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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Joe Morgan Clarifies One Fib, Possibly Tells Another

Illustration for article titled Joe Morgan Clarifies One Fib, Possibly Tells Another

As you know, Joe Morgan, the human sic, told a bit of a stretcher during last Sunday's broadcast. Yesterday, he clarified the matter in a way only Joe Morgan could. By maybe lying again.


Here's what Joe had to say about last week's story, per Larry Brown Sports:

Jon [Miller], I want to correct something that I said last week - you weren't here so you weren't involved - but last week we were talking about Don Wilson pitching a no-hitter and I remember talking to him about Hank Aaron and saying it wouldn't be the worst thing if he walked him. And he said "get away" and he went out and struck him out. Well it happened in the dugout, not on the field. I got it mixed up with an incident I had with Al Hollins, who in a similar situation was pitching with me at the Giants, so I had the two confused.


Again, it's a little improbable that Joe would breach the old, inviolate rule about talking to a pitcher during a no-hitter, but, whatever, that's what Joe says, and Don Wilson, tragically, isn't around to tell us any different. (He committed suicide in 1975.) So there the story ends, right?

Alas, this is Joe Morgan, a man who can't get from subject to predicate without saying something egregiously dumb. And, lo, do I detect another fib?

I wasn't watching last night, but it's safe to assume that the "Al Hollins" mentioned above was actually Al Holland, a teammate of Morgan's in San Francisco in 1981 and 1982 and in Philadelphia in 1983.

Joe claims he mixed up the Wilson and Holland stories — that Holland was pitching "in a similar situation" in 1981 or 1982, meaning, presumably, that he had a no-hitter going late in the game, and that Joe sauntered over from second and suggested he walk a big bat, etc. Let's have a look at the record, shall we? Surely there are some computer numbers out there that might help us.


Holland was a relief pitcher, a decent one for a time, and he recorded only 11 starts over his 10-year career, 10 of them with the Giants. Only once did he throw more than four innings of no-hit ball. That would've been Sept. 29, 1981, against Cincinnati; Johnny Bench hit a solo shot in the fifth to break it up. Now, I suppose it's conceivable that Joe would've proposed walking Bench at that point, even if his old teammate was then in the winter of his years. But consider: Holland didn't just have a no-no through four-and-a-third. He had a perfect game.

Maybe it's a little mean-spirited to bird-dog an old man's yarns in this way, and if Joe were just harmlessly estranged from the notion of fact, I probably wouldn't bother. He's not, though. He's downright hostile to the truth, and in turn to his own audience, whom he seems to regard as nothing but a lot of slack-jawed morons begging to be lied to. And he obliges, time and time again. In that, he is, as Joe Morgan himself would note, very, very consistent.


Joe Morgan Lies Again When Clarifying Previous Lie on Sunday Night Baseball [Larry Brown Sports]
September 29, 1981 San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds Box Score and Play by Play [Baseball Reference]
EARLIER: It Wasn't So, Joe

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