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Little Joe Morgan WasThe Heartbeat of the Big Red Machine

The Cincinnati Reds were an excellent baseball team in the 1970s, but when they acquired Joe Morgan from Houston at the winter meetings in 1971, they added a legend who transformed them into champions. We remember Morgan, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 77. 
QUOTED ........................................................

“We fed off Joe. He was the spark that moved the lineup. He could run, he hit for power, and he was the smartest teammate I ever had.” 
— Johnny Bench

Is Clayton Kershaw the Worst Great Pitcher in Postseason History?

Maybe Kershaw will exorcize his playoff demons this October and lead the Dodgers to their first World Series title since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. Or maybe he's the worst pressure pitcher among the great pitchers of all-time?


When he was 18 years old, Ichiro Suzuki made his debut with the Orix Blue Wave in the Japan League, the top league in that country. He wasn’t a complete ballplayer by any means: he was fast and he had a pitcher’s arm, but he had flaws, (or so they said). His coaches hated his swing, teammates even laughed at it. They called it “The Pendulum” because of the dramatic way Suzuki threw the bat into the hitting zone and shifted his weight forward. In his third season the Blue Wave hired Akira Ōgi to manage the team and everything changed for Suzuki.

Ōgi didn’t give a damn what Suzuki’s swing looked like, he knew a great hitter when he saw one. He put Suzuki in the second spot in his lineup and played him every day. The Blue Wave stunk, and Ōgi needed a star, so he suggested that his 20-year old right fielder abandon the family name Suzuki and use “Ichiro” on the back of his uniform instead. It was a publicity stunt, to sell tickets. Ichiro wasn’t a gimmick, he was legit: he hit .385 and set a league record with 210 hits (in a 130-game season). It was the first of seven consecutive batting titles in Japan for Ichiro.

You know the rest: the Mariners won the right to negotiate with Ichiro when he became eligible to play in the U.S. He won the Rookie of the Year Award, the batting title, and the MVP in 2001, leading the M’s to a league record 116 wins. Three years later he won his second batting title in the U.S. and smashed George Sisler’s long-standing record for hits in a season with 262. He was arguably the most popular player in baseball.

Given his brilliance when he arrived in the U.S., it's obvious that Ichiro was a major league star long before he played in MLB. We have him ranked pretty high on our list of The 100 Greatest Right Fielders of All-Time.
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