More sad news from the baseball world.
Hall of Famer Joe Morgan died on Sunday at his home in Northern California, according to his family. He was 77.
Morgan was arguably the greatest second baseman to ever play the game. He was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, a 10-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove winner.
Morgan is one of several Hall of Famers who have died in recent weeks and months. Others include Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Lou Brock and Al Kaline.
Morgan was a key member of the Big Red Machine, the star-studded Cincinnati Reds club that won back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. Morgan was NL MVP in both of those seasons.
Though short in stature, Morgan could play a big man’s game. His powerful left-handed stroke generated 268 home runs in a 22-year career that included a stop in Philadelphia.
There was more to Morgan's offensive game than power. He led the NL in on-base percentage four times and retired with a career mark of .392. He led the league four times in walks, once in triples and scored 100 or more runs eight times. He also stole 40 or more bases nine times.
In other words, he was a complete player.
“Joe wasn’t just the best second baseman in baseball history, he was the best player I ever saw and one of the best people I’ve ever known,” former Reds catcher and fellow Hall of Famer Johnny Bench said in a statement.
Morgan broke in with Houston in 1963 and spent 10 seasons with that club before being traded to Cincinnati, where he spent eight seasons. After moving on to San Francisco for two seasons, he was traded to the Phillies in December 1982. Reliever Al Holland was also in that trade. Both players were influential in the Phillies’ winning the NL pennant that season. Holland had 25 saves and finished sixth in the Cy Young voting and ninth in the MVP voting. Morgan played 117 games at second base and had 20 doubles, 16 homers, 59 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.
In Philadelphia, Morgan was reunited with former Big Red Machine teammates Pete Rose and Tony Perez. Rose and Perez were both in their early 40s in 1983 and Morgan was 39. That veteran team was lovingly known as the Wheeze Kids, a takeoff on the young Whiz Kids of 1950.