World News – US – Big Red Machine engine Joe Morgan dies at 77


San Francisco Giants 8-year-old Joe Morgan is congratulated at home plate by teammates Guy Sularz and Bob Brenly, after Morgan clocked three homeruns over the right-field fence during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers, October 4, 1982 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. (AP Photo / Paul Sakuma)

CINCINNATI (AP) – Joe Morgan, the Hall of Fame second baseman who became the spark plug of the Big Red Machine and the prototype of the artificial turf era of baseball, has passed away. 77 years old

He died at his home in Danville, Calif. on Sunday, family spokesman James Davis said on Monday. Morgan suffered from a nervous disease, a form of polyneuropathy

Morgan’s death marked the last of the major league greats this year: Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver and Al Kaline

Morgan was the NL’s two-time MVP, ten-time All-Star, and won five gold gloves A 5-foot-7 dynamo known for pounding his left elbow at home plate, Little Joe could hit a circuit, steal a base and disrupt any match with his daring

Most importantly, he completed Cincinnati’s two-time World Series championship team, leading a club with Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez to back-to-back titles.

Morgan’s simple tiebreaker with two strikeouts in the ninth inning of Game 7 in 1975 gave the Reds the crown in a classic game with Boston, and it prompted a four-game sweep from the Yankees this season. next

Morgan has been the league’s MVP for both years And his Hall of Fame teammates and manager readily recognized that he was the one who started it all

The Big Red Machine’s smallest cog was its most valuable part and easily a first-round choice for Cooperstown

« He was just a good major league player when it didn’t mean anything, » former Reds and Tigers skipper Sparky Anderson once said. « But when it meant anything, he was a Hall of Fame member »

In a 22-year career until 1984, Morgan scored 1,650 points, stole 689 goals, hit 268 home runs and hit 271 But those stats barely reflected the strength created on the pitch by the No. 8

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Confident and arrogant, he has also been copied His habit of flapping his back elbow to keep him high while hitting has been emulated by many smaller leaguers in Cincinnati and beyond

Health issues had slowed Morgan down in recent years Knee surgery forced him to use a cane when he took to the field at Great American Ball Park ahead of the 2015 All-Star Game and he later needed a bone marrow transplant for an illness

In his heyday, Morgan helped revolutionize the game with his speed and many talents, especially once he hit the turf at Riverfront Stadium

« Unusual power in his extraordinarily fast 150 lb candle frame » he was lauded on his Hall of Fame plaque

Morgan made his debut with Houston in 1963, when the team was called 45s and still played on the grass.Once he became a full-time player in 1965 when the club became the Astros and moved into the Astrodome, he began to provide insight into what fast and versatile players could do on this new kind of terrain

The Reds had already built a formidable team, but failed in 1970, losing to Baltimore in the World Series Cincinnati made a shocking trade for Morgan after the 1971 season, ditching slugger Lee May and All-Star second baseman Tommy Helms in an eight-man trade.

« Joe fits in with us like the missing link in the puzzle, » Rose said

Rose was the dashing singles hitter, set to become the leader of the game in career Bench provided the power Perez was the clutch hitter And Morgan did a bit of everything, slicing punches and stealing bases in case of need

Morgan also has plenty of chances. Skillful at drawing steps and aided by a small strike zone, he led the NL in basic percentage in four of his first five years with the Reds and finished with a 392

“That’s when the game went faster,” Rose said “There were guys doing more, but Joe stole bases when everyone at the park knew he would. He didn’t waste the flights He made them count Joe probably could’ve stolen more A lot of guys just fly to make the numbers go up and then they can’t when it counts to win the game Joe made them count « 

Morgan scored 122 major league points in his first season with the Reds and they reached the 1972 World Series, where they lost in seven games to Oakland

Both league seasons have been his best, making him the dominant second baseman of his time – many have called him the best player of all time

Morgan hit 327 with 17 home runs, 94 RBIs and 67 stolen bases in 1975, then followed by an average 320, 27 home runs, 111 RBIs and 60 steals next year He was only the fifth Netherlands second baseman to lead in over 100 points and also led the league in both base percentage and slugging percentage in 1976

A series of injuries in the late 1970s slashed Morgan’s output – years of throwing his body out onto the turf had taken their toll The Reds decided to dismantle the Big Red Machine, prompting Morgan to leave too

He spent the 1980 season with Houston, helping the Astros win an NL West title He played two seasons with San Francisco, then reunited with Rose and Perez in Philadelphia

Morgan hit two home runs in the 1983 World Series as the Phillies lost in five games to Baltimore, and trebled in his last at bat

Morgan finished his career 182 hitters in 50 playoff games He played in 11 different series and hit 273 in just one, a stat that comes as a surprise to many considering his reputation as a big game player

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

Morgan set the NL record for games played second, ranked among the career leaders in marches and has been an All-Star in each of his years with the Reds

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

Morgan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990 The Reds also inducted him into their Hall of Fame and retired his number

« He did it all, and he did it all the time, » said Bench, the first Big Red Machine member to enter the room. « I always thought Joe was the better player with which I played, and it takes a lot of ground « 

« Bench probably had the rawest baseball ability of us, » Morgan said ahead of his Hall of Fame induction « Pete was obviously the most determined to be the player he was Perez was the unsung hero I guess I was just a guy who could do a lot of things

He is survived by his wife of 30, Theresa, his twin daughters Kelly and Ashley; and daughters Lisa and Angela from her first marriage to Gloria Morgan

Joe Morgan, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, National League, Big Red Machine

News from around the world – United States – Big Red Machine engine Joe Morgan dies at 77



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