Morgan’s voice makes history in Texas

Written by: Bill Francis

Longtime Texas Rangers public address announcer Chuck Morgan – recognized in the Lone Star State for his familiar “It’s baseball time in Texas!” prior to every home game – reached a consecutive game streak milestone during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

The historic accomplishment is now a permanent part of the Cooperstown baseball institution.

Morgan, the Cal Ripken Jr. of big league PA announcers, called his 3,000th straight regular season game on Sept. 26. He recently donated the microphone he used in 2020 to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“This was a brand new microphone. It was installed probably around February or March of this year for the new Globe Life Field,” Morgan said during an appearance on the Hall of Fame’s Virtual Voices of the Game on Nov. 17. “It’s the microphone that I used for the 30 Rangers regular season (home) games, multiple exhibition camp games that we had, and for all of the postseason games – the NLDS, the NLCS and the World Series – that Globe Life Field hosted. And this was the microphone that I used for my 3,000th consecutive game.

“John Blake, our executive vice president of communications, called me one day and said the Hall of Fame had requested the microphone. Being a baseball fan, for the Baseball Hall of Fame to want something like that is a great honor. I’m glad the Baseball Hall of Fame has that microphone.”

Morgan has worked as a big league PA announcer for 38 seasons, with 37 in three ballparks in Arlington: Arlington Stadium (1983-94), Globe Life Park in Arlington (1994-2001; 2003-19) and Globe Life Field (2020). He spent the 2002 season with the Kansas City Royals.

Replacing the donated 8.5 inch mic, an Electro-Voice RE20, was, ironically, left up to Morgan’s wife: Rangers executive Starr Gulledge.

“She’s the senior vice president of finance for the Texas Rangers so she’s the one you have to go to if you need to make a purchase,” said Morgan, the Rangers’ executive vice president of ballpark entertainment, promotions, and production. “She asked, ‘Why do you need a new microphone?’ I told her the old one is going to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Reluctantly she said, ‘Okay, we’ll get the money for a new one.’”

Morgan’s first major league game and consecutive game streak began on April 4, 1983, when he announced the starting lineups in the Rangers’ home opener against the White Sox at Arlington Stadium. He has not missed a game since.

“The thing about not missing any games is that I had a choice when one of my good friends and one of our great players, Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017,” Morgan remembered. “The day Pudge was being inducted we had a ballgame where we had another player who I think has punched his ticket for the Hall of Fame, Adrían Beltré, who was going for his 3,000th hit. I told all of our employees that were going to the Pudge induction that they were going to miss Adrian Beltre’s 3,000th hit. And sure enough it happened on that date.”

Besides the 2020 regular game slate for the Rangers, Morgan also did the PA for the NLDS, NLCS and World Series, all of which were played at Globe Life Field. The first-ever neutral site World Series was also the first Fall Classic to be staged at one ballpark since 1944 – when the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Browns in six games, with the entire series played at Sportsman's Park.

“Working the World Series was a lot of fun. First, Major League Baseball selects our ballpark to be the host for these games, so that was a big honor. Secondly, you want to do your best to take care of the World Series because it’s so important,” he said. “It’s player memories and it’s fan memories, so you want to do a good job for baseball and your franchise.

“To be honest, I hope we don’t ever have to do that again but not because I didn’t like it or find it interesting. I would just like everything to get back to normal and I think the home fans need to experience that in their ballpark. When we were told that we were going to be having the World Series in our park, I said, ‘Okay, we’re going to do the best we can and we’re going to make these teams feel as much at home as possible.’”

Named by the Sporting News as the best public address announcer in MLB in 2001 and 2003, Morgan began professionally as the PA announcer for the minor league Nashville Sounds from 1978 to 1980.

During his time in “Music City” he was also a radio and television host, an announcer for the Grand Ole Opry and appeared numerous times on TV’s “Hee Haw.”

While official records don’t exist, it is widely assumed that Morgan owns the longest consecutive games streak among current MLB public address announcers. Holding the all-time mark arguably belongs to former Chicago Cubs PA announcer Pat Pieper, who worked every home game at Wrigley Field from 1924 until his death in 1974.

Morgan didn’t hesitate when asked for his favorite moment during his time in baseball – the Rangers capturing their first American League pennant in 2010.

“To invest so much emotion and passion into a franchise and they win an American League pennant for the first time, it doesn’t get any better than that. That’s the ultimate thing,” Morgan said. “To see Neftalí Feliz strike out the Yankees’ Álex Rodríguez to win a pennant (in Game 6 of the ALCS), that’s my biggest moment.”

Surely another highlight of Morgan’s career is now having an artifact preserved forever in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“I’ve been following the National Baseball Hall of Fame ever since I knew anything about baseball. I can remember as a kid when Jackie Robinson was inducted (in 1962). That may be my first knowledge of the Baseball Hall of Fame at a young age,” Morgan said. “Every year since, I’ve been a follower of the Hall of Fame. I was there in 1994. Just a great place.

“My life was always baseball, so to have something like my microphone in the National Baseball Hall of Fame … I really don’t have words to describe it. It is such a huge honor. I’m very proud of that.”

Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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