Joe Morgan, Cincinnati Reds legendary second baseman who is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, died on Sunday. He was 77 years old. Morgan died at his home in California and was dealing with various health issues in recent years including a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy, according to ESPN.
"The Reds family is heartbroken. Joe was a giant in the game and was adored by the fans in this city," Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. "He had a lifelong loyalty and dedication to this organization that extended to our current team and front office staff. As a cornerstone on one of the greatest teams in baseball history, his contributions to this franchise will live forever. Our hearts ache for his Big Red Machine teammates."
The Reds are heartbroken to learn of the passing of baseball legend Joe Morgan. pic.twitter.com/zBoQ2gHZys— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) October 12, 2020
Morgan spent the majority of his career with the Red and the Houston Colt .45s/Astros. He made his Major League debut with the .45s in 1963 and remained with the franchise until 1971 (the team became the Astros in 1964). Houston traded Morgan to the Reds in November 1971, and that's when he became a star. Morgan made the All-Star team with the Reds from 1972-1979 and helped the team win back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. Morgan was a big reason the team won back-to-back titles as he was named NL MVP both seasons. In 1975, Morgan recorded a .327 batting average with 27 doubles, six triples, 17 home runs and 94 RBIs. He had better numbers in 1976, posting a .320 batting average with 30 doubles, five triples 27 home runs and 111 runs driven in.
Morgan returned to the Astros in 1980 as a free agent. He then played for the San Francisco Giants for two seasons before joining the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983. Morgan's final season was in 1984 with the Oakland Athletics. Younger baseball fans may know Morgan for his time at ESPN as he was the lead baseball analyst on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball from 1989-2010. After he left ESPN, Morgan became the Reds' senior advisor to president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty and CEO Bob Castellini. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990 and won two Sports Emmy Awards for his work at ESPN.