Joe Morgan choked up Saturday at the thought of joining a select group of former Cincinnati Reds.
He would have liked to have had a little more company. There's no Pete Rose and Morgan doesn't think it's right.Morgan, the most valuable player on one of baseball's most talented teams, had his No. 8 retired Saturday and wished that No. 14 also could join the facade behind the left-field wall at Cinergy Field.
Morgan's replica jersey joined those of manager Fred Hutchinson, catcher Johnny Bench and slugger Frank Robinson. The Reds also display Jackie Robinson's No. 42, which was retired by baseball to honor him for breaking the col-or barrier.
Morgan's eyes got teary, his lip quivered and he stopped in mid-sentence to pull a handkerchief from his suit coat and dab his eyes as he talked about Rose's exclusion during a news conference. Baseball's career hits leader accepted a lifetime ban for gambling.
"I lockered next to him for eight years and I think the one thing that I would say is that I hope that one of these days that Pete will join me in Cooperstown," said Morgan, who was inducted in 1990. "And I hope that one day he will be honored as I am being honored to-night."
Morgan was considered the most valuable player on Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, which won the World Series in 1975-76. Morgan was the National League's MVP both years.
His is the second number retired by the Reds this season. Ted Klus-zewski's No. 18 will be added on July 18.
Morgan made two references to Rose during his on-field speech, shortly after his number was unveiled. Bench and pitching coach Don Gullett stood behind him.
During his news conference, Morgan credited his former teammates with giving him the opportunity to have so much success. He said that's why Rose's absence is tough for him to handle.