Tag: Cincinnati Reds

RIP, Joe Morgan

 

This year has been a terrible year in many ways for just about everybody. It’s been no exception for baseball fans. This year had so far seen the loss of five Hall of Famers; Al Kaline, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, and Whitey Ford. This Sunday, a sixth has been added to that list, Joe Morgan. Morgan passed away at his California home on Sunday at the age of 77 due to non-specified polyneuropathy.

Joe Leonard Morgan was born on September 19, 1943, in Bonham, TX, the youngest of six children. He moved to Oakland, CA with his family at five when his father found work with the Pacific Tire & Rubber Company. As a boy, Joe played baseball, basketball and ran track. His best sport was baseball, but he was not considered a major league prospect in high school because of his lack of size (he is listed at 5′-7″, 160 lbs during his playing career) and he was, at best, the second-best player on his team behind Rudy May who was highly sought after in high school and would have a fine major league career as a pitcher. He played baseball at a local junior college where he did attract the attention of the scouts and he signed a contract with the Houston Astros for all of $500 per month plus a $3,000 signing bonus. He worked his way through the expansion Astros minor league system rapidly, getting cups of coffee in the bigs in 1963 and 64 becoming the Astros starting second baseman in 1965 at age 21.

With the Astros, “Little Joe” quickly blossomed into a fine player. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1965 and made two All-Star teams while in Houston. However, the combination of the dismal performance of the team (they were always in the second division) and playing his home games in an awful hitter’s park (The Astrodome) helped to hide his light behind a bushel. A blockbuster trade between the Cincinnati Reds and the Astros in the winter of 1971 would change that. The Astros sent Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, Denis Menke, Jack Billingham, and Ed Armbrister to the Reds in exchange for slugging 1B Lee May, fellow 2B Tommy Helms, and Jimmy Stewart. Morgan was initially upset with the trade. He’d made a home in Houston, and he and his wife were expecting their second child. However, the trade would kick his career into overdrive. Over the next six seasons, he was probably the best player in baseball. And, playing for manager Sparky Anderson and teaming with all-time greats Johnny Bench and Pete Rose in one of the best eight-man lineups in history, the Reds would average 98 wins per season and win back-to-back World Championships in 1975-76.

“Woke” Without Waking Up to History … and Real Life

 

Four days ago on the website of the SyFy Channel, film critic, screenwriter, and comic book author Marc Bernardin wrote about the 2018 slate of pictures to be released.

If 2017 was the tip of the representational spear, then 2018 will be the long shaft that follows. This year will deliver Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Time, Ocean’s 8, and Crazy Rich Asians — studio movies catering to historically underserved audiences, many of which are written and directed by members of those same audiences.

In other words, 2018 is the year that white dudes will be confronted with inescapable media that isn’t about them.

It’s Why You Watch

 

When there’s 162 baseball games a year, why do you watch every one of them? When your team has lost 192 games in the last two years, why do you watch every single game the next season? When your wife isn’t a fan, why do you sit and watch the game with the dog?

Because you never know when someone will do something you or any other living soul has never seen before.

This story begins 22 years ago in southern Ohio. A young boy named Ryan gets in the car and refuses to put on his seatbelt. Mom takes him to a nearby police station. Scared that he’s going to be arrested, when an officer asks him his name he blurts out the name of his favorite Muppet Baby. And he never wants to be called Ryan again just in case the cops are looking for him.