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Hall of Famer and Big Red Machine Star Joe Morgan Dies at 77


Hall of Famer and Reds legend Joe Morgan has died at the age of 77, the team confirmed on Monday.

A family spokesperson told the Associated Press that Morgan died at his home in Danville, Calif., on Sunday. He suffered from a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy.

"Major League Baseball is deeply saddened by Joe Morgan, one of the best five-tool players our game has ever known and a symbol of all-around excellence," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "Joe often reminded baseball fans that the player smallest in stature on the field could be the most impactful."

Manfred added: "I extend my deepest sympathy to Joe's wife Teresa, his family, his many friends across our sport, the fans of Cincinnati and everywhere his 22-year career, and all those who admired perhaps the finest second baseman who ever lived."

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During his 22-year career, Morgan spent his first 10 seasons in Houston before heading to Cincinnati in 1972. He became a member of the "Big Red Machine," which is widely recognized as one of the best teams in baseball history. The squad, which also featured Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez, dominated in the '70s. From 1972 to '79, Morgan helped the Reds win five National League West division titles, three NL pennants and two World Series championships.

In Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, Morgan's two-out, ninth-inning tie-breaking single drove in Ken Griffey to win the title for the Reds. Cincinnati would go on to sweep the Yankees in four games the following year to claim back-to-back championships.

After leaving Cincinnati, Morgan played for the Giants, Phillies and A's before retiring in 1984. He finished his incredible career batting .271 with 1,133 RBIs and 268 home runs.

Considered one of the all-time greatest second basemen, Morgan won five Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger award and was a 10-time All-Star. He also won back-to-back NL MVP awards in 1975 and 1976. Morgan was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1990.

He went on to enjoy a broadcasting career for the Reds, Giants, NBC and most notably ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Morgan teamed up with Jon Miller and Orel Hershiser to cover Sunday night games on TV, and he did additional work for ESPN radio. ESPN did not renew Morgan's contract in 2011 after he took on an advisory role with the Reds.