Morgan to appear at local festival

Daily Staff Report —

Major League Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan has been added to the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival’s Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast lineup, organizers announced Wednesday.

Morgan joins basketball icon Bill Walton, who was announced as the festival’s Sports Marshal earlier this month, as one of the headliners of this year’s Sports Breakfast.

Morgan, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990, began his professional baseball career in 1963 when he signed with the Houston Colt .45s. After nearly two seasons in Houston’s farm system, Morgan became a regular player for the renamed Houston Astros and earned Sporting News National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1965.

Morgan was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1972, where he played alongside Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez and other Cincinnati stars as part of the famous “Big Red Machine” of the 1970s. During his career with the Reds, Morgan earned National League Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons in 1975 and 1976, the Commission’s Award in 1976 for most votes by fans for the All-Star Game and National League Comeback Player of the Year in 1982.

Morgan, who retired from baseball in 1984, finished his Hall of Fame career as the all-time leader in home runs by a second baseman (he’s currently second on that list) and recorded 692 stolen bases. He also played in four World Series — winning two championships — and seven league championship series. Morgan played in 10 All-Star games and set an All-Star record by recording a hit in seven consecutive games. He won five Gold Glove Awards and set a record for most consecutive games without an error for a second baseman (92).

Following his retirement, Morgan served as a baseball analyst for ESPN from 1989 to 2010, during which he won Emmy Awards for his work in 1998 and 2005. Morgan has also received an honorary doctorate from California State at Hayward and has served on the board of directors of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the board of directors of the Baseball Assistance Team and as vice chairman of the board of directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, among other positions.

Morgan personally contributes to the Oakland Unified School District Sports Program and is the founder and president of the Joe Morgan Youth Foundation, which provides college scholarships and financial support to programs that focus on the development of youth. Morgan is currently serving as a special adviser for the Cincinnati Reds.

The Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast takes place Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Winchester Moose Lodge, 215 East Cork St., in Winchester. Tickets to all Festival events are on sale at The Railroad District, 302 North Cameron St., in Winchester. Less than 100 tickets remain for the Sports Breakfast.