Morgan returns to Astros as free agent
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“I don’t know of any player,” said Astros general manager Tal Smith, “who is more intelligent, more competitive and more dedicated than Joe Morgan.”
Signed as an amateur free agent by the then-Houston Colt .45s in the fall of 1962, Morgan made his big league debut a year later and earned the job as the newly-minted Astros’ starting second baseman in 1965. He quickly demonstrated a combination of speed and power that made him an All-Star in 1966 – as well as plate discipline that would eventually result in a career on-base percentage of .392.
But seeking more power for their lineup following the 1971 season, the Astros traded Morgan to the Reds in a seven-player deal that brought slugging first baseman Lee May to Houston.
Morgan proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Reds, who won five National League titles, three NL pennants and two World Series crowns in Morgan’s eight seasons in Cincinnati. The two championships coincided with Morgan’s two MVP Awards in 1975 and 1976.
A 10-time All-Star, Morgan retired after 22 seasons with 1,865 walks, 689 stolen bases and 268 home runs. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum