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Joe Morgan, Baseball Great And Broadcast Pioneer, Dies At 77

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In the 1970s, Cincinnati's baseball team was known as the Big Red Machine. Its engine was second baseman Joe Morgan. He led the Reds to world championships in 1975 and '76 and was named league MVP both seasons. He knocked in the winning run in game seven against the Red Sox in 1975.

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UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: There's a looper. It may drop. It's in for a hit. And the Reds have the lead 4-3, as Joe Morgan blooped a base hit into center field.

NOEL KING, HOST:

2020 has been cruel to fans of baseball. Joe Morgan is the sixth Hall of Famer to die this year. Morgan was known as Little Joe because he was a small guy. He was quick, which helped him excel at defense and base stealing.

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JOE MORGAN: I did not go out to be the best, but I wanted to be the most complete player in the game. And I think I reached that goal in, you know, '75, '76 - in that era.

KING: That was Joe Morgan on Fresh Air. In that interview in 1993, he also talked about being inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame a few years earlier.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

MORGAN: When you walk in and there are plaques with images of all the greatest players who've ever lived and then they show you the spot where yours is going - they're going to have a picture of Joe Morgan there - 100 years from now, whoever walks into the Hall of Fame will know that Joe Morgan was here. They may not know who I was or care, but they will know that I was somebody special because I played baseball.

MARTIN: Joe Morgan died on Sunday. He was 77 years old.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.