Joe Morgan (manager)

Joseph Michael Morgan (born November 19, 1930)[1] is an American retired infielder, manager, coach and scout in Major League Baseball.

Joe Morgan
Third baseman / Second baseman / Outfielder
Born: (1930-11-19) November 19, 1930
Walpole, Massachusetts
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 14, 1959, for the Milwaukee Braves
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 1964, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average.193
Home runs2
As player

As coach

As manager

Career highlights and awards
  • International League Manager of the Year (1977)
  • Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame

Early life

A native and lifelong resident of Walpole, Massachusetts, Morgan graduated from Walpole High School and attended Boston College, where he played varsity hockey—he was a center who led the Eagles in points as a junior—as well as baseball.[2] Morgan was also elected as team captain for Boston College's baseball team during his junior year.[3] He signed his first professional baseball contract on June 20, 1952, with his then-hometown National League team, the Boston Braves.

Playing career

Morgan stood 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg) during his active career. When he made Major League Baseball at age 28 in 1959, after military service and a stint in the minor leagues, his parent team had become the Milwaukee Braves.[4]

A left-handed-hitting second baseman, third baseman and outfielder, Morgan batted over the .300 mark three times in the high minors between 1956 and 1959. He could not, however, crack the Braves' lineup, nor those of the Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. In parts of four Major League seasons, he appeared in 88 games, collected 36 hits, and batted .193.[5] His two MLB home runs came during his stint with the 1960 Indians within a two-week period, as he hit solo shots off Chuck Estrada August 30 and Ted Sadowski on September 10.[6] In the latter contest, Morgan's three hits and two runs scored helped the Indians to a 5–4 victory over the Washington Senators.[7]

In 13 seasons in the minor leagues, Morgan had 1,353 hits (with 117 home runs) and compiled a lifetime batting mark of .278. He was named Most Valuable Player of the Triple-A International League in 1964[8] after batting .290 with 16 home runs for the Jacksonville Suns.[9]

Managerial career

Pittsburgh Pirates' organization

In 1966, Morgan became a manager in the farm system of the Pittsburgh Pirates, rising in 1970 to Triple-A with the Columbus Jets of the International League.[10] In 1971, he moved with the Jets to Charleston, West Virginia, and became skipper of the Charleston Charlies.[11]

Morgan was called to the Major Leagues to serve as a Pittsburgh coach under Bill Virdon in 1972,[12] when the Pirates won the National League East Division title but fell in the 1972 NLCS to the Cincinnati Reds. Morgan then returned to the minors as the Pirates' Triple-A manager. In 1973, his Charlies won 85 games and the division title,[13] but lost in the International League playoffs to the Pawtucket Red Sox in five games.[14] Nevertheless, Morgan was selected Minor League Manager of the Year for 1973 by The Sporting News.[15]

Pawtucket Red Sox

Morgan joined the Boston Red Sox organization the following season. He led the PawSox—located 24 miles (38 km) from his Walpole hometown—for nine years (1974–82), the longest-tenured manager in the franchise's history. Morgan won 601 games, losing 658 (.477)[16] and was the Pawtucket skipper during its famous 33-inning game against Rochester in 1981, though he was ejected in the 22nd.[17] He won the International League Manager of the Year Award in 1977.[18]

Boston Red Sox

The parent Red Sox reassigned Morgan after the 1982 season, making him a scout for 1983–84 before he was finally invited to return to the Majors as Boston's first-base coach in 1985. He worked as the team's bullpen coach during the Red Sox' 1986 pennant-winning season, then replaced Rene Lachemann as Boston's third-base coach in 1987.[19]

In 1988, a Boston team was at one game over .500 under manager John McNamara, leading the ownership to fire him during the All-Star break. They named Morgan acting manager July 14 and began negotiations with high-profile candidates, such as Joe Torre and Lou Piniella, who were under contract to other organizations. The Red Sox won their first 12 games under Morgan – a period dubbed by the press as Morgan Magic – and the team named him as their permanent field boss.[20] The 1988 Red Sox won the AL East, but were swept by the Oakland Athletics in the American League Championship Series; two years later, the 1990 Sox repeated history, winning their division but bowing in four straight to the A's in the playoffs.

