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Joe Morgan, the Hall of Fame second baseman who, as  a member of the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine" helped propel the team to World Series championships in 1975 and 1976, has passed away.  He was 77, and ESPN reports that he had "struggled with various health issues in recent years, including a nerve condition, a form of polyneuropathy."

From the ESPN obit:  "Morgan was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, a 10-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove Award winner. He is widely regarded as one of the best second basemen in baseball history, and he gained renown for his 25-plus years as a broadcaster after his playing career … Morgan was the NL MVP in 1975 and 1976 and was named an All-Star in each of his eight seasons with the Reds. He was a .271 career hitter, with 268 home runs, 1,133 RBIs, 1,650 runs scored and 689 stolen bases, 11th in baseball history."

"The Reds family is heartbroken. Joe was a giant in the game and was adored by the fans in this city," Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. "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. Our hearts ache for his Big Red Machine teammates."

KC's View:

It has been a tough year for baseball fans, as we've lost the likes of Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver and Al Kaline.  Which, if you are of a  certain age and you remember watching these fellows play, has the sobering effect of reminding you yet again that your youth is increasingly distant.