The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) mourns the loss of Hall of Fame second baseman and JRF board member emeritus Joe Morgan. With an on-field career that spanned over two decades, Joe thrilled fans with his speed, dynamism and intelligent play, which earned him back-to-back MVP awards, as he helped lead the Cincinnati Reds to consecutive World Series titles in 1975 and ‘76.
Joe was commonly referred to as the ‘best percentage player in baseball’ history. He was a nine-time All-Star and earned five consecutive Golden Glove Awards before retiring with the Oakland A’s in 1984. The first second baseman to play 2,000 games, hit 200 homers and garner 2,000 hits, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990, the first year he was eligible.
Joe’s “second act” was in broadcasting, where he shared his passion for the game with millions of fans, as the lead MLB analyst for ESPN for 20 years, appearing with Jon Miller each week on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. He also wrote several books, including Joe Morgan: A Life in Baseball (1993) and Baseball for Dummies (1998, 1st ed.). He became a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame In 1994 and was elected vice chairman in 2000. In 2010, Joe returned to his Cincinnati Reds as special advisor to Reds CEO Bob Castellini and to the Red’s baseball operations department.
A cherished JRF board member for decades, Joe was a champion for JRF and looked for ways to increase the Foundation’s visibility. There was never a time when the Foundation called and he did not answer and oblige requests for support. He participated in countless Foundation events, notably presenting MLB Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig with the Robie Lifetime Achievement Award at a JRF fundraiser in 2010, and moderating a public conversation with Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Mariano Rivera at a JRF event celebrating Jackie Robinson’s birthday that same year. He was a generous and reliable benefactor who worked to ensure that the love baseball fans held for him flowed to JRF.
“We are so proud to have been a part of Joe Morgan’s journey,” said JRF President Della Britton. “The Foundation will cherish time spent with this dynamic champion who was part of the JRF family. We humbly extend our deepest condolences to Joe’s wife, Theresa, and four daughters.”