When I was a kid my favorite part of the All Star Game was the very beginning. All my idols were lined up on the first and third baselines as the starting lineups were announced. This year was different. Forty-nine Hall of Famers took their positions in the field and were then joined by the starters of this year's game. Nine members of the 500 home run club were there, thirteen members of the 3,000 hit club were there. Joe Morgan was not.
Why? He was at the Home Run Derby the night before. He was even in the parade down sixth avenue THAT DAY!
Joe Morgan is on the board of directors of the Hall of Fame, so you would think he would be on the field with 49 of the greatest players to ever play the game. If you have ever seen an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast you know that Joe never relinquishes the spotlight. He is always in his flashy suits and will tell more stories about himself than the players in the game.
So why would he not jump at an opportunity to show himself off? I have been researching this since Tuesday and I cannot find the answer. He was not doing a radio or TV broadcast, so that's not it. There were 49 Hall of Famers, not a nice round number like 50, so maybe there was some emergency and he was to be the 50th. Unlikely.
The story that I and most other people are going with is that it has to do with the presence of Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg, who retired in 1994 only to come back in 1996 and break Morgan's second baseman homerun record, has had his run-ins with Morgan before.
Morgan was suspiciously absent from Sandberg's Hall of Fame induction in 2005. There has long been rumors that Morgan has always been bitter that Sandberg un-retired to break his record. That can't be, right? Joe Morgan is a two time MVP, a two time World Series Champ, even an Emmy Award winner; why would he care about a record that was eventually broken by Jeff Kent? Oh right, we are talking about Joe Morgan.
Hopefully somebody will ask him his whereabouts on the 15th of July. Whatever excuse he has I'm sure it will be lame.