In 1991, Morgan guided a Boston team to a second-place finish in the AL East. The team had difficulties in June and July before maneuvering their way back in early September; as late as the 21st, they were just a half game behind Toronto in the East.[21] However, they lost 11 of their last 14 games and finished seven games behind Toronto. Although he had one year remaining on his contract, he was fired at season's end in favor of Butch Hobson. Under Hobson, the 1992 Red Sox finished last in the AL East.[22]

Morgan's final big league managerial totals: 301–262 (.535) over 3+12 years, all with the Red Sox.[23] His record as a minor league manager over 16 seasons (1966–71; 1973–82) was 1,140 victories and 1,102 defeats (.508)[24] with one league championship (with the York Pirates of the Double-A Eastern League in 1969).

Managerial record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
GamesWonLostWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
BOS1988 774631.5971st in AL East04.000Lost ALCS (OAK)
BOS1989 1628379.5123rd in AL East
BOS1990 1628874.5431st in AL East04.000Lost ALCS (OAK)
BOS1991 1628478.5193rd in AL East


Morgan was called "Walpole Joe," as well as "Turnpike Joe" in tribute to the offseason job he held for many years to supplement his minor league pay: driving a snowplow on the Massachusetts Turnpike.[25] The nicknames also served to prevent any confusion with Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan. His phrases became part of New England folklore, such as "I'm the skipper of this nine!", and "Roger spun another beauty", describing one of the outings by his star pitcher, Roger Clemens.[26]

In 2006, he was named to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame[27] and the Walpole High School Hockey Hall of Fame. Morgan was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame in 2008.[28] On July 30, 2013, the Red Sox honored him with "Joe Morgan Night" at Fenway Park, with Clemens among the former players participating in the festivities.[29]


  1. Costello, Rory. "Joe Morgan ("Walpole Joe")". SABR. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  2. Costello, Rory. "Joe Morgan ("Walpole Joe")". SABR. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  3. "Player Bio: Joe Morgan". Player Bio. Boston College. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  4. "Joe Morgan #1". MLB Advanced Media, LP. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  5. "Joe Morgan #1". MLB Advanced Media, LP. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  6. 1960 regular season batting log from Retrosheet
  7. 1960-09-10 box score from Retrosheet
  8. Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles (2007). Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (third ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America. p. 525. ISBN 978-1-932391-17-6.
  9. "Joe Morgan". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  10. "Columbus Jets 1970 team photograph". THE COLUMBUS METROPOLITAN LIBRARY. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  11. McGill, Chuck. "Charlies owner Levine dies at age 87". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  12. Elderkin, Phil (26 July 1988). "New manager Joe Morgan shows Midas touch with Red Sox so far". Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  13. "1973 International League". Sports Reference, LLc. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  14. Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles (2007). Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (third ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America. p. 561. ISBN 978-1-932391-17-6.
  15. "Curci voted coach of year in SEC". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 30 November 1973. p. 2D. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  16. "PawSox Hall Of Fame Induction of Mo Vaughn and Joe Morgan set for July 23". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  17. Barry, Dan (27 March 2011). "The Endless Game of a Lifetime, Recalled by a Baseball Lifer". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  18. "PawSox Hall Of Fame Induction of Mo Vaughn and Joe Morgan set for July 23". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  19. Pearson, Keith. "A magical night for Morgan". Gannett. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  20. Costello, Rory. "Joe Morgan ("Walpole Joe")". SABR. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  21. "Major League Scores, Standings, Box Scores for Saturday, September 21, 1991".
  22. "1992 AL Standings". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  23. "Joe Morgan Managerial Record". SportsReference, LLC. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  24. "Joe Morgan". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  25. Sonderegger, John. "IT SURE BEATS DRIVING A SNOWPLOW". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  26. Janczak, Joseph (2007). The Rocket: Baseball Legend Roger Clemens. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 149.
  27. "PawSox Hall Of Fame Induction of Mo Vaughn and Joe Morgan set for July 23". MILB. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  28. Day, Steve. "Former Red Sox manager to visit with fans in The Villages". Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  29. Boston Red Sox official web site
Sporting positions
Preceded by Columbus Jets manager
Succeeded by
Franchise relocated
Preceded by
Franchise established
Red Davis
Charleston Charlies manager
Succeeded by
Red Davis
Steve Demeter
Preceded by Pawtucket Red Sox manager
Succeeded by
Tony Torchia
Preceded by Boston Red Sox first-base coach
Succeeded by
Walt Hriniak
Preceded by
Tony Torchia
Boston Red Sox bullpen coach
Succeeded by
Rac Slider
Preceded by Boston Red Sox third-base coach
Succeeded by
Rac Slider
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