Castiglione, Morgan thrill Red Sox fans at Museum

By Bill Francis

Much success has come the way of the Boston Red Sox over the last 10 years. Not only has the franchise captured three World Series titles over that span, but the fanbase, known as “Red Sox Nation,” has proven itself to be among the most fervent on the sports landscape.

So with decades of Red Sox living history scheduled to appear at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Bullpen Theater for a Voices of the Game event on Dec. 14, it came as no surprise that dozens of hearty souls braved the inclement wintery elements outside to enjoy stories from the careers of longtime Red Sox radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione and onetime manager Joe Morgan.

Red Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione (left) and former Sox manager Joe Morgan hold a Wade Boggs bat during a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Dec. 14. (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Red Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione (left) and former Sox manager Joe Morgan hold a Wade Boggs bat during a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Dec. 14. (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

“I try and come here every year,” said Castiglione, in the area to attend a fundraiser for nearby ColgateUniversity, his alma mater. “But this year I didn’t know if I would make it because our season went an extra month. But any trip to Central New York I’m going to stop at the Hall of Fame.”

What made the trip even more special for Castiglione, who just completed his 31st season on Red Sox radio and was a 2014 Ford C. Frick Award finalist, was the Museum’s new Autumn Glory exhibit, documenting the Red Sox’s 2013 world championship.

“Seeing the new exhibit really hit home and brought back memories of something that was recent but also the realization that we really did do it. It was such a magical season,” Castiglione said. “At times I wake up and say, ‘Did we really win it?’ Three championships in 10 years is amazing.

“The last 10 years really makes you appreciate being with a good club. I had nothing to do with that, just being at the right place at the right time. I was with clubs that weren’t winners, so to have a chance to win you really appreciate what ownership does. This club was built to win every year and not every market can say that. And it’s a lot more than dollars and cents – it’s commitment, it’s research, it’s leadership. And I think Red Sox ownership has done a marvelous job. You can never win without good ownership.”

Accompanying Castiglione on his visit was the 83-year-old Morgan. A native New Englander who grew up outside Boston, attended Boston College and was signed by the Boston Braves in 1952, Morgan spent 16 seasons as a skipper in the minors before getting his shot managing the Red Sox in 1988.

“I’ll shorten it up by saying I was a pretty good Triple-A player,” said Morgan, noting this was his third trip to Cooperstown, which included managing the Red Sox in the 1989 Hall of Fame Game that was cancelled because the Reds’ plane malfunctioned. “Not big enough for the big boys. But I’m the only guy in the International League that won an MVP and named Manager of the Year. One person in 120 years. I’m proud of that.”

What would become a four-season stint helming the Boston team got off to a great start when, after replacing John McNamara midseason, “Morgan’s Magic” would see a 20-game home winning streak at Fenway Park and division crown.

“You look way back and the Red Sox won a lot of World Series but people don’t realize that,” Morgan said. “And then they went 100 years and didn’t do it. But now they’re doing it again, so it’s pretty good.”

As for the Hall of Fame, Morgan said he enjoys it like everybody else.

“I like to see pictures of the guys I remember growing up in the late 1930s and early 1940s,” Morgan said. “Guys like Lefty Grove and Jimmie Foxx.

“Foxx was my hero. He was dynamite. My dad would take us in and I saw him quite a bit.”

Castiglione joked that even when he went to Colgate he loved coming to the Hall of Fame because they had a much better library.

“I grew up loving baseball history and this is the Mecca. This is really a shrine,” he added. “It’s my favorite place, I think, over any beach or any resort. I just love to come here.”

 Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum 

4 Comments

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I’ve been to the HOF many times. My then 13 year old son Joshua and I won the Trivia contest there the year Maz and Winfield went in. It was where my son chose to go for his bar mitzvah, and there were no limitations. Still…..I won’t return until and unless Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mark McGwire are respectfully enshrined. You understand, I’m sure. I feel the same about Mr. Rose. Rules are made by man to serve man. Pete Rose didn’t do anything wrong. The PED files should never have been started….and, hopefully, with the retirement of Bud Selig, we can have a more user-friendly playing field….oh, and Armando Galarraga might finally be awarded that Perfect Game he earned a few years back.

The Baseball Hall of Fame was the #1 such place in all the world, but loses credibility when the most FAMOUS players from an entire generation are excluded. Does any rational baseball fan really believe that Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, et al are men of less character than Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt? I keep following baseball, and when justice is done the stars who’ve entertained and thrilled us these past many decades, I’ll come to Cooperstown bearing a huge grin. May the Lord be with us all.

Someone in the public eye, besides Bill James, MUST begin to dismantle this PEDs debacle. Without Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, & Mark McGwire, you can call it the Hall of FAME, but it’s not. It’s a club of those who slid thru the invasive eye of Bud Selig and his cronies. Barry Bonds IS baseball, the best to ever play the game. Ditto ARod, Clemens, and, to a lesser extent, McGwire. If ARod doesn’t make it, heck, you can put the Hall next to Wrigley Field, as an interesting, if depressing, place to visit.

Throw in Pete Rose, too. Put an asterisk next to his name (*bet on baseball while managing, albeit not on games in which his team was involved), if you must; but the Hall of Fame lacking the all time hits leader? That’s sort of a joke to anyone with a clear head.

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