Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reds unveil statue honoring one of greatest second basemen of all-time

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan

On Saturday, the Reds unveiled a statue just outside Great American Ball Park made in the likeness of Hall of Fame second basemen Joe Morgan, thus honoring one of the best players to ever play for the franchise.

The statue depicts Morgan, who swiped 689 bases during his illustrious 22-year big league career, 406 of those coming in a Reds uniform, breaking out of his stance for a steal. 

Morgan was joined by the other seven members of the "Great Eight" (Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, Pete Rose, George Foster, Cesar Geronimo and Ken Griffey Sr.during the ceremony, along with thousands of fans, plenty of friends, and lots of family. In his speech, Morgan thanked his family, the Reds organization, and the fans of Cincinnati for supporting him throughout his immaculate career.

Although the entire weekend was created to celebrate Morgan's career, the 69-year-old was reluctant to make the festivities all about himself, but rather opted to direct some attention and credit toward his former Big Red Machine teammates, instead.

"I can't tell you how much of an honor it is to have these guys here with me," said Morgan. "I don't think a guy could have better teammates."

Morgan joined Bench as the second member of the Great Eight to receive a statue. However, Morgan was quick to say that he would like to see a permanent fixture made to honor the entire Big Red Machine team, which won back-to-back World Series title in 1975 and 1976.

"As everyone's telling you here -- and you can see -- we were a team. It's not Johnny Bench and the Big Red Machine. It's the Big Red Machine, and I would love to see something that says these guys were here together."

Morgan joined Bench, Ted Kluszewski, Ernie Lombardi, Joe Nuxhall and Frank Robinson as the only Reds greats honored with a statue at Crosley Terrace.

In his eight seasons with the Reds, Morgan collected 1,115 hits, connected on 152 homers, scored 816 runs and amassed 612 RBIs. He is the only Reds second baseman other than Brandon Phillips to drive in 100 runs or more in one season.

Morgan was selected to play in 10 All-Star Games and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1972 Midsummer Classic. He won five consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1973 to 1977 and took home National League MVP honors in '75 and '76.

In 1987, Morgan was inducted into the Reds Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1990, Morgan was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, garnering 81.8 percent of the vote in his very first year on the ballot.

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