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In case you were missing Joe Morgan …

Jan 25, 2011, 3:01 PM EDT

Joe Morgan headshot

Joe Morgan was interviewed on KJR in Seattle yesterday. When asked about what made the Big Red Machine special, he gave us a taste of exactly what we’ll be missing this summer when he is no longer on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball:

We did things, we gave up our own individuality to make the team better. You know I could have stolen a few more bases at times. I think Bench [Johnny] could of hit a few more home-runs, but there was a time for a single to right stuff like that and he did it. So I think we all gave up a little bit of ourselves to make the team better and I think that’s what made it such a great team because we all knew what we were supposed to do.

And really, sometimes you just don’t want your home run hitting catcher to hit home runs. They kill rallies, you know.  Better to have him single Rose in from second and then hit and run with Bench on first and Ken Griffey up to bat …

  1. Tapps - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Clearly moving Rose from first to third is better than a 2-run homer in that situation. If it weren’t for Bench unselfishly singling, we wouldn’t have had all those head-first slides into third…and seriously, how bad would have Dave Concepion felt if everyone was homering all the time while he only managed Texas-league doubles? It would have been anarchy in the clubhouse.

  2. phukyouk - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    “In case you were missing Joe Morgan …”

    i wasnt

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Who’s Joe Morgan?

  4. BC - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    I find it astonishing that someone so incompetent managed to hold down a job so long.
    Oops. I forgot about Tim McCarver.

    • phukyouk - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:23 PM

      WORSE! they were terrible.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:18 PM

      W held two terms.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    To be fair, I’m sure he means the guy shortened up his swing when a single was all that was necessary, instead of aiming for the fences and risking a strikeout or pop-up.

    I am as happy as anyone that I won’t have to listen to Joe on my Sunday evenings this summer, but this is probably not the quote to roast him over.

    • paperlions - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:55 PM

      I think it’s fine to roast him over quotes like this one because it falls squarely in the “shit Joe just made up” category, which is populated by 1000s of JM quotes similar to this one.
      One of my favorite lines was in a deadspin reference to JM, saying he was more than just “harmlessly estranged from the notion of fact”.

  6. Jonny 5 - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    The one thing I loved about Joe “the announcer”, His smile.. Not only is he the Cheshire cat while smiling, but he can’t speak while smiling either……

  7. AK47 - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    Hey, that’s one of the greatest HOFers of all-time you’re talking about…

  8. scatterbrian - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    So Johnny Bench, while possessing the ability to hit the ball over the fence, would eschew extra runs by hitting the ball to right field for a single….and this made the team better. According to Morgan, scoring fewer runs makes a team better. Dude really should see a doctor. His small-ball erection has lasted well beyond the maximum four hours.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      “small-ball erection” I’m definitely reusing that one.

    • thinman61 - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      Damn you and your sabermetric bias for scoring more runs.

  9. largebill - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    I know I’m kicking a hornets nest by attempting to defend Morgan or rather further explain his comments. Normally, I’d join in an mock him, but I kind of see where people are hearing something different than what he said. He is not saying Bench decided not to hit a home run because a single is better. I believe he is saying Bench was not always swinging for the fences. Sure, Bench would have gotten a couple more homers, but he also would have made many more outs. Likewise, Morgan drew lots of walks which helped his team but resulted in less hits (same with Tim Raines BTW). Thing is he was not trading hits for walks on a one for one basis. No, he was taking walks as opposed to swinging at a bad pitches which would have a lower percentage of success. Bench was not trading certain home runs for singles. If the pitcher is working the outer half of the plate it may make sense to hit to the opposite field for a single rather than trying to pull a pitch you can’t pull.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      Damn you and your objectivity.

    • scatterbrian - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      I fully understood what Morgan was saying, that certain players from his memory didn’t swing for the fences every time he stepped to the plate and in fact would hit the ball to right (or some version of this) when the situation deemed it necessary. I just don’t think it’s incredibly unique or insightful. I think most players are like this. Jack Cust, for example, has said in the past that he does try to hit home runs every time up. I think guys like Cust are much more rare than what Morgan is leading the reader to believe with these statements.

      • spudchukar - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:30 PM

        I wish you were right, but then I think Mark Reynolds and Carlos Pena.

  10. Lukehart80 - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    I would cut Joe some slack on this one. Maybe the guys on those teams really put the team ahead of themselves and maybe they didn’t, maybe the guys on those teams understood the most mathematically sound ways of creating runs and maybe they didn’t. They won a whole lot of games doing what they did and Morgan’s not trying to claim more of the credit for that than he deserves; if the man believes they won because to a man they were willing to sacrifice personal glory for the glory of the team, I say let him.

    • Tim's Neighbor - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:05 PM

      Yeah. And we can trust Morgan on this because he doesn’t have a habit of making stuff up.

      • Lukehart80 - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:42 PM

        No, I get that Morgan’s memory of specifics is not always to be trusted. Clearly there were times when Johnny Bench hit a single the opposite way to score a run; none of us can know if he shortened his swing to increase his chances of doing so at the cost of possibly hitting a home run (and we could debate the vale in such a strategic decision, were it the case).

        My point was mostly that while during the time Joe Morgan was being paid to give insights to the game as a nationally broadcast announcer, his (to our ears at least) inability to understand what helps a baseball team win was frustrating. But he’s done at ESPN and was giving an interview as more of a private citizen and he’s certainly not the only retired ballplayer to believe selflessness was a big part of his success.

        I feel like the time to flame Morgan for every statement we don’t agree with or find to be silly has passed. Enjoy the irony of Morgan not understanding just how great he was and let the man; let the man enjoy his version of things, it’s not hurting anyone else anymore.

  11. hep3 - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    So if Joe and the Machine were giving up their individuality for the team, I have always wondered why Morgan didn’t lead off with Rose hitting second. Let’s see, fast, basestealing, on-base machine hitting first and then a solid hitter batting mostly lefthanded with a big hole to shoot for on the right side.

    It is probably a nit pick, but maybe they might have scored even more runs with that combo at the top.

    Flame away.

    • scatterbrian - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:16 PM

      Damn, the Machine could have been bigger! And redder!

  12. bobwsc - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Reggie Jackson should’ve gone for three singles instead of homers in game 6 – would’ve been the team friendly thing to do. I’ll miss hearing Joe talk about himself and wish he sprinkled in more person references, a la Ricky Henderson.

  13. billybeaneismyhero - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Say what you will about Joe Morgan (and I’m sure we could all say quite a bit), without him, there never would’ve been a Fire Joe Morgan or those amazing Joe Chats. That site made his existence worthwhile.

  14. golfjackal - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Thank god the days of Joe are coming to an end. I’ll only miss the standup material that he provided each time he spoke.

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