Al Kaline, Tom Seaver, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford….
and now Joe Morgan.
Morgan becomes the sixth Hall of Famer to pass away this year. He was 77 years old.
Morgan is ranked the 4th best second baseman of all time on Baseball-References’ JAWS comparison, and #1 among any second basemen whose career began after 1920 (the three listed above Morgan are Rogers Hornsby, Napoleon Lajoie and Eddie Collins).
Morgan played for the Colt .45/Astros 1963-1971 (very few games 1963 and 1964, missed almost all of 1968 with an injury), Reds 1972-1979, Astros again 1980, Giants 1981-1982, Phillies 1983 and A’s 1984.
A 10x All-Star, he was a 5x Gold Glove winner. 2x WS Champion, played in the postseason 7x, 4x in the WS.
He won back-to-back MVPs in 1975 and 1976—-the only second baseman to do so.
Runnerup for ROY in 1965.
He got MVP consideration 7x, and 5x (all in a row) he was top 10 for MVP.
1975, 1st .327-17-94, 67 SB; led MLB in walks, OBP, OPS, OPS+
1976, 1st. .320-27-111, 60 SB; Led MLB in OBP, SA, OPS, OPS+, SF
He led MLB in runs scored once, triples once. Led league in walks 4x (MLB 3x). 4x OBP (MLB 2x). SA led MLB 1x. Led MLB in OPS 2x. Led MLB in OPS+ 2x.
His 162 game average was .271-16-69, 42 SB, 114 walks, OPS+ 132 (32% above league average).
He had 268 HR, 689 SB in his career. Good pop for a little guy (5’7″).
In fifty postseason games, he hit .182-5-13, stole 15 bases. Had GW hit in Game 7 of the 1975 WS.
A first ballot Hall-of-Famer, with 81.8% (75% needed) in 1990.
After his playing days were over, was a long-time broadcaster/analyst for ESPN games.