R.I.P. Joe Morgan

I have an old cigar box where I stash my autographs, baseball cards, and other assorted bric-a-brac. Today I was looking through it for the first time in eons when I stumbled upon this Joe Morgan pin. I didn’t really get to watch Joe play, as he had retired before baseball was part of my stratosphere, but I know he was a fine second baseman and a damn good leader on some star-studded Cincinnati Reds teams in the 70’s. He was also a Hall of Famer, a label that hasn’t been treated kindly in this demoralizing year of 2020.

I suppose when people die an individual always reminisces and then takes the inevitable look at their own mortality and wonders: When is my time? Where do we go? Is it just nothingness? So here I am raising a glass for you, Joe. Let us all acknowledge the fact that no matter race, economic status, or popularity that we will all end up in the same place. And that enough should be reason alone for us to try to figure out how to end oppression and bigotry so we can all live a better life, and hopefully achieve a more peaceful existence on this spinning rock that we call home.

20 thoughts on “R.I.P. Joe Morgan

  1. Dean

    It’s been a tough couple of weeks with Brock, Gibson, Ford, and now Joe Morgan passing away. It feels as though all my childhood hero’s are all leaving me. He was one of my favorites to watch, whether it be stealing a base motoring around the bases, or flapping that chicken wing when he was up at the plate waiting for a pitch. He was an amazing player for what I consider the best team I ever saw play, the ’75, ’76 Cincinnati Reds Baseball Team…..I also have him on my ALL-Time Team playing 2nd base. Sad days indeed. R.I.P. Lil’ Joe.

  2. Corkywk

    Yep, I too remember watching Joe pumping his arm before every pitch. It’s what made him stand out in my then young eyes. He also later became one of my favorite commentators. Smooth unexcitable voice that imparted experienced insights instead of baseball simplicities that any baseball fan would already know. Still, the greatest 2nd basemen of all time? I don’t know? Ever see Robbie Alomar play?

      1. Corkywk

        Yep, Kent was more of a slugger no doubt. Fit right in with today’s game. Still, Alomar could steal a bag for you. Other than slugging and SB’s their offensive stats match up pretty well. Pick your poison I guess! Still, if we’re talking overall? Hard choices man! And that’s what makes baseball so great!

    1. Dean

      When the question comes up, who was the best (whatever), for me the answer is whoever it was when you were a 10 yr old kid. At 63 yrs old, I’ve learned that it is impossible to compare players from different eras…..the main reason being the band box stadiums they have today. But I got to chime in here with Jeff Kent. The general consensus is that BALCO had its hooks pretty deep in the clubhouses in San Francisco, Oakland, and their AAA affiliates, although he doesn’t come up in the Mitchell report and he wasn’t on the dubious “leaked” 2003 list. He was definitely a locker room cancer whose numbers were ridiculously inflated by batting next to Bonds. Alomar was up there, without a doubt, so were Ryan Sandberg and Ozzie Smith…..but the 2 guys that ruled the 1970’s, and were both Hall of Famers were Joe Morgan in the NL and Rod Carew in the AL.

      1. Corkywk

        Yep, no doubt, comparing players from different eras is a fools game. Even comparing those from the ‘same era’ is difficult because it relies on personal opinions and everybody has their own. So your solution of whomever was your personal childhood favorite is as good as any Dean. Otherwise, we’d be here arguing till the cows come home. Or until the sun comes up. Or until Pete Rose makes it to the Hall of fame.

      2. Gary Trujillo Post author

        If any of the 2017 Asterisks get in then I will have major issues with keeping Pete out. They already let a few “juicers” trickle in. What are the ethical standards? I don’t even think they know.

      3. Corkywk

        Yeah Gary I here you! I guess the old adage “cheaters never prosper” doesn’t apply in Baseball. Does seem to be the sign of the times though. The world is full of successful cheaters — so why not baseball I guess. Sad when you think about it though. Sad indeed.

  3. cheaphill44

    Good post, Gary. Joe drew a lot of walks and had a high OBP. Good player and, by all accounts, a good guy. One of my favorite baseball cards is the Joe Morgan/Sonny Jackson rookie card (1965). Jackson was a flash in the pan in 1966, but Joe turned out to be the real deal.

  4. dustyg56

    Thanks for a nice tribute to Joe Morgan. I saw him play back in the late 60s, when I was a kid following the Astros. He and Jimmy Wynn, “The Toy Cannon,” were two of my favorites back in the day.

  5. Michael Schoenherr

    when I was a kid I was told by my school counselor to write down on a piece of paper what I wanted to be when I grew up and carry it in my wallet and look at it every day. I wrote down “take over for Joe Morgan at 2nd base for the Reds when he retires”. Man he was something to watch, and I enjoyed him with Jon Miller doing color for the evil 4 letter. End of an era

  6. smallballsuccess.com

    For some reason, I’ve never forgotten Joe’s insistence in his autobiography that a certain Houston coach (Dixie Walker?) was a racist for having Bob Watson use all fields instead of try to blast homers. I was really studying the subject at the time, and I’d found umpteen cases of guys like George Altman who were ruined by being told the opposite. I felt like screaming, “Joe! Watson became a terrific hitter—and you should know that no one won home run crowns in the Astrodome!” But Joe, I think, had that side to him: he’d seen so much real racism that he’d developed kind of a hair trigger in the matter. A fiercely competitive human being would likely give you that kind of reaction.


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