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Joe Morgan, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame second baseman, passed away at his home in California on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. It seems every team he played for experienced the greatness he brought with him.
Upon arriving in Cincinnati in 1972, the 10-time All-Star was an integral part of the Reds reaching the World Series that same year. Hall of Famers Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and Tony Perez helped Morgan and the Reds win back-to-back World Series Championships in 1975 and 1976.
In 1980, the Reds’ All-Star second basemen returned to his original team, the Astros, and helped them capture their first National League West title in franchise history that season.
Morgan was not the only major league great to transition this year. MLB greats: Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver, and Al Kaline all died. He was well known for pumping his left arm while holding his bat in his batting stance as he awaited a pitch.
One of Morgan’s greatest accomplishments occurred in Game 7 of the 1975 World Series. His two-out, a ninth-inning single on a 1-2 slider from Jim Burton scored Ken Griffey with the go-ahead run in Cincinnati’s 4-3 triumph.
The 1976 World Series opener, Morgan homered off Yankees right-hander Doyle Alexander with two out in the first inning. Cincinnati proceeded to sweep the Yanks, outscoring them, 22-8.
In the first game of a 1975 doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants, he stole second base and was pushed over to third base with 2 walks. Taking his typically daring lead off third base, Morgan suddenly charged home. He was ruled safe as he was the lead man in a triple steal.
Morgan was known for saying:
A good base stealer should make the whole infield jumpy. Whether you steal or not, you’re changing the rhythm of the game. If the pitcher is concerned about you, he isn’t concentrating enough on the batter.
He struggled with many health issues, including a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy. He is survived by his wife, Theresa Morgan, and two children.
Written by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
ESPN: Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan dies at 77, ESPN
MLB News: Joe Morgan’s most memorable moments, Chris Haft
Fox News Channel: Joe Morgan, driving force of Big Red Machine, dead at 77, Associated Press
IMDB: Joe Morgan Biography
Feature Image Courtesy of 5chw4r7z’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of John VanderHaagen on Wikimedia – Creative Commons License