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Joe Morgan - Playing With Houston

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Morgan started the 1964 season with Houston's AA team in San Antonio where he was named the Texas League's Most Valuable Player with a .323 average, 90 runs batted in, 12 homers and 47 stolen bases. At the end of 1964 he played a few games with Houston. One of his hits helped knock the Philadelphia Phillies out of the pennant race. In the Phillies clubhouse after the game, manager Gene Mauch overturned a table full of food. "Mauch stood there, his face reddening," according to the Houston Chronicle's Mickey Herskowitz, "and screamed at his startled players: 'Have you no shame? You just got beat by a guy who looks like a Little Leaguer!'"

Chronology

1943 Born in Bonham Texas
1963 Plays with Modesto Reds and Durham Bulls
1964 Plays with San Antonio Bullets, named Most Valuable Player, Texas League
1964 Joins Houston Colt 45s
1971 Traded to Cincinnati Reds
1975-76 Named Most Valuable Player, National League
1975-76 Won World Series with Cincinatti
1980 Signs with Houston Astros as free agent
1981 Joins San Francisco Giants
1982 Joins Philadelphia Phillies
1983 Traded to Oakland As
1984 Retires as active baseball player
1984 Founds Joe Morgan Investments
1985 Does color commentary on ESPN's college baseball broadcasts
1986-90 Member of San Francisco Giants broadcast team
1988 Assaulted at Los Angeles International Airport by LA undercover police
1990 Elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame
1990-present Color commentator on ESPN baseball broadcasts
1993 LA City Council awards Morgan $796,000 in damages

Awards and Accomplishments

1964 Most Valuable Player, Texas League
1970, 1972-79 National League All-Star team
1973-77 Gold Glove, second baseman
1975-76 Most Valuable Player, National League
1990 Inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame
1990 CableAce Award
1997 Sports Emmy
1998 ASA Sportscaster of the Year
1999 ASA Sportscaster of the Year

Morgan skipped AAA ball completely and jumped directly to the Astros in 1965. The team had just moved to its new ballpark, the Astrodome, the first domed park in baseball and the first to use Astroturf instead of natural grass. Morgan realized that a player with his speed and hitting ability was the type most suited to playing in such a park with its vast spaces and fast artificial grass surface. After his good rookie year, batting .271 with 14 home runs, 40 RBIs and 20 stolen bases, the Sporting News named him their Rookie of the Year. But it was Morgan's bearing that impressed his teammates most. "To me he was never really a rookie," Jimmy Wynn, Morgan's roommate on the Astros recalled to Mickey Herskowitz of the Houston Chronicle. "The way he handled himself, his poise, his knowledge … he had the look of a veteran player." Morgan played with the Astros until 1971 when conflicts with Houston manager Harry Walker came to a head and he was traded. Morgan regretted leaving the Astros, but his real career was just beginning—with the Cincinnati Reds.

Joe Morgan - Chronology [next] [back] Joe Morgan - Growing Up

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