This Day in Reds History: Little Joe wins the MVP by a big margin

Michael Hickey

On this day in Reds history, Joe Morgan was named the MVP of the National League.

On this day in 1895, former Red Billy Zitzmann was born in Long Island City, NY. He was a forgettable outfielder for the Reds in the 1920s, but may have made a good spokesman for Clearasil in a different era.

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On this day in 1945, former Red Bobby Tolan was born in Los Angeles. Tolan led the National League in stolen bases and times caught stealing while with the Reds in 1970. He was Cincinnati's starting center fielder in the early years of the Machine Era.

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On this day in 1947, former Cincinnati manager Bob Boone was born in San Diego. Boone managed the Reds for about two and a half seasons, compiling a record of 190-238 (.444) with the team.

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On this day in 1957, former Red Frank Foreman died in Baltimore at the age of 94. He pitched for the Reds in three different seasons at the end of the 19th century. While with Cincinnati, he hurled just over 600 innings with an ERA of 4.01 (110 ERA+).

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On this day in 1975, the BBWAA named Joe Morgan as the MVP of the National League. Morgan received all but two first place votes (they both went to Pete Rose) in what was the most lopsided MVP vote in baseball history. Morgan finished with 96% of the maximum number of voting points. (The MVP ballot is weighted so that a first place vote is worth more points than a second place vote and so on.) Morgan led the league in walks, on-base percentage, on-base plus slugging, and OPS+. He posted an on-base percentage of .466 (the highest in team history) in a league where the average mark was a mere .327. Morgan actually batted .327. He stole 67 bases and was caught only 10 times (87% success rate). He walked two and a half times for every time he struck out.

Morgan then turned around and had an even better season at the plate in 1976. He of course took home the MVP award in 1976 as well. The road to claiming the greatest single season by a Red goes through Morgan's first five years in Cincinnati. 1975 and '76 stand out, but those five years are tough to separate. It's the baseball equivalent of picking the best episode of the Simpsons.

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On this day in 2001, the Reds signed lefty Pedro Feliciano. He's had a fairly good career as a LOOGY across parts of nine seasons though he never appeared in a game for the Reds. Feliciano thrice led the league in appearances while with the Mets, but he has never cracked 65 innings in a single season, which should tell you just what a stereotypical LOOGY he is. Despite the relatively low innings totals, his numerous appearances (92 in 2010, for example) may have led to arm fatigue and eventually shoulder surgery (Wikipedia). He missed the 2011 and 2012 major league seasons, but returned to the show for 25 games (only 11 innings) with the Mets in 2013. Feliciano is currently a free agent.

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GrooveLeg earned the point last Wednesday. Reggie Sanders led the team in OPS+ in 1995.

Joe Morgan is fourth all-time in career OPS+ with the Reds with a mark of 147. Name the top three players. Two are fairly obvious while the third is more obscure, though I have written about him at length on at least one occasion.

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