NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Like the rest of us, former Brooklyn Dodger Bobby Morgan is missing baseball

Oklahoma City native Bobby Morgan was a member of the 1952 and 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series teams. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]
Oklahoma City native Bobby Morgan was a member of the 1952 and 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series teams. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

It made my day when I went to the mailbox Tuesday and inside was an envelope containing baseball cards and a note from Bobby Morgan, the former Brooklyn Dodgers' infielder and Oklahoma City resident.

Morgan had read my "Why I Love Sports" story in the March 29 edition of The Oklahoman. I had written about my obsession with baseball cards as a kid, and, out of the blue, Morgan mailed me a few duplicate cards from his collection. He said the story reminded him of when he was a kid and loved baseball.

In the group was a Bobby Morgan card, but not the valuable Morgan card, he told me when I called to thank him.

"I'm on one '52 card, I think. They didn't print many of them, so it's worth over $300," he said. "It wasn't because of me. It was because of the shortage of them."

He also sent a copy of a 1956 game program between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Braves. That year, Morgan was playing for the Cardinals. They were facing Warren Spahn that day and Morgan batted clean-up for the only time in the major leagues.

"I hit second clean-up a lot of times," Morgan said.

Like a lot of us, Morgan is missing baseball these days. Opening day would have been a little over a week ago and Morgan's routine has been interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Every morning I get up early and go out and get the newspaper," he said. "The first thing I do is put the coffee pot on and take out the sports page. I like to read the box scores."

Now, there are no box scores to read and no baseball games to watch on television. Morgan said he never watched a lot of games on television, but he tuned in when an ace was on the mound.

"I pick out the games with the pitchers I like to watch, like the Washington Nationals," he said. "I like to watch (Max) Scherzer pitch. He's got some nasty stuff. I like to watch a pitcher like that throw to hitters. He can make them look so bad at times. I enjoy that."

Morgan can relate to that. In his eight seasons in the big leagues, he was known for his glove more than his bat, having a career average of .233.

"All of them made me look bad most of the time," Morgan said of the major league pitchers in his playing days. "I know I got one base hit off (Spahn) when I was in Brooklyn. He threw me a dinky curveball and I just kind of served it to right field. I got on first base and the umpire says, 'Bobby, that's the way you've got to hit that guy.'"

Morgan played on the Brooklyn Dodgers' World Series teams in 1952 and 1953. He preserved Carl Erskine's no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs in the 1952 season with two brilliant fielding plays at third base.

"I made two super plays on swinging bunts where they just dribbled down the line and I fielded them one-handed and threw to Gil Hodges at first," he said.

To this day, Erskine thanks Morgan for saving the no-hitter whenever they talk.

The world is different now and everyone is longing for happier times. For most of us, that was just a few weeks ago. For Morgan, it was when he suited up and ran onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

"It was a beautiful park. All of the fans were up real close to the game," he said. "There was a filling station over the right field fence and Duke Snider used to hit home runs over there and break out windows in cars. Just a little neighborhood park. The fans were just super. They loved their baseball."

Back then, Morgan knew everyone who worked Ebbets Field by their first name. Local fans formed the Dodgers Sym-Phony band and played during the games to add to the ambiance.

"It was just a wonderful way to spend an evening," Morgan said.

Morgan was traded from the Dodgers to Philadelphia in 1954.

"I hated to leave the ball club," he said.

Of all the things Morgan misses about baseball, it is the competition he misses the most.

"Ball players love to play," he said. "They get up in the morning and they can't wait for the game to start. It's a great way to make a living. It's really a lot of fun. You know all the guys, their wives and their kids. Nowadays, I understand they don't pal around much with each other."

Morgan worked part-time at Pancho's Liquortown in Oklahoma City for the past 26 years until he retired in January. At age 93, Morgan is in good health but had skin cancer scares over the years. Doctors told him it was the result of all those years playing baseball in the sun.

"It was worth every minute of it," Morgan told them.

Today, Morgan said he lives comfortably off of his major league pension and Social Security benefits.

"I appreciate the big guys (major league players) coming back and picking us old timers up," he said. "I am not much of a union man, but I am really proud of ours."

He enjoys cooking, having a cocktail in the evening and taking long walks. He used to walk daily inside Northpark Mall, but since the mall is temporarily closed he now gets his exercise by walking in his neighborhood. He is careful to keep his distance from all of his neighbors who are walking because of shelter in place orders.

"I am trying to stay away from everybody, that is for sure," he said. "This has really been something, but we can make it. We will make it."

Related Photos
<strong>Former Major League Baseball player Bobby Morgan points to a photo taken of him during his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]</strong>

Former Major League Baseball player Bobby Morgan points to a photo taken of him during his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-fac9837c566ab8565890cfc4e7b593f1.jpg" alt="Photo - Former Major League Baseball player Bobby Morgan points to a photo taken of him during his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" Former Major League Baseball player Bobby Morgan points to a photo taken of him during his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> Former Major League Baseball player Bobby Morgan points to a photo taken of him during his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-85b52147dd3b19eee31ac9d1d29138e3.jpg" alt="Photo - A photo of former Major League Baseball player Bobby Morgan hangs in Morgan's Oklahoma City home. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" A photo of former Major League Baseball player Bobby Morgan hangs in Morgan's Oklahoma City home. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> A photo of former Major League Baseball player Bobby Morgan hangs in Morgan's Oklahoma City home. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-96096da767a5c6dc9ddf870a253863f0.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City native Bobby Morgan was a member of the 1952 and 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series teams. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" Oklahoma City native Bobby Morgan was a member of the 1952 and 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series teams. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City native Bobby Morgan was a member of the 1952 and 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series teams. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure>
Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

Comments