Joe Morgan (manager)
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|Third baseman / Second baseman / Outfielder|
November 19, 1930 |
|Batted: Left||Threw: Right|
|April 14, 1959 for the Milwaukee Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1964 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
As a player:
As a manager:
|Career highlights and awards|
Morgan graduated from Walpole High School and attended Boston College, where he played varsity hockey — he was a high scoring center who led the Eagles in points as a junior — as well as baseball. Morgan was also elected as team captain for Boston College's baseball team during his junior year. He signed his first professional baseball contract with his then-hometown National League team, the Boston Braves.
When he finally made Major League Baseball in 1959, after military service and a long stint in the minor leagues, the team had become the Milwaukee Braves. Morgan, a left-handed-hitting second baseman, third baseman and outfielder, put up several strong seasons at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. But he could not crack the Braves' lineup, nor those of the Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. In parts of four major league seasons, he appeared in just 88 games and batted only .193.
In 1966, Morgan became a manager in the farm system of the Pittsburgh Pirates, rising in 1970 to Triple-A with the Columbus Jets of the International League. In 1971, he moved with the Jets to Charleston, West Virginia, and became skipper of the Charleston Charlies.
Morgan was called to the Major Leagues to serve as a Pittsburgh coach under Bill Virdon in 1972, when the Pirates won the National League East Division title but fell in the 1972 NLCS to the Cincinnati Reds. Morgan then returned to the minors as the Pirates' Triple-A manager. In 1973, his Charlies won 85 games and the division title, but lost in the International League playoffs to the Pawtucket Red Sox in five games. Nevertheless, Morgan was selected Minor League Manager of the Year for 1973 by The Sporting News.
Pawtucket Red Sox
Morgan switched to Pawtucket, and joined the Boston Red Sox organization, the following season. He led the PawSox—located 24 miles (38 km) from his Walpole hometown—for nine years (1974–82), the longest-tenured manager in the franchise's history. Morgan won 601 games, losing 658 (.477) and was the Pawtucket skipper during its famous 33-inning game against Rochester in 1981, though he was ejected in the 22nd. He won the International League Manager of the Year award in 1977.
Boston Red Sox
The parent Red Sox reassigned Morgan after the 1982 season, making him a scout for 1983–84 before he was finally invited to return to the Majors as Boston's first-base coach in 1985. He worked as the team's bullpen coach during the Red Sox' 1986 pennant-winning season, then replaced Rene Lachemann as Boston's third-base coach in 1987.
In 1988, a talented Boston team was stumbling at .500 under manager John McNamara, leading the ownership to fire him during the All-Star break. They named Morgan acting manager and began negotiations with high profile candidates, such as Joe Torre and Lou Piniella, who were under contract to other organizations. The Red Sox promptly won their first 12 games under Morgan — a period dubbed by the press as Morgan Magic — and the team named him as their permanent field boss. The 1988 Red Sox won the AL East, but were swept by the Oakland Athletics in the American League Championship Series; two years later, the 1990 Sox repeated history, winning their division but bowing in four straight to the A's in the playoffs. Morgan holds the record for managing a team to eight straight post-season losses.
In 1991, Morgan guided a flawed Boston team to a distant second-place finish in the AL East. Although he had one year remaining on his contract, he was fired at season's end in favor of Butch Hobson. "This team just isn't that good," Morgan warned in his parting comments. He was right; under Hobson, the 1992 Red Sox finished last in the AL East.
Morgan's final major league managerial totals: 301–262 (.535) over 3½ years, all with the Red Sox. His record as a minor league manager over 16 seasons (1966–71; 1973–82) was 1,140 victories and 1,102 defeats (.508) with one league championship (in the Eastern League in 1968).
Despite the playoff setbacks, Morgan was a highly popular figure in Boston as a "native son," a former hockey player, and a blue-collar hero. He was called "Walpole Joe" and "Turnpike Joe" in tribute to the offseason job he held for many years to supplement his minor league pay: driving a snowplow on the Massachusetts Turnpike. (The nicknames also served to prevent confusion with Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan.) His phrases became part of New England folklore, such as "Roger spun another beauty" (describing one of many stellar outings by his star pitcher, Roger Clemens), “I manage this nine!” (asserting himself to a disgruntled Jim Rice) and "Six, two and even" (a catch phrase from the old Dick Tracy radio show) .
In 2006, he was named to the BoSox Hall of Fame and the Walpole High School Hockey Hall of Fame. Morgan was inducted into the International League hall of fame in 2008. On July 30, 2013, the Red Sox honored him with "Joe Morgan Night" at Fenway Park, with Clemens among the former players participating in the festivities.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
|Pawtucket Red Sox manager
|Boston Red Sox first-base coach
|Boston Red Sox bullpen coach
|Boston Red Sox third-base coach