Joe Morgan: A Life in Baseball

Overview

Back-to-back Most Valuable Player and World Series winner Joe Morgan entered the Hall of Fame in 1990 on the first ballot, a "good little player" who achieved greatness by hard work, dedication, and baseball intelligence. In this entertaining book, be tells the story of his extraordinary life in baseball and offers provocative insights into the game's past, present, and future. The box score? The most complete player of his time has given us the complete baseball book, from the grit of the infield dirt on his ...
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Overview

Back-to-back Most Valuable Player and World Series winner Joe Morgan entered the Hall of Fame in 1990 on the first ballot, a "good little player" who achieved greatness by hard work, dedication, and baseball intelligence. In this entertaining book, be tells the story of his extraordinary life in baseball and offers provocative insights into the game's past, present, and future. The box score? The most complete player of his time has given us the complete baseball book, from the grit of the infield dirt on his spikes as he turned a double play against a charging Frank Robinson to no-holds-barred banter in the locker room with Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and Pete Rose, from the frustration of seeing good teams destroyed by racism and incompetence to the triumph of winning it all with the most talented, and the smartest, team in baseball, Cincinnati's Big Red Machine. In vivid anecdotes, Joe Morgan recounts starting out in the minor leagues in the still-segregated South, the only black player on the Durham Bulls; earning a trip to the majors with the expansion Colt 45s (soon to become the Houston Astros), a rag tag collection of over-the-hill veterans and inexperienced youngsters with its own band of outlaws, "The Dalton Gang"; honing his game with the help of all-time-great Nellie Fox; competing against the likes of Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Reggie Jackson, Willie McCovey, and Willie Stargell; winning back to back MVP awards and World Series; dramatic seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland A's; and being welcomed into the Hall of Fame by his childhood idol, Ted Williams. At the heart of the book is the tale of how four big, combative egos - Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Pete Rose, and Morgan himself - learned to win together under Sparky Anderson's leadership, transforming the Cincinnati Reds into the Big Red Machine, the most successful team of the 1970s. Joe Morgan shows us how the Reds dominated games with
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A leader of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine of the 1970s, twice named the National League's Most Valuable Player and recently elected to the Hall of Fame, second baseman Morgan is one of the outstanding players of the last half-century. Raised in a middle-class family in Texas and California, he began his career with the Houston Astros in 1965, played for the Reds from 1972 to 1979 and ended his playing days with stints in other cities. Although Morgan was admired as a team player and enjoyed the respect and affection of his colleagues, his memoirs, written with Falkner ( LT ), are not pollyanna-ish. Morgan is very specific about the people he didn't like and is outspoken about racism, which he believes pervades the sport. The resulting book is among the most candid and interesting of its genre. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
A good sports autobiography usually features a prominent subject who is a former member of at least one successful team, along with the subject's interesting, enlightening, or humorous recollections. This work fulfills the above criteria and, in addition, is the first adult work on Morgan. Morgan, twice winner of the Most Valuable Player Award while playing second base for the Cincinnati Reds, made four World Series appearances and competed in numerous playoff and pennant races with four other teams over a 20-year career. Falkner is the author or coauthor of a number of well-regarded sports books, including biographies of Billy Martin ( The Last Yankee , S. & S., 1992), Sadaharu Oh ( Sadaharu Oh: A Zen Way of Baseball , LJ 6/1/84), and Lawrence Taylor ( LT: Living on the Edge , Times Bks., 1987). Here, the authors offer a lively book that not only recounts Morgan's career and life but also addresses the major problems currently facing professional baseball: economics, racism, drugs, and the overall quality of the game. Recommended for most sports collections.-- John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, N.J.
Kirkus Reviews
Acutely intelligent baseball memoir by retired second-baseman Morgan, now a commentator for ESPN, and freelance baseball writer Falkner (The Short Season, 1986). Although a pipsqueak by baseball standards, at 5'7" Morgan still towered at the plate and on the field: two consecutive MVPs, 2518 career hits, a Hall-of-Famer during his first year of eligibility. He spearheaded Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, one of the greatest teams ever assembled, playing alongside Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and Tony Perez. Morgan covers all the anticipated highlights—meteoric rise through the minors; early seasons with the hapless Colt 45s; the great years with the Reds, including the legendary 1975 World Series against Boston (in which five games were each decided by one run); the gentle decline. Morgan enthuses about his fellow players with opinions both delightful and curious (picking Mays rather than Ruth as "the greatest player who ever lived"; calling Pete Rose "smart as a fox"). His anecdotes sparkle, and often display an admirable humility, as in his first at-bat against legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax: "It was one of those defining moments when one part of my life seemed to slip away while another suddenly settled into place: that is, until Koufax threw his first pitch. I never saw it. I literally heard it go by me." But for all this gravy, the meat lies in Morgan's astute analysis of baseball's current woes. One is racism, and Morgan (who is black) talks sharply about bias in the game before urging, as one possible solution, black ownership of teams. Another is the level of play, which Morgan believes has slipped badly in the last 20 years. He calls for more tutoring of rookies byvets, and for the creation of a new executive position, a "roving ambassador" who will mend rifts between players, management, and the commissioner's office. Morgan doesn't say it, but there's little doubt that he's the man for the job. A winner all the way. (Photographs)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393332742
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1993
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.67 (d)

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