Joe Morgan, the driving force of the Big Red Machine, dies at 77

CINCINNATI (AP) – Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame second baseman who became the sparkplug of the Big Red Machine and died the prototype for baseball’s artificial turf era. He was 77.

Family spokesman James Davis died Monday at his home in Danville, California. Morgan was suffering from a nervous condition, a form of polyneuropathy.

Morgan’s death marked one of the greats of the major leagues this year: Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tom Sievers and Al Kalin.

Morgan was a two-time NL Most Valuable Player, winning a 10-time All-Star and five Gold Gloves. A 5-foot-7 dynamo known for flapping his left elbow into the plate, Little who can hit a home run, steal a base and disrupt any game with his courage .

Above all, he completed Cincinnati’s two-time World Series Championship squad, featuring back-to-back titles to a club Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez.

A single from Morgan’s two outings in the ninth inning of Game 7 in 1975 crowned the Reds in a classic matchup with Boston under the captaincy of the tie, and they made the Yankees’ four-game sweep the following season.

Morgan was the league’s MVP both years. And his Hall of Fame teammate and manager instinctively admitted that he is the one who got it all.

The smallest cog in the Big Red Machine was its most valuable masterpiece, and easily the first ballot pick for Cooperstown.

Former Reds and Tigers captain Sparky Anderson once said, “He was a good major league player when it made no sense.” “But when it meant something, he was a Hall of Famer.”

In a career of 22 years through 1984, Morgan scored 1,650 runs, stole 689 bases, hit 268 homers and batted .271. But those figures hardly reflected the force created on the field by left-swinging No. 8.

Confident and arrogant, that too was copied. As a habit of flapping his back elbow is a way to keep it high when the beating was copied by many Little Leguzars in Cincinnati and beyond.

“Joe was not the best second baseman in baseball history,” Bench said. “He was the best player I’d ever seen and one of the best guys I’ve ever known.”

Health problems had slowed Morgan down in recent years. Knee surgery forced him to use a cane to take to the field at Great American Ball Park before the 2015 All-Star Game, and later required a bone marrow transplant for the disease.

In his prime, Morgan helped bring revolution to the game with his quickness and many talents, especially when he hit the turf at Riverfront Stadium.

Packed in an unusually quick 150-pound unusual power. Fireplug frame, ”he was praised on the Hall of Fame plaque.

Morgan made his debut in Houston in 1963, when the team was called .45 and still played on grass. Once he became a full-time player in 1965, when the club became the Astros and moved to the Astrodome, he began to see what fast, multi-skilled players could do on the new type of turf.

The Reds had already formed a formidable team, but they lost to Baltimore in the 1970 World Series. Cincinnati made a shocking trade for Morgan after the 1971 season, which left Lee-May and All-Star second baseman Tommy Hales in an eight-player swap.

Morgan turned out to be exactly what the Reds needed to take the next step.

“With the rest of us that fit like the missing link in the puzzle,” Rose once said.

Rose was the dashing singer hitter, on her way to becoming the career hit leader of the game. The bench supplied electricity. Perez was a clutch hitter. And Morgan did everything he could to hit and steal targets whenever needed.

Morgan also got a lot of opportunities. Skilled on the drawing walk, and assisted by a short strike zone, he led the NL on a four percent basis in his first five years with the Reds, and finished with a career mark of .392.

“That’s when the game went for more speed,” Rose said. “There were people who had done more, but Joe stole the bases when everyone in the park knew he would. He didn’t steal. He counted them. Joe could have stolen more. Many people could only steal numbers. Steal to run, and they can’t when it’s counted on to win the game. Who made them. “

Morgan scored a major league-leading 122 runs in his first season with the Reds and reached the 1972 World Series, where he lost to Oakland in seven matches.

The two championship seasons were his best, making him the second baseman of his time – many giving him the greatest status for the post.

Morgan hit .327 in 1975 with 17 homers, 94 RBIs and 67 stolen bases, then the following year with a -320 average, 27 homers, 111 RBIs and 60 steals. He was only the fifth fifth baseman in the NL with more than 100 runs and led the league in both base percentage and slugging percentage in 1976.

A series of injuries in the late 1970s reduced Morgan’s production – years of throwing her body on the turf had taken a toll. The Reds decide to destroy the Big Red Machine, prompting Morgan to leave as well.

He spent 1980’s time with Houston, helping give Astro an NL West title. He played two seasons with San Francisco, and later rejoined Rose and Perez in Philadelphia.

Morgan scored two home runs in the 1983 World Series, while the Phillies lost five matches to Baltimore, and tripled in the final-at-bat.

Morgan finished as a career. 182 hitters in 502 Messenger games. He played in 11 different series and batted just over .273 in just one of them, a statement that surprised many given his big-game reputation.

Raised in Oakland, Morgan returned to the Bay Area and played the 1984 season with athletics before retiring.

Morgan set an NL record for second-place games, which went on to be career leaders and was an All-Star every single year with the Reds.

After his playing career, he spent years with ESPN, NBC, ABC and CBS as an announcer for the Reds, Giants and A’s. He was on the board of the Hall of Fame and baseball support team.

Morgan was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1990. The Reds also inducted him into their Hall of Fame and withdrew their number.

“He did it all, and he did it all the time,” said Bench, the first member to enter the hall of the Big Red Machine.

Morgan recognized his place on one of baseball’s all-time great teams.

“The bench probably had the rawest baseball potential of any of us,” Morgan said before joining his Hall of Fame. “Pete was clearly the most determined to make himself that player. Perez was the unsung hero. I think I was just a man who could do a lot of things.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Theresa May; Twin daughters Kelly and Ashley; And daughters Lisa and Angela made their first marriage to Gloria Morgan.

The details of the funeral are yet to be determined.


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