Reds legendary second basemen Joe Morgan passes away at 77

Reds legendary second basemen Joe Morgan passes away at 77
Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan walks onto the field during ceremonies honoring the starting eight of the 1975-76 World Series-champion Cincinnati Reds following a baseball game between the Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, in Cincinnati. (Source: AP Photo/Al Behrman)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Reds second baseman Joe Morgan has passed away at 77.

His 22 year MLB career began in 1963 with the Houston Astros.

By the time Morgan hung up his spikes, he was commonly referred to as the greatest second baseman in baseball.

In 1972, Morgan joined the Reds and was a vital part of the Big Red Machine.

Morgan was a member of the 1975 and 1976 World Series team and was the National League MVP both of those years.

He finished his career with a .271 batting average, 1,133 RBI, 2,517 hits, and 689 stolen bases.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.

Morgan remained a part of baseball well after his playing career came to an end.

For 20 seasons, Morgan served alongside Jon Miller in the broadcast booth of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”

His family tells the Associated Press he passed away on Sunday in his California home.

Morgan was suffering from a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy, his family says.

The Reds organization issued a statement early Monday on the death of the two time NL MVP:

"The Cincinnati Reds offer condolences to the family, friends and teammates of Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, and share in the loss of this beloved member of the organization. A special advisor to Reds CEO Bob Castellini and the club’s baseball operations department since 2010, Morgan died last night at age 77.

"The Reds family is heartbroken. Joe was a giant in the game and was adored by the fans in this city,” Castellini said. “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.”

“A 10-time All-Star and 5-time Gold Glove second baseman, Morgan was elected to the Reds Hall of Fame in 1987 and to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. The 2-time National League MVP played for the Reds from 1972-79, during the glory days of the Big Red Machine.”

“Morgan won his first Most Valuable Player award in 1975 when he guided the Reds to a World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox, and he was MVP again in 1976 as the Reds swept the Yankees for their second straight World Series championship. Morgan remains the Reds' all-time stolen base leader (406), and he finished his 22-year professional career with 268 homers, 1,133 RBI and 689 stolen bases for the Astros, Reds, Giants, Phillies and Athletics.”

Morgan’s teammate during the Big Red Machine, Pete Rose, talked with FOX19 Now Sports Director Joe Danneman on Monday to discuss the bond the two of them had.

Rose said Morgan was “the best,” and “was one of the best friends I ever had.”

Pete Rose reflects on memories, friendship with Joe Morgan

Johnny Bench, a longtime teammate of Morgan’s, marveled at his accomplishments on the diamond but had more praise for his actions off the field.

“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 ever known. 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.”

Gov. Mike DeWine also offered his condolences to the Morgan family on Monday following the news:

“Fran and I, along with our children, extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Joe Morgan -- the greatest second baseman of all time, a great base runner and hitter, and a gracious and genuinely nice person. He was a player who mastered every detail of the game. We saw him play many times with our older children -- Pat, Jill, Becky, and John. It was a thrill to watch him! To Brian, Alice, Mark, and Anna, he was the voice of Sunday night baseball, when later he was an announcer. He had a unique ability to explain what was happening on the field to the average fan. He was a master at explaining the “why” of baseball. In both business and charity, even after his playing days were over, he continued to be involved in the Cincinnati-area community.”

In 2012, the Hall of Fame second baseman sat down with FOX19 NOW’s Tricia Macke at his car dealership in Monroe, Ohio.

From his famous elbow wag at the plate to his post-playing career, Morgan talked about all aspects of his life.

Tricia Macke interviews Joe Morgan (2012)

The Reds suffered another loss this year when Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver died on Aug. 31 at the age of 75.

Seaver passed peacefully in his sleep from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19, the release from the National Baseball Hall of Fame stated.

He spent six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds from 1978-82, pitching the first no-hitter at Riverfront Stadium in a 4-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1978, according to the Reds Hall of Fame.

Seaver was a two-time NL All-Star with the Reds.

He was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Reds Hall of Fame in 2006.

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