Morgan among finalists for Frick Award
Could become first Hall of Fame player to get in as broadcaster
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Joe Morgan is already a fixture at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was elected to the Hall in 1990 for his playing career in his first year of eligibility on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot, was named to the Board of Directors in 1994 and elected Vice Chairman in 2000.
Now after online voters placed him on the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award ballot, Morgan has an opportunity to wear yet another cap in Cooperstown, N.Y. The Frick Award has been presented annually since 1978 for broadcasting excellence, and Morgan, the analyst of ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" cablecasts, is one of the 10 candidates for the honor.
There have been three former players who have won the Frick Award: catchers Joe Garagiola and Bob Uecker and infielder Jerry Coleman. But no one who has been elected to the Hall of Fame as a player has also been elected as a broadcaster.
Another Hall of Fame player, pitcher Dizzy Dean, is on the ballot with Morgan, with a chance to pull off this Hall "first." Dean was one of the pioneers of players moving into the broadcast booth, particularly in his television years on the "Game of the Week" in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Players moving behind the microphone was commonplace by the time Morgan retired as a player after the 1984 season. He broke into the business covering games of his former Cincinnati Reds team for the local NBC affiliate in 1985 and was also part of the network's national coverage. A stint as an analyst on ABC's "Monday Night Baseball" in 1988 drew national attention.
Two years later, Morgan teamed with play-by-play veteran Jon Miller on "Sunday Night Baseball," which completed its 18th season in 2007. He had previously worked for ESPN as a college baseball analyst from 1985-88.
In addition, Morgan worked Oakland Athletics games in 1995 and San Francisco Giants games from 1986-94. He was an analyst on NBC's Major League coverage from 1994-2000.
Morgan, 64, was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, in 1975 and '76 for the Reds, who won the World Series both years. Morgan got the most out of his 5-foot-7, 160-pound frame by getting 2,517 hits, including 268 home runs, in a 22-season career with five clubs, including two tours with the Houston Astros, the organization that originally signed him.
He may have been called "Little Joe," but he's a big man in Cooperstown and could get even bigger.
Jack O'Connell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.