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Reds great, Hall of Famer Joe Morgan dead at 77

Cincinnati Reds great Joe Morgan, one of the greatest second basemen to ever play the game, has died. He was 77.

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Cincinnati Reds great Joe Morgan, one of the greatest second basemen in MLB history, has died. He was 77.

Above video: Relive the Reds' last game at Crosley Field

The Associated Press reported Morgan died at his home Sunday in Danville, California. Morgan was suffering from a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy.

A member of the Big Red Machine, Morgan helped lead Cincinnati to back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976.

Morgan was a two-time National League MVP, 10-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.

In his 22-year career, Morgan scored 1,650 runs, stole 689 bases, hit 268 home runs and batted .271.

Morgan’s death marked the latest among major league greats this year: Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver and Al Kaline.

The smallest cog in the Big Red Machine, Morgan was its most valuable piece, and easily a first-ballot pick for Cooperstown.

“He was just a good major league player when it didn’t mean anything,” former Reds and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson once said. “But when it meant something, he was a Hall of Famer.”

In a 22-year career through 1984, Morgan scored 1,650 runs, stole 689 bases, hit 268 homers and batted .271. But those stats hardly reflected the force created on the field by the lefty-swinging No. 8.

Confident and cocky, he also was copied. His habit of flapping his back elbow as a way to keep it high when hitting was imitated by many a Little Leaguer in Cincinnati and beyond.

Health issues had slowed down Morgan in recent years. Knee surgery forced him to use a cane when he went onto the field at Great American Ball Park before the 2015 All-Star Game and he later needed a bone marrow transplant for an illness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.