Despite being limited to only one season due to playing rules at the time, former Ohio Valley Redcoats Outfielder Corey Morris made the most of his time in the Frontier League. He started by playing high school baseball in West Virginia and later made his way to West Virginia State University.
“I really didn’t expect to play at the next level. I really just thought I’d play in college and leave it at that,” said Morris.
Sure enough, scouts began attending games and expressed interest in him during his junior and senior years. Despite the interest, Morris went undrafted, but was soon contacted by several independent leagues, including the Frontier League. It was then that he was approached by manager of the Ohio Valley Redcoats, Greg LeMaster, about the opportunity to join them for the 1994 season.
“I was really blessed that the league gave me a chance to play another year,” expressed Morris.
Corey got off to a slow start initially, until LeMaster helped him simplify his approach to the game and helped him spike his confidence.
“I really liked the atmosphere in Parkersburg. It was a smaller community and not a huge field, but the fans were loyal, and it was a very welcoming community.”
His college teammate, Mike Allen, who was also invited to join the team, took him in. He and his family served as Morris’ host family during his time in Parkersburg.
Although the season lasted just 68 games, Morris had a great year. He registered a .394 avg, with 19 home runs, 63 RBI, 67 runs scored, 22 doubles, 47 walks, and a 1.252 OPS. He led the Frontier League in home runs, RBI, runs, doubles, and walks, and was second in average. He was ultimately named the 1994 Frontier League Most Valuable Player, and his OPS is still the second highest in league history.
Morris remembers hitting a home run in his last at-bat against Erie in the postseason that year.
“I remember thinking at the time that that could very well be my last season in baseball. In my last at-bat in the playoffs, I recall one of my teammates telling me to end my career in style.”
Morris went on to play one more season professionally with the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the Northern League, but still remembers a lot about his time in the Frontier League.
“That was my first real experience playing with guys from all over the country. It was a year that helped me grow up a little bit, expand my horizons and get out of West Virginia for a while and get to see other parts of the country that I hadn’t seen.”
After his baseball career, Morris went back home and worked at a Dow Chemical plant as a chemical operator for eight years. He then spent three years with the United State Secret Service in Washington D.C. as part of their Uniformed Division on the Emergency Response Team. For the last fifteen years, Morris, his wife and kids have lived in South Carolina, where he works security as part of the Special Response Team for the Savannah River Site nuclear energy facility for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Despite being away from baseball for a number of years now, Morris has learned a lot from the game that has stuck with him to this day.
“It taught me a lot of discipline. I felt like I lacked discipline in a number of areas of my life, but it helped keep me focused and probably helped prepare me a bit for my future career in law enforcement. I also started weight training and paying more attention to fitness for baseball, and those are now passions of mine and things that have carried on for me in my life.”
“I am very thankful. I got to meet a lot of cool guys, see new parts of the country. It really went by so fast. When I found out I was being inducted, I just thought ‘Wow, they really must have thought a lot of me in that one season to include me with some of the other greats that have come through the league’. It is a true honor.”
You can watch Corey Morris and other inductees give their Hall of Fame speeches at the ceremony in Washington right here: https://frontierleague.vhx.tv/videos/flhofceremony