Joe Morgan

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Note: This page links to Joe Morgan, the Hall of Fame player. For the former major league infielder and manager, click here.

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Joe Leonard Morgan

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1990

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Biographical Information[edit]

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A fierce competitor renowned for his baseball smarts, Joe Morgan could single-handedly beat opposing teams with his multi-faceted skills. An MVP Award Winner in 1975 and 1976 while playing for the Cincinnati Reds, he was a terror on the basepaths, topping the 40-steal plateau nine times during his career. His skilled batting eye enabled him to lead the National League in on-base percentage and walks four times each. Morgan also packed considerable power into his compact frame, leading all Hall of Fame second basemen with 266 home runs, hitting 268 overall. Morgan's 27 homers in 1976 were the record for a Reds second baseman until Brandon Phillips broke it in 2007.

While most associated with the Reds, and particularly the Big Red Machine, he began his career with the Houston Colt .45s in 1963 two days after his 20th birthday, and played with Houston (renamed the Houston Astros in 1966 until 1971. He returned to Houston for one season in 1980 after leaving the Reds and helped lead them to their first division title that year. He then moved to the San Francisco Giants and almost led them to a surprise pennant in 1982. He was then part of the "Wheeze Kids" Philadelphia Phillies in 1983, reuniting with former Reds teammates Pete Rose and Tony Perez, and appearing in the postseason for the 7th time as the team made an unexpected appearance in that year's World Series. he closed out his career with one season with the Oakland Athletics in 1984.

He was named to the Rawlings All-Time Gold Glove Team.

Morgan was rated the #1 second baseman of all time by Bill James in his New Historical Baseball Abstract. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 9, 1990 by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

As a broadcaster on ESPN, he was paired with Jon Miller for many years on Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts. After stepping down, he served as Vice-chairman of the Hall of Fame. In this capacity he made a very public intervention the day following the release of the ballot for the 2018 Hall of Fame Election, urging BBWAA members not to vote for known PED users. He added that he was speaking for a majority of Hall members. His intervention seemed to be in reaction to alleged users Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens both obtaining over 50% of the vote for the first time during the previous year's voting.

Morgan signs a poster for the Hall of Fame quarter issued in 2014

Joe Morgan is the only player to homer twice on his 40th birthday. He was only the second player to even hit one home run on his 40th birthday, following Bob Thurman by 26 years. It was 15 years until Wade Boggs became the third to do it. On September 7, 2013, a life-size statue of Morgan in action, running the bases, was unveiled in front of Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, in Joe's presence.

"When he's healthy, he's the finest ballplayer I ever played with. He could win ballgames in more ways than anybody." Johnny Bench.

Notable Achievements[edit]


NL MVP
1974 1975 1976
Steve Garvey Joe Morgan Joe Morgan
1975 1976 1977
Joe Morgan Joe Morgan George Foster

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mark Feinsand: "Morgan urges HOF voters to reject PED users: 1990 inductee, Hall vice chairman sends letter to writers", mlb.com, November 21, 2017. [1]
  • Joe Morgan (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, October 1979, pp. 29-32. [2]

Related Sites[edit]