‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Joe Morgan VS Ryne Sandberg

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Joe Morgan VS Ryne Sandberg

As we wrap up ‘Joe Morgan Day’ here at 30-Year Old Cardboard, I though it would be only proper to include him in tonight’s ‘Hall of Fame Debate’.

So tonight, we will put the greatest second baseman from the 1970’s against the greatest second baseman from the 1980’s: Joe Morgan VS Ryne Sandberg!!!

Here is a statistical look at their careers:

Morgan Sandberg
Seasons 22 16
Games 2,649 2,164
Hits 2,517 2,386
200 Hit Seasons 0 1
150-199 Hit Seasons 7 10
Batting Average 0.271 0.285
.300+ Seasons 2 5
Batting Titles 0 0
On-Base % 0.392 0.344
.400 On-Base Seasons 9 0
Walks Drawn 1,865 761
Strikeouts 1,015 1260
Doubles 449 403
Triples 96 76
Home Runs 268 282
Stolen Bases 689 344
Runs Scored 1,650 1,318
RBI 1,133 1,061
100-RBI Seasons 1 2
All-Star 10 10
Gold Glove 5 9
Silver Slugger 1 7
ROY 0 0
MVP 2 1
Postseasons 7 2
WS Titles 2 0

Both guys are extremely accomplished players.

Here are a few standout points for me when comparing them head-to-head:

  • Sandberg averaged quite a few more hits a year than Morgan
  • Very surprised to see 5 .300 or better seasons out of Sandberg
  • Morgan’s On-Base % is stellar!
  • Morgan’s walks drawn is unreal
  • Morgan’s strikeouts per season is really strong
  • Sandberg’s HR’s did not always translate to RBI success

Ultimately, this match-up looks a lot closer on paper than I think it actually is.  Joe Morgan epitomized what his team needed from him – a guy that could get on base and disrupt the pitcher’s concentration so Tony Perez and Johnny Bench could generate runs.  Sandberg on the other hand, had the tools to do what Morgan did (probably on a bit of a lesser scale), but he also had the power to be the one responsible for the production of runs too.  Ultimately, the rosters he played on may not have been the  best to showcase what he could do.

One thing that deserves mention – the Silver Slugger Award.  The award began in 1980, and Morgan snagged one in the twilight of his career.  Had the award started in 1970, I think it is a safe bet that he would have as many as, if not more, than Sandberg and the 7 he owns.

So, who is the better?  Who wins the debate tonight?

For me, it is a no-brainer – Joe Morgan all the way!!

Morgan filled his role to perfection for the Reds.  His defense was huge, and his ability to get on base and ruin the opposition’s gameplan on a nightly basis was much greater than that of Sandberg.  With Sandberg, you may not want to face him with a man in scoring position of a tight game, but with Morgan, you NEVER wanted to face him – period!


Who gets your vote?  This one puts the best of one decade versus the best of another decade.  And I am eager to hear what you have to say!!

Let’s Go!!!


18 responses to “‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Joe Morgan VS Ryne Sandberg

  1. I gotta go with Morgan. He was an all around great ball player and the stat line of having 9 seasons with an obp of over .400 is pretty amazing. Nothing against Sandberg, I loved watching him as a kid. He’s awesome, just not quite as awesome as Joe.

  2. Morgan, basically because of his hits & steals, but Sandberg was stellar… I really like both guys.

  3. I’ve never really into Sandberg’s stats too much until about 5 minutes ago and I think I would take Sandberg over Morgan. Don’t get me wrong; Morgan was a great player- his OBP, Walks and Stolen Bases are great, but I’ll take Sandberg’s power and defense.

    The number that stood out to me was Sandberg’s BAbip (batting average on balls in play- it measures how many of batter’s balls in play go for hits excluding HR). Sandberg’s career BAbip is .304 and Morgan’s career BAbip is .278.

    • Matt- I’d agree that Sandberg’s numbers were more impressive than I originally thought. But overall, I think Morgan was more valuable and put up a more well-rounded career.

      Thanks for the vote!!

      Morgan 3, Sandberg 1

  4. *looked into

  5. Not to dismiss Morgan’s accomplishments, but Sandberg accomplished so much on a team that was largely ineffectual, while Morgan was just part of the Big Red Machine. Aside from one season, the Cubs never really posed any real threat. Just look at how many Hall of Famers played with Morgan, not to mention Pete Rose. Had it not been for Dawson, Sandberg would have been out there all alone.
    I go with Rynno

  6. This is a comparison on both ends of the spectrum. You have Morgan that put up consistent numbers on a competitive team every year. You have Sandberg who was also consistent, but rarely on a competitive team except for ’84 and ’89.

    No offense to Joe morgan, but Sandberg did more with less. So I got to say Ryno. In my opinion, Sandberg changed the way 2nd baseman were looked at after he hit 40 hrs. They could be middle of the order guys which is amazing since he changed his approach to be a run producer from being a morgan like hitter when won MVP in ’84.

    Growing up a Dawson fan, I resented ryno actually because in the early 90s it was all about him. Everyone loved him, said he was the best ever, I often thought where is the love for Andre. But when you start to change the perception of a position that’s the result.

    So for me, this is one where I have to look beyond the numbers. I also believe at the time, he held the best single season fielding % for 2B since which I think Darwin barney broke.

  7. Ryno played 5-6 seasons fewer than Morgan, so, even that out a bit and i’d give more edge to Ryno.. he was irreplaceable in all the years of Cubs futility.. had the Cubs been more successful during that time, i’d give even more edge to him..

  8. I vote for Sandberg. I watched both play many games and I believe
    Sandberg was the better of the two because he did did so much with
    poor teams. As the Cubs “Franchise” player he was always the one
    the other team had to play around, whereas Morgan had several
    all-star players with him at Cincinnati. Also, in my opinion, Sandberg
    was head and shoulders above Morgan defensively. From the first
    game he played at second base he was the best in baseball. Morgan
    never approached his level of defensive play.

    Jim Johnson

  9. We won’t talk about fielding, where the separation comes. Concepcion had to make almost all the plays up the middle, where Ryno covered behind 2nd base bag to the RF foul line.
    Also, Sandberg did a lot of hitting on his own where “Slow” Joe was surrounded by HOFer’s his entire career.
    There is no comparison in my book….
    Sandberg hands down!!!!

  10. Both were fantastic players. But for me I’m going for Sandberg for the pure and simple reason that Joe Morgan is a jerk. I can’t stand him. He essentially campaigned against Sandberg being a 1st-ballot HOFer. Nobody believes their own legend more than Joe “The Red Menace” Morgan. All this coming from a Cinci native who grew up on Larkin, Parker, Milner, Davis, et al. at the old Riverfront Stadium. Dawson was a pretty marginal HOFer but he did kinda get caught in Samdberg’s shadow through the 80’s. That said, Ryno campaigned hard for The Hawk – even during his own HOF speech. You’d never see Joe Morgan do that. Give me Sandberg.

  11. Of Joe wasn’t such a cry baby and if he didn’t have an absolutely insufferable broadcast career. lol. Ryno.

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