Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, widely considered the best second baseman in the history of the game, passed away Sunday at the age of 77. USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reported the news on Monday:
Joe Morgan died Sunday at his home in Danville, Calif., his family said in a statement, from non-specified polyneuropathy https://t.co/TkmqDdsvGU— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 12, 2020
Morgan is the sixth Hall of Famer to die during what has been an extremely sad year for the game of baseball. Tigers legend Al Kaline passed away in April, and five Hall of Famers — Tom Seaver, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, and Joe Morgan — have now passed within the last five weeks.
Morgan, who stood 5-foot-7 and around 160 pounds, overcame his lack of size to become one of the greatest players of his era — and in the history of baseball, for that matter. He made his biggest impact over eight seasons in a Reds uniform, but he also spent 10 seasons with the Astros, two with the Giants, and one each with the Phillies and A’s. He was a 10-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner, and a World Series champion with the “Big Red Machine” Reds clubs in 1975-76, winning the NL MVP award in both of those years. A .271/.392/.427 career hitter, he had legendary plate discipline, leading the NL four times and the majors twice in on-base percentage during an era where that skill wasn’t nearly as appreciated as it is today. He also had a surprising amount of pop for a player of his size, hitting 268 career homers and enjoying four seasons with at least 20 home runs. Morgan had a 100.5 career WAR as ranked by Baseball Reference, the 31st-best in the history of Major League Baseball.
Morgan was also transformative as a broadcaster. While he spent time on local broadcasts with the Reds, Giants, and A’s and worked nationally-televised games — including four World Series — for ABC and NBC, his most memorable TV job was as the color commentator on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball,” where he worked alongside play-by-play announcer and fellow Hall of Famer Jon Miller. While Morgan was at times polarizing as a broadcaster, especially once analytics began to play a bigger role in the sport, his chemistry with Miller was legendary and basically unmatched in national baseball broadcasting, as the duo worked together from the inception of SNB in 1990 until 2010.