Mike Morgan's main claim to baseball
fame is his astonishing longevity. At the age of 43, Morgan still pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks
, and was a member of their 2001 championship
team, appearing in 8 postseason games without a decision.
Morgan broke into the majors with the Oakland Athletics in 1978. He was 18 years old, and had never pitched an inning above the high school level. Morgan posted a 2-13 record in two seasons and disappeared into the minor leagues. He resurfaced in 1982 with the New York Yankees and again pitched poorly, posting a 7-11 record. Morgan pitched briefly for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1983 and again returned to the minors.
In late 1985 he was called up by the Seattle Mariners and pitched there for three seasons, losing 17 games in 1986 and again in 1987.
Morgan pitched for the Baltimore Orioles in 1988 without distinction. In 1989, he pitched for his sixth team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and finally enjoyed a measure of success. He posted an 8-11 record, but had an extremely low 2.53 earned-run average. In 1991, Morgan had his first winning season in the big leagues (in his eleventh season), posting a 14-10 record.
Morgan was signed by the Chicago Cubs as a free agent in 1992 and enjoyed his career-best season. Morgan has always been a ground-ball pitcher, and the high infield grass at Wrigley Field was conducive to his pitching style. Morgan won 16 while losing only 8, with a 2.55 ERA. Morgan struggled in his next two seasons with the Cubs, going 10-15 in 1993 and 2-10 in 1994. In the middle of the 1995 season, he was traded to his eighth team, the St. Louis Cardinals. The next season, the Cardinals shipped him to his ninth team, the Cincinnati Reds. Morgan pitched parts of two unremarkable seasons there before signing with the Minnesota Twins in 1998.
That year, Morgan was traded back to the Chicago Cubs at the trading deadline. Morgan made his first postseason appearance with the Cubs at the age of 39, pitching two games of scoreless relief.
Morgan pitched for the Texas Rangers in 1999, and won 13 games, but posted a dreadful 6.24 ERA, and again became a free agent. The Arizona Diamondbacks, his twelfth team, signed him for the 2000 season to pitch in long relief. In 60 games in the 2000 season, Morgan ate up 102 innings, winning 5 and losing 5. A foot injury caused him to miss most of the 2001 season, but he was healthy in time for the playoffs, and won a World Series ring at the age of 42.
For his career, Morgan has won 140 while losing 185, with a career ERA of 4.22. Even in his prime, Morgan was a soft-tossing sinker-slider pitcher who got by on guile and guts. Now he baffles opponents with batting practice fastballs that go 0-60 slower than one of those giant 1970's station wagons.