I never had the pleasure of meeting either of my grandfathers but I kinda hope they would have been like Phil Mushnick. They'd be crusty, pissed off at most of the world and prone to being offended by things that aren't all that offensive. Repeated exposure to their rants would make it easier to ignore the ones that weren't about anything of importance but every now and then they'd hit on a topic of particular interest and weave a great, great story about it. Mushnick does just that today when he slams Joe Morgan for the umpteenth time. It seems Morgan got carried away during Sunday night's Phillies-Cardinals game and decided to put himself into the middle of a story that had nothing to do with him.
The year, Morgan told us, was 1964, that calamitous season when the Phillies blew a 61/2-game lead with 12 games left by losing 10 straight. Morgan said he made his major-league debut late in '64, against the Phillies. And it was in that game that his RBI single beat the Phillies, extending their infamous losing streak to eight or nine.
Morgan added that Phillies manager Gene Mauch was so upset he threw over the buffet table in the clubhouse, hollering that his club had just been beaten by "a Little Leaguer!"
Great story. But unless Morgan was confusing himself with Reds rookie infielder Chico Ruiz, it never happened. As several readers were moved to write, the Phillies played the Reds, Braves and Cardinals during that losing streak; Houston wasn't in the mix.
It gets better. Morgan didn't even debut in the major leagues in 1964. He debuted in 1963. He did play in 1964 but didn't have any RBI. But that's okay, he made up for it by landing on the moon with Apollo 11 in 1969, catching the burglars at the Watergate and originating the role of Rum Tug Tugger in the Broadway production of Cats.
People mistake facts and figures about baseball history all the time, it's not that big a deal if you confuse Juan and Jose Guzman as Joe Girardi did during a Yankee game the other night, but to get things about yourself wrong in such a wholesale and overwhelming fashion? That's something only Morgan could pull off. Twice. That's right, twice. Mushnick reports that a 2000 Baseball Digest story about Morgan tells the same story. If there's a silver lining to all of this it's that Morgan doesn't have a double standard about the truth. He's full of shit when he talks about other people but he doesn't start cleaning it up when he's talking about himself either.