From Braves to World Series title for McCann, Morton

Credit: Jae C. Hong

Credit: Jae C. Hong

Charlie Morton to Brian McCann.

It was the Houston Astros’ battery of pitcher and catcher as they closed out Game 7 of the World Series for a championship-clinching 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday night.

Both Morton and McCann came up together in the Atlanta Braves’ organization, drafted 15 years earlier. In the 2002 Major League Baseball draft, McCann was selected in the second round, No. 64 overall, and Morton was selected in the third round, No. 95 overall. For McCann, it was a childhood dream come true as the local product starred at Duluth High.

A championship would not come in Atlanta. It came in Houston after both made stops in other major league cities.

McCann spoke about their journeys in an on-field interview with ESPN following the career-defining moment.

“Everything I worked for my entire life is about to come true,” McCann said of his thoughts as the final out was about to be recorded. “The guy on the mound, I got drafted with him with the Atlanta Braves. First person I met in pro ball. I was 18 years old and to be sitting here at 33 years old, and for him to be pitching to me and closing out a World Series, it’s a memory I’ll never forget.

“That’s what we are doing here. We are making memories. I want to look back at that (championship) ring when I’m 70 years old and remember all the guys and the coaching staff.”

McCann was a Braves staple after he made his big league debut in 2005. In his nine seasons, he was an All-Star seven times, including six straight from 2006-11. He signed a free agent with the New York Yankees where he spent three seasons before being traded to the Astros before this season.

Morton made his Braves debut in 2008 and spent one season with a 4-8 record. Morton would also play for the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven seasons and the Philadelphia Phillies for one season, a campaign cut short by a severe hamstring injury. He signed with the Astros before this season.

Morton was the winning pitcher in the World Series. He also won Game 7 victory of the American League Championship Series.

Now, the cap he wore in Game 7 is going to the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of three pieces of Astros memorabilia.

“To be honest, it didn’t seem that stressful, didn’t feel like the World Series,” Morton told Sports Illustrated of his four innings of relief. “We had a 5–1 lead, and the crowd had been taken out of it. It felt like a midseason game, so it was easy to just focus on what I had to do and not think about what was at stake.”