Jerry Tapp looks back on Joe Morgan’s amazing career

By JERRY TAPP

As a fan of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s and the Big Red Machine, Joe Morgan was one of my favorite players. He recently passed away at the age of 77. He was a Hall of Famer, a 10-time All-Star and two-time NL MVP. Here are a few stats you may not know about Morgan and his career.

•    Morgan won his two National League MVPs in back-to-back years, 1975 and 1976. He is one of 13 players to win back-to-back MVP awards. Other players to win back-to-back N.L. MVPs were: Ernie Banks, Mike Schmidt, Dale Murphy, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols. Those players who won back-to-back American League MVPs were: Jimmie Foxx, Hal Newhouser, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Frank Thomas and Miguel Cabrera.
•    Morgan played 21 of his 22 seasons in the majors in the National League. His lone season in the A.L. was his last season, 1984, with the Oakland A’s.
•    He is one of 42 players in MLB history to have nine or more seasons with an on-base percentage above .400. He did it nine times, including six straight years.
•    He hit 268 home runs in his career. Seven of them came off of Don Sutton, most off any pitcher in his career.
•    Morgan is one of only 18 players in MLB history to have 90 or more triples and 250 or more home runs in a career. (He had 96 triples and 268 home runs.) He is one of only 15 players in baseball history to have 400 or more career doubles, 90 or more career triples, and 250 or more career home runs. Of these 15 players, 13 are in the Hall of Fame… the two that are not: Steve Finley and Vada Pinson.
•    He played in 50 post-season games, but his career post-season batting average was a dismal .182.
•    Most remember Morgan as a member of the Big Red Machine. But he played the first 10 seasons of his 22-year career with the Houston Astros.
•    Morgan wore uniform #8 for his eight-year career with the Reds. But he also wore numbers 12, 35 and 18 in his career.
•    Morgan was the runner-up in the 1965 National League Rookie of the Year voting. The winner that year was Jim Lefebvre of the Dodgers. Lefebvre, also a second baseman, played eight seasons in the majors with the Dodgers.
•    Morgan made his major league debut two days after his 20th birthday in 1963.
•    He is one of only 13 players in MLB history to have 100 or more walks in eight or more seasons. Barry Bonds tops the list with 14 seasons with 100 or more walks.
•    Morgan’s minor league career was short; he played one season in Single A ball and only one season in Double AA. He did not play at the Triple AAA level.
•    He had 2,517 career hits, but never had a 200-hit season… in fact, he never had more than 170 hits in a season (most hits he had in a season was 167 in 1973). He had 1,133 career RBIs, but only had one season where he had 100 or more RBI… he had 111 RBI in 1976.
•    Morgan had 268 career home runs and 689 career stolen bases. The only other player to reach these numbers was Rickey Henderson; Henderson had 297 career home runs and 1,406 career stolen bases.
•    The most strikeouts Morgan had in a season was 77 in his rookie year of 1965. He had a 1,865 career walks and 1,015 career strikeouts. He is one of only 28 players in MLB history to have more than 1,100 career walks and less than 1,100 career strikeouts.
•    Morgan is one of 33 players in MLB history to have 2,500 hits, 1,500 runs scored, 1,000 RBI and 250 home runs.
•    Morgan seemed to be more productive before the All-Star Game than after; his career batting average before the ASG was .281… after the ASG was .260.
•    In games his team won, Morgan had a career batting average of .302. In games his team lost, his career batting average was .235.
•    Morgan is one of 120 players who had 800 or more career extra-base hits. He ranks 110th on the list with 813.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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