30 January 2013

final joe morgan

lil' joe morgan finished his career with a one year stop in oakland back in 1984.  i recall hearing rumors during the 1983 nlcs that morgan might retire after the 1983 season in which he helped the phillies get to the world series (by beating the dodgers in the nlcs) but those rumors turned out to be false.  morgan wanted to play closer to home in 1984, and he also wanted to pass rogers hornsby for the top spot among home run hitting second basemen.

so, on to oakland, where it was a homecoming for morgan as he had attended high school and college there. he hit around .250 and appeared in 116 games for the a's but by the time the season was coming to an end, it was known that morgan would retire upon its completion.  that's why i was a tad surprised when i opened packs in 1985 and found joe morgan 'final tribute' cards in donruss
 and topps
after all, in 1984, not all of the manufacturers treated other hall of fame caliber retirees as well.  this time, however, morgan got base cards from all three, even though he was formally retired.  heck, o-pee-chee celebrated the fact that he was retired right on the front of his 1985 card!

you all know that i collect cards of players that show their complete career stats, right?  mostly just hall of fame or dodger types, and only those cards that were actually released the year after they stopped playing.  ok then, back to the show.

morgan's final at bat came in the team's 162nd game.  in the top of the first inning against mark gubicza and the royals, morgan doubled with one out and was removed from the game (and from the game in a larger sense) to some serious applause. before that, he reached his goal of passing rogers hornsby in home runs by a second baseman, and topps gave him a card commemorating that achievement.
 here's the back
the backs of the base cards varied, of course.  donruss was the only one to mention the fact that morgan was retired, but they also only showed five years of stats
fleer showed morgan's entire career stats, but they referred to batting average as 'pct.' and omitted slugging percentage (as did donruss)
 so, the most complete final tribute award goes to topps, despite their green backs and red ink print.
i used to point out to friends that steve garvey had more hits, more home runs and a higher batting average than joe morgan - hoping that they wouldn't point out that morgan got on base about 1400 more times than garvey did, thanks to all of those walks.

i respected and enjoyed watching morgan the player, and even had a pc of him going back in the 1980's. these days, i'm glad that i have these final tributes to enjoy.  i'm just thankful that they are silent.

1 comment:

Fuji said...

Great post. Just clicked your link and saw the 85 OPC card. Very cool. I need to go out and get one.