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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #15: Joe Morgan

As we consider the uncertain future of the Red Sox managerial situation, I find myself thinking of one of our favorite Sox skippers (pre-Francona category), Walpole Joe Morgan.

At the All-Star break in 1988, the Sox were scuffling at 43-42 under 1986 dugout goat (not GOAT) John McNamara. Third base coach Morgan, with thirteen seasons of minor league managerial experience (nine with Pawtucket), got the interim nod. Boston ripped off twelve in a row and 19 of 20, a period we lovingly refer to as Morgan Magic. I was thirteen that summer, and I can remember being on a family trip up the Maine coast and listening to the 12th game on an old radio in the attic while we stayed with friends of my parents. The Sox beat the Rangers 2-0 behind a vintage Clemens three-hit shutout.

Morgan Magic extended all the way to the playoffs, where the Sox got jumped in the alley by the powerhouse Oakland A's and their great chemistry (cough). Under Turnpike Joe, Boston would win the AL East again in 1990 (and again get swept by Oakland in the ALCS - there was no divisional round back then boys and girls). During the 1991 season Morgan was fired, famously stating on the way out "the team's not that good". He was right - under Butch Hobson, the Sox finished last in 1991.

Morgan was a New England kid, by the way, one of our own. A graduate of Walpole High, he went to Boston College where he played varsity hockey and was captain of the baseball team. He had a lackluster professional playing career, with thirteen minor league seasons (and 1,353 minor league hits). He bounced around the majors for parts of four seasons with five teams, hitting just .193 in 88 games. As a ballplayer, this guy made a hell of a manager.

Hey, the job is open again. Joe's only 89. Give him a call. Maybe there's a little magic left. Six, two, and even.

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