World Series hero: Teacher reflects on Charlie Morton
Charlie Morton began playing baseball with Trumbull Little League before the Houston Astro pitcher moved with his family to Redding.
Not just once, but twice, did Charlie Morton come through in the clutch for the Houston Astros in the 2017 post-season.
On the first occasion the 2002 Joel Barlow High graduate pitched five shutout innings in the seventh game of the American League Championship Series to help his team beat the New York Yankees and win the pennant.
The second was even bigger.
Taking the mound in relief this time, Morton went the last four innings Game 7 of the World Series. He allowed only one run and got the win as the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 on Wednesday, Nov. 1, to capture their first championship in the franchise’s 56-year history.
“I’m so thankful,” said Morton in a post-game interview. “I’m so thankful for the Astros organization for giving me a chance and believing in me, for my teammates and for the city of Houston. It’s just unbelievable.”
Morton was born in Flemington, New Jersey, his family moved to Connecticut at an early age, and he was raised first in Trumbull then in Redding.
“Charlie was in my second grade class at Tashua School, and his sister was the following year as well,” said Laura Coughlin, now the math specialist at Jane Ryan School. “Charlie was a great kid...bright and very respectful. He was not one to draw attention to himself. The way he comes across in his interviews is the way I remember him...unassuming, almost surprised at how talented he really is.
“Right before the playoffs, I found a card he made me years ago, where he thanked me for being kind. I watched each of his performances as he helped bring the Astros to the World Series and then secure the championship.
“I showed students at Jane Ryan the card in an effort to share with them a real life story of perseverance and grit, as he overcame many injuries and setbacks. They were very excited to know that this World Series champion was a Trumbull student just like them. I couldn't be happier for his success.”
Known for his involvement with military organizations throughout his Major League career, by making donations, hosting military families to private batting practice sessions and holding postgame parties for veterans, Morton had a record of 14-7 with an ERA of 3.62 for the regular season. He was drafted straight out of high school by the Atlanta Braves in the third round of the June 2002 draft. The clinching win was only the second relief appearance of his career.