Joe Morgan—Oakland's Little Baseball Giant | GEOFFREY'S INNER CIRCLE

This Date In Baseball History- November 29, 1971- A big day of trades at the baseball winter meetings which were being held in Phoenix, Arizona. The biggest of the three trades- probably the most impactful trade of the entire 1970’s– the Cincinnati Reds traded first baseman Lee May, second baseman Tommy Helms and utility player Jimmy Stewart to the Houston Astros in exchange for second baseman Joe Morgan, center fielder Cesar Geronimo and starting pitcher Jack Billingham. This trade transformed the Cincinnati Reds into the Big Red Machine. Joe Morgan in Houston was an unnoticed star-as a Red his star became noticed in a big way. He was in my opinion the greatest baseball player of the 1970’s- he could do it all- he had power, speed, a gold glove fielder, he would led the NL in on base percentage 4 times in a 5 year period. He was an All-Star in all 8 seasons with the Reds. Little Joe won the MVP Award in back to back seasons 1975 and 1976. He was also one of the smartest players in the game. Geronimo would be the starting center fielder for the Reds in that era- a fine defensive player. Billingham- was a solid starter for the Reds- winning 19 games in back to back seasons in 1973-74.

Trade to Indians launched stellar stretch for Perry | Baseball Hall of Fame

A big trade of pitchers- the Cleveland Indians sent Sudden Sam McDowell to the San Francisco Giants for Gaylord Perry. McDowell who was only 29- and having been an outstanding pitcher for the Indians in the past- saw his career go into the tank with the Giants- while Perry would win 64 games in the next three seasons with the lowly Indians.

Ken Holtzman - Jewish Baseball Museum

The third trade- the Oakland A’s traded outfielder Rick Monday to the Cubs for starting pitcher Ken Holtzman. This was one of those deals which both teams did well on- Monday was a fine player for the Cubs- while Ken Holtzman added to the A’s pitching rotation- along with Catfish Hunter and Vida Blue- would be a top notch starter on three straight Oakland A’s World Series Championship teams.


  1. The Reds cleaned up on that trade. I’ve read where Reds fans were not happy at the time because May and Helms were quite popular.

  2. man, that was a BIG day. That Reds trade was huge… of course, all fans around our age know about Morgan, and with good reason. But like you point out, Geronimo was a very good OF … good glove and decent enough bat, and Billingham…. I didn’t think that very much of him back then, when I was a young fan, liked Gullett and Grimsley better, but Billingham was good and a real innings eater. Hell, if he could find a youth machine and come back now with his ability and strength of the 70s now he’d probably be a $20M a year guy.

    • No doubt having a great offense- and defense behind him helped Billingham- but he was a very reliable pitcher for them—yeah today no doubt he’d be raking in some money- the way they are throwing it around. crazy times.

    • Scherzer, $43M a year… bit more than even I expected … but hey, if they are going to give Syndergaard $21M a year on the “maybe he might ” idea and of course, last year, Bauer got an average of $35M a year after one real great year and a slew of red flags, why not? Just saw robbie Ray going to Seattle for 5Y and $115M, not far off what I expected he’d get though Seattle was a surprise to me.

  3. Off topic…that other “Max” did pretty well in money today! The Mets…I wish him the best but geez he is 37-38 years old.

    • He broke the bank- that is a ton of money for an aging pitcher- as great as he has been… some of the contracts handed out this past week….crazy.

    • I was worried during the playoffs about his arm…it probably was just Robert’s over use but yea…
      Are both sides trying to beat the Dec 1 deadline?

  4. yep- everything shuts down entirely apparently on Dec.1 unless they reach a new agreement (I don’t know why they don’t just say, “hey if we’re talking we’ll go business as usual for now” but apparently they won’t) so Boras is really pushing his clients to sign fast and that has a ripple effect. And likewise, I don’t imagine GMs of competitive teams want to risk sitting on their hands and having who knows what…. bad case scenario, a couple of weeks in May to make up a team for a shortened season. So I bet tonight and tomorrow will be hectic.

    • Drunken sailors would be annoyed by the comparison! Yeah, Max called it in terms of the contract he’d get, but I don’t think anyone figured Rangers would be the team, especially after they signed Semien. Good to see them trying again though. If Seager gets that, what’s Correa gonna haul in – $360 for 10?

    • I am thinking for some reason that Acuna has already signed up for a while in Atl- I could be wrong… Vlad and Soto two prime candidates to that contract.. Its incredible…I remember back in the 80s when the Pirates signed Dale Berra to a $400,000 contract- a friend of mine and I were talking about it- and it seemed like the sky was falling…. of course Dale wouldn’t be worth $400,000 today even.

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