October 8 – Happy Birthday Mike Morgan

MorganWhen you charted out Mike Morgan’s big league career it looked like a Vasco de Gama expedition. It began and almost ended when Morgan was just eighteen years old and the property of the irascible owner of the Oakland A’s, Charley Finley. It was 1978 and Finley had mismanaged the A’s World Champion rosters from the early 70′s into distant memories. He was looking for a way to reignite interest in his team and he decided to try and turn his first round draft choice into a teenage phee-nom. The young Morgan, a native of Tulare, California was not up to the task. Though he started strong with a complete game performance in his big league debut against the Orioles, it quickly became apparent the kid was not ready. After going 0-3, he was sent down to the minors, where he should have remained for at least two or three more years. But patience was not one of Finley’s virtues. Morgan was brought back to Oakland the following year and took quite a hammering in the 13 games he appeared.

The Yankees acquired the tall right hander after the 1980 postseason, in exchange for infielder, Fred Stanley. New York pitched Morgan at the double A level for a year and then called him up to the Bronx and made him part of the parent club’s starting rotation, in 1982. He certainly was more ready to face big league hitters as a 22-year-old. His numbers that season weren’t great but there were moments of brilliance that gave the Yankee announcers opportunities to remind listeners of his phee-nom roots and potential. Evidently, the team’s front office wasn’t listening because that December, they sent Morgan, speedy outfielder Dave Collins and future all-star slugger Fred McGriff to the Toronto Blue Jays for a well-traveled reliever named Dale Murray and somebody named Tom Dodd. It would turn out to be a horrible trade by the Yankee front office.

Morgan would go on to pitch 19 more seasons in the Majors and wear the uniforms of ten more big league teams. He would become an All Star with the Dodgers in 1991, set his career-high in wins with 16 a year later while pitching for the Cubs and win a World Series ring with Arizona in2001. He would pitch until 2002, finally hanging up his glove for good at the age of 42.

Morgan shares his birthday with this recent Yankee relieverthis former Yankee outfielder and this one-time Yankee hitting coach.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1982 NYY 7 11 .389 4.37 30 23 2 2 0 0 150.1 167 77 73 15 67 71 1.557
22 Yrs 141 186 .431 4.23 597 411 56 46 10 8 2772.1 2943 1431 1303 270 938 1403 1.400
CHC (5 yrs) 30 35 .462 3.83 90 90 0 8 2 0 575.2 569 274 245 51 212 316 1.357
ARI (3 yrs) 7 6 .538 4.82 120 5 33 0 0 5 173.2 209 97 93 19 66 93 1.583
LAD (3 yrs) 33 36 .478 3.06 107 85 8 11 5 1 600.0 543 236 204 37 154 318 1.162
SEA (3 yrs) 24 35 .407 4.70 73 66 4 17 3 1 429.1 499 247 224 51 144 203 1.498
STL (2 yrs) 9 14 .391 4.55 35 35 0 1 0 0 209.2 232 111 106 24 65 101 1.417
OAK (2 yrs) 2 13 .133 6.12 16 16 0 3 0 0 89.2 121 69 61 8 58 17 1.996
CIN (2 yrs) 11 15 .423 4.42 36 35 0 1 0 0 189.1 193 100 93 15 56 122 1.315
MIN (1 yr) 4 2 .667 3.49 18 17 0 0 0 0 98.0 108 41 38 13 24 50 1.347
TEX (1 yr) 13 10 .565 6.24 34 25 1 1 0 0 140.0 184 108 97 25 48 61 1.657
NYY (1 yr) 7 11 .389 4.37 30 23 2 2 0 0 150.1 167 77 73 15 67 71 1.557
BAL (1 yr) 1 6 .143 5.43 22 10 6 2 0 1 71.1 70 45 43 6 23 29 1.304
TOR (1 yr) 0 3 .000 5.16 16 4 2 0 0 0 45.1 48 26 26 6 21 22 1.522
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/7/2013.

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