HOUSTON – Charlie Morton is a teammate turned tormentor in this town, delivering the Houston Astros a 2017 World Series title with a legendary Game 7 performance and denying them a return trip last year as a Tampa Bay Ray. He has slipped quietly into town, as Morton does, for yet another World Series, this time with the Atlanta Braves.
And that, really, should explain everything: Carrying three franchises into a World Series in a five-year span is legend stuff, a reputation so well-earned that All-Star teammate Freddie Freeman says Morton remains “the best big-game pitcher there is in this sport.”
Yet Morton, who has pondered retirement in recent years and turns 38 next month, is far from a mercenary. He leaves behind as much as he brings to the table, striking a balance of reserved and resolute that compels teammates to listen, particularly when he backs up his words with dominance on the mound.
So when Morton takes the ball for Game 1 of this World Series, his presence will extend far beyond the trivia answer as the right-hander who threw the final pitch of a Fall Classic for the Astros, and the first pitch of another against them.