CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A beloved member of the Big Red Machine and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan has died, according to the Associated Press. He was 77.
He died at his home Sunday in Danville, California, family spokesman James Davis said in statement Monday. Morgan was suffering from a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy.
He was the second baseman of the renowned team, who helped the franchise to two World Series Championships in 1975 and 1976. He was named the National League Most Valuable Player in each of those years. Morgan also was a 10-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner.
A 5-foot-7 dynamo known for flapping his left elbow at the plate, Little Joe could hit a home run, steal a base and disrupt any game with his daring.
Morgan’s tiebreaking single with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 7 in 1975 gave the Reds the crown in a classic matchup with Boston, and he spurred a four-game sweep of the Yankees the next season.
“He was just a good major league player when it didn’t mean anything,” former Reds and Tigers skipper Sparky Anderson once said. “But when it meant something, he was a Hall of Famer.”
"The Little General" had a 22-year MLB career that began in 1963 with the Houston Colt .45s but joined Cincinnati before the 1972 season as part of an eight-player trade.
Morgan left the Reds after the 1979 season and spent some time with the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland A’s.
With the Reds, Morgan played 1154 games and collected 1155 hits. He batted .288 with 152 HR and 612 RBI.
For his career, Morgan played in 2649 games and had 2517 hits, 268 HR and 1133 RBI to go along with 689 stolen bases.
Earlier in 2020 MLB.com ranked Morgan's 1976 season as the second-best all-time among major league second baseman.
Morgan was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. “Packed unusual power into his extraordinarily quick 150-lb. fireplug frame,” he was praised on his Hall of Fame plaque.
In his prime, Morgan helped to revolutionize the game with his quickness and many talents, especially once he hit the turf at Riverfront Stadium.
Health issues had slowed down Morgan in recent years. Knee surgery forced him to use a cane when he went onto the field at Great American Ball Park before the 2015 All-Star Game and he later needed a bone marrow transplant for an illness.
After he retired, he became a broadcaster for the Reds and ESPN.
It's the second time in less than a week that Major League Baseball has lost a legend. On Friday, the New York Yankees announced Whitey Ford died at age 91.
Some information courtesy Associated Press