Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, a 10-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion with the Big Red Machine, passed on at his home in Danville, California. He was aged 77, NBC News reported.
Morgan passed on from a nerve condition, a non-specified polyneuropathy, in a statement released by his family. He had struggled with numerous health challenges in recent years, including the nerve condition, which eventually got the better of him.
He played eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds from 1972-79, and every year, within those years, he made it to the All-Star team. In 1975 and 1976, he was awarded the National League Most Valuable Player. For his excellent defense at second base, he was awarded five Gold Gloves. He was also a member of the “Great Eight.”
“Joe wasn’t just the best second baseman in baseball history; he was the best player I ever saw and one of the best people I’ve known,” Johnny Bench, a former Cincinnati Reds great and fellow national Baseball Hall of Famer, said. “He was a dedicated father and husband, and a day won’t go by that I won’t think about his wisdom and friendship. He left the world a better, fairer, and more equal place than he found it, and inspired millions along the way.”
Morgan was nicknamed “Little Joe” in the course of his career, being a diminutive 5-foot-7, 160 pounds in his playing days. He was officially inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990, ESPN wrote.
He is considered by many as unarguably the best second baseman of all time. He held records such as 268 home runs and a total name of 2,649 games played at the end of his illustrious 22-year career. He had a signature – flapping his left arm while waiting for pitches in the batter’s box. He recorded 2,517 hits and 689 stolen bases. He holds the Reds’ record for the highest number of steals – 406.
Morgan was instrumental to Cincinnati’s first World Series title in 35 years. He made the game-winning run in Game 5 of the 1975 World Series against Boston, scoring Ken Griffey Sr. on a single to center in the top of the ninth inning.
Morgan wore the iconic number 8 and contributed to setting up the Big Red Machine, tagged the best team in baseball history.
Then came his long career as a broadcaster when he retired from playing baseball. His distinct voice became well-known among another generation of baseball fans. He was the color commentator, together with Jon Miller, for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball for 21 years. He also kept a national broadcast role with NBC, ABC, and CBS.
He was the Reds TV broadcaster in 1985, alongside Ken Wilson, and also a broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants for nine years. He also held a role in Oakland A’s for one season.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Theresa, their twin daughters Kelly and Ashley, and his daughters Lisa and Angela from his previous marriage to Gloria Morgan.