danville in 1995 and as a minor league instructor with the Padres in 1999.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,880
Made the Majors:1,296-33.4%
Never Made Majors:2,584-66.6%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:528
10+ Seasons in the Minors:325-X

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