Joe Morgan

From Academic Kids

Joseph Leonard Morgan (born September 19, 1943 in Bonham, Texas) is a former Major League Baseball second baseman, considered by many as one of the greatest second basemen to have played the game. Morgan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990 with 81.76% of the ballot. Currently, he works as a color commentator for ESPN television and radio.

Morgan, who is African-American, should not be confused with another baseball name, the Caucasian Joe Morgan[1] (, who managed the Boston Red Sox to the 1988 and 1990 American League Eastern Division titles.

Morgan was signed by the Houston Colt .45s as an amateur free agent in 1962. Early in his career, Morgan had trouble with his swing because he kept his back elbow down too low. Teammate Nellie Fox suggested to Joe that he should 'flap' his back arm like a chicken to keep his elbow up. He played with distinction with Houston until a multi-player trade brought him to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1972 season. After joining the Big Red Machine, Morgan's career reached a new level. This includes eight consecutive All-Star Game appearances (1972-1979) to go along with his 1966 and 1970 appearances with Houston.

Morgan, along with teammates Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Dave Concepción, led the Reds to consecutive championships in the World Series. Morgan was also the National League MVP in 1975 and 1976.

As a hitter, Morgan was extremely capable. While his lifetime average was only .271, he hit between .288 and .327 during his peak years with the Reds, and drew a great many walks throughout his career, resulting in a superb .392 on base percentage. He also hit 268 home runs and 545 doubles and triples, excellent power for a middle infielder of his era, and was considered the finest base stealer of his generation (689 steals at greater than 80% success rate). Besides his prowess behind the plate and on the bases, Morgan was an exceptional infielder winning the Gold Glove Award from 1972 to 1976.

In his current broadcasting career, he has also been successful, winning a CableACE award (along with ESPN partner Jon Miller) in 1990 and Emmy awards for sports analysis in 1998 and 2005. From 1994 to 2000, Morgan teamed with Bob Costas and Bob Uecker to call baseball games on NBC. During the late 1980s, Morgan served as an announcer for ABC where he helped announce the 1988 American League Championship Series with Gary Bender[2] ( and served as a field reporter for the 1989 World Series. Morgan was on the field at San Francisco's Candlestick Park alongside Hall of Famer Willie Mays the moment the Loma Prieta earthquake hit at 5:04 p.m.

Morgan is a strong critic of sabermetrics. Sabermetrics disputes many conventional baseball truths -- for example it says it is counterproductive to steal bases unless you make it more than 70% of the time. Sabermetrics also holds that the sacrafice bunt is a useless play because it gives away an out. Sabermetric ideas have been widely spread by the book [[Moneyball], which chronicles the strategies of the Oakland Athletics. However, Morgan's criticisms have often been factually incorrect - he constantly says that the book was written by Billy Beane, but it was written by Michael Lewis. It is also clear that he has a limited conceptual understanding of sabermetric theories. For example, the success of the Chicago White Sox thus far in 2005, he claims, proves that traditional baseball theories are true. This assertion is reckless at best, since advanced sabermetric statistics show the White Sox have been lucky to win so many close ganes this far. Such analysis is also incomplete since it fails to point out that the Red Sox, last years champions, have a GM who believes in sabermetrics as well.


Career statistics


Other information

  • Major League debut: September 21, 1963.
  • Bats: Left-handed
  • Throws: Right-handed
  • Member of Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame (inducted in 1987)


  • Morgan teamed with shortstop Dave Concepción a duo winner of four Gold Gloves, joining a select list of eight shortstop-second baseman combinations have won the honor in the same season while playing together (1974 to 1977).

See also

External links


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