Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan passed away on Sunday at the age of 77 at his home in California. The news prompted an outpouring of condolences from around the country, including Henderson, Nevada. The Las Vegas Raiders released a statement on Monday in honor of Morgan.
"The Raiders mourn the loss of baseball legend Joe Morgan, who was a cherished member of the Raiders Family," the team said in a statement. "'Little Joe' was a giant on and off the field. Raised in Oakland, his accomplishments on the diamond were many, but he also had a remarkable passion for football and was a longtime friend of the Davis family. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with his wife Theresa, his twin daughters Kelly and Ashley, as well as the rest of the Morgan family."
Morgan was a longtime friend of late Raiders owner Al Davis, who died on Oct. 8, 2011. The late baseball star even attended the first game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that followed Davis' death and joined Rappers Ice Cube and MC Hammer as the non-football celebrity guests. They watched Hall of Fame coach John Madden light the Al Davis Memorial Torch and then joined roughly three-dozen former Raiders in order to celebrate Davis' life.
Originally a member of the Houston Colt .45s/Astros, Morgan began his professional baseball career in 1963. He remained with the franchise until 1971. However, the Astros traded Morgan to the Cincinnati Reds in November 1971. Joining the Ohio-based franchise is what kickstarted Morgan's time as a Major League star.
During his tenure with the Reds, Morgan made the All-Star team every single season from 1972-1979. He also helped the team win back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. He was named NL MVP during both of the championship seasons. Morgan also posted impressive numbers as a batter during the two years, accruing 17 home runs and 94 RBIs in 1975. In 1976, he posted a .320 batting average with 30 doubles, five triples 27 home runs and 111 runs driven in.
"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."
Morgan finished his Hall of Fame career with a return trip to the Astros, as well as stops in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Oakland. He retired from professional baseball after 1984 and joined ESPN. He worked as a lead baseball analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball from 1989-2010. Morgan left ESPN after 2010 and returned to the Reds as an advisor to president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty and CEO Bob Castellini.