Joe Leonard Morgan, an American professional baseball second baseman, died Sunday at the age of 77, according to family spokesperson James Davis.
In a statement Monday, Davis said Morgan died Sunday at his home in Danville, California.
The legendary baseball player struggled with several health issues in recent years, including a neurological condition called polyneuropathy.
Morgan played Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Oakland Athletics from 1963 to 1984.
He was a two-time National League MVP, a 10-time All-Star, and a five-time Gold Glove Award winner.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “Major League Baseball is deeply saddened by the death of Joe Morgan, one of the best five-tool players our game has ever known and a symbol of all-around excellence.”
“Joe often reminded baseball fans that the player smallest in stature on the field could be the most impactful,” Manfred added.
“Joe was a close friend and an advisor to me, and I welcomed his perspective on numerous issues in recent years,” Manfred continued. “He was a true gentleman who cared about our game and the values for which it stands.”
Fellow Hall of Famer Johnny Bench texted to the Associated Press, “Joe Morgan was quite simply the best baseball player I played against or saw.”
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, a longtime friend of Morgan, said, “He meant a lot to us, a lot to me, a lot to baseball, a lot to African Americans around the country. A lot to players that were considered undersized. He was one of the first examples of speed and power for a guy they said was too small to play.”
Bob Castellini, CEO of the Cincinnati Reds, said, “The Reds family is heartbroken. Joe was a giant in the game and was adored by the fans in this city. He had a lifelong loyalty and dedication to this organization that extended to our current team and front office staff.”
“As a cornerstone on one of the greatest teams in baseball history, his contributions to this franchise will live forever,” Castellini added. “Our hearts ache for his Big Red Machine teammates.”
In 2015, Morgan was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndrome, which later developed into leukemia. He had to undergo a bone marrow transplant from one of his daughters. Morgan was born on September 19, 1943, in Bonham, Texas. He married his high school girlfriend, Gloria Stewart, in April 1967. They had two daughters, Lisa and Angela. Morgan divorced Gloria in the 1980s. He married Theresa Behymer in 1990. They had twins daughters, Kelly and Ashley, in 1991.