- This article is about the baseball player. For information on the baseball manager of the same name, see Joe Morgan (manager).
Joseph Leonard Morgan (born September 19, 1943 in Bonham, Texas) is a former Major League Baseball second baseman, considered by many as one of the greatest second basemen to have played the game. Morgan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990 with 81.76% of the ballot. Currently, he works as a color commentator for ESPN television and radio.
Template:MLB HoF Morgan was signed by the Houston Colt .45s as an amateur free agent in 1962. Early in his career, Morgan had trouble with his swing because he kept his back elbow down too low. Teammate Nellie Fox suggested to Joe that he should 'flap' his back arm like a chicken to keep his elbow up. He played with distinction with Houston until a multi-player trade brought him to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1972 season. After joining The Big Red Machine, Morgan's career reached a new level. This includes eight consecutive All-Star Game appearances (1972-1979) to go along with his 1966 and 1970 appearances with Houston.
Morgan, along with teammates Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Dave Concepción, led the Reds to consecutive championships in the World Series. Morgan was also the National League MVP in 1975 and 1976.
As a hitter, Morgan was extremely capable. While his lifetime average was only .271, he hit between .288 and .327 during his peak years with the Reds, and drew a great many walks throughout his career, resulting in a superb .392 on base percentage. He also hit 268 home runs and 545 doubles and triples, excellent power for a middle infielder of his era, and was considered the finest base stealer of his generation (689 steals at greater than 80% success rate). Besides his prowess behind the plate and on the bases, Morgan was an exceptional infielder winning the Gold Glove Award from 1972 to 1976. In his Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James named Joe Morgan the best second basemen in baseball history.
Morgan started his broadcasting career in 1985 for the Cincinnati Reds. On September 11, 1985, Morgan along with his television broadcasting partner Ron Wilson were on hand to call Pete Rose's record breaking 4,192 career hit. A year later, Morgan started a nine year stint as an announcer for the San Francisco Giants. Morgan added one more local gig when he joined the Oakland Athletics' broadcasting team for the 1995 season.
From 1988-1989, Morgan served as an announcer for ABC where he helped announce Monday Night Baseball games, the 1988 American League Championship Series with Gary Bender and Reggie Jackson, and served as a field reporter for the 1989 World Series. Morgan was on the field at San Francisco's Candlestick Park alongside Hall of Famer Willie Mays the moment the Loma Prieta earthquake hit at 5:04 p.m.
From 1994-2000, Morgan teamed with Bob Costas and Bob Uecker to call baseball games on NBC. During this period, Morgan helped call three World Series (1995, 1997, and 1999 respectively) and four All-Star Games (1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000). Morgan had spent a previous (1986-87) stint with NBC calling regional Game of the Week telecasts.
Currently, he broadcasts games for ESPN alongside Jon Miller. Besides teaming with Miller for Sunday Night Baseball telecasts, Morgan has also teamed with Miller for World Series broadcasts on ESPN Radio. Although Joe Morgan's partnership with Jon Miller began in 1990, it wasn't the first time that Morgan associated himself with ESPN. From 1985-1988 Morgan called college baseball games for ESPN.
Joe Morgan is one of the biggest opponents of Billy Beane and the "Moneyball", sabermetric style of building teams. Instead, Morgan is an advocate of "small-ball" tactics. Ironically, Morgan can be described as a perfect sabermetric player, as he drew frequent walks and had a remarkably high OBP. Noted Sabermetrician Bill James called Joe Morgan the best percentage player in history.
- Major League debut: September 21, 1963.
- Bats: Left-handed
- Throws: Right-handed
- Member of Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame (inducted in 1987)
- Morgan teamed with shortstop Dave Concepción a duo winner of four Gold Gloves, joining a select list of eight shortstop-second baseman combinations have won the honor in the same season while playing together (1974 to 1977).