Morgan, Palmer enter Hall of Fame together
They were the faces of two of the most consistent teams of the 1970s. And Cooperstown came calling for both on the same day.
Joe Morgan, the five-tool second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds’ championship teams of the 1970s, and Jim Palmer, an eight-time 20-game winner for the Baltimore Orioles, were each elected to the Hall of Fame on their first appearance on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot on Jan. 9, 1990.
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Morgan and Palmer became just the 20th and 21st players elected in their first year of BBWAA eligibility.
“There was a lot of doubt in my mind in terms of getting in the first year,” Palmer told the Associated Press after learning he was elected. “To get in the first year is really special.”
Palmer received 92.57 percent of the vote, at the time the second-highest total for a pitcher behind only Bob Feller’s 93.75 percent in 1962. The owner of 268 wins and three American League Cy Young Awards, Palmer helped the Orioles win three World Series title and six AL pennants.
“I know for a number of years I was considered the No. 1 pitcher here,” Palmer told the AP. “But I always felt the (other members of the Orioles’ rotation) were just as good as I was. That made life in an Orioles uniform a lot easier.”
Morgan won back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player Awards with the Reds in 1975-76, leading Cincinnati to the World Series title in both seasons. He received 81.7 percent of the BBWAA vote.
“To make it in on the first ballot is unbelievable,” Morgan told the Associated Press. “I think the thing I’m most proud of…all those numbers you see, the good ones, the in-between ones, were achieved with the team coming first and me coming second. I never stole a base without the team needing it.”
Morgan finished his career with 268 home runs, 689 stolen bases and 1,865 walks to go along with 10 All-Star Game selections and five Gold Glove Awards.
From 1970-79, either or both of the Orioles and Reds appeared in the postseason every year except for 1977 and 1978.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum