Saturday, May 14, 2016

1976 ASG +40: Joe Morgan 1976 Topps #420

This weekend the Phillies open a nine game homestand with a three game set against the Reds. Forty years ago when the All-Star game was held in Philadelphia the Reds sent an entourage of seven players plus manager Sparky Anderson.

1976 Topps #420 Joe Morgan AS

Among the seven was the teams entire infield including future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. At the time of the 76 All-Star game Morgan may have been at the height of his 22 year career. He was in the middle of his 2nd consecutive MVP season. The Reds won the World Series during both of Morgan's MVP campaigns. The only folks that separated Joe Morgan from winning both of those MVP awards unanimously were his Reds teammates (Pete Rose 2 Votes in 1976 & George Foster 5, 1976).

And from an advanced stats perspective, the Voters were correct, Joe Morgan was a monster. 1976 was the 5th of  six consecutive seasons in which the second baseman would lead the league in Offensive WAR. Four of those years he would lead all Position Players in WAR, during both MVP years he led all players in WAR.

1976 All-Star Game
Morgan started the game along with the rest of the Reds Infield, He went 1 for 3 including a single off of HoF Pitcher Cafish Hunter in the 3rd. Later in the inning he would score on a Home Run by teammate George Foster.

The 1976 All-Star Game was the 7th of 10 trips to the Mid-Summer Classic including 1972 when he was the Games MVP. Morgan started and played all nine innings of that game, He only picked up one hit, but it was an important one. With one out and Nate Colbert at second base Morgan punched a single off of Dave McNally to drive in the game winning run.

1976 Topps #420 Joe Morgan AS (b-side)

Just posting the b-side so you can see Morgan's 1975 MVP Stat line.

For more on this card and a lot of info on his playing career plus a couple of videos check out Project Baseball 1976.

Sources and Links
1976 ASG 40th Anniversary Index
Joe Morgan HoF Index
Project Baseball 1976

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2008 World Champions