Monday Newsletter time: Adrian Beltre was Rangers Hall headliner, but Chuck Morgan's career is hard to beat
The public-address announcer rubbed elbows with Pat Sajak, Buck Owens and Waylon Jennings before heading to Texas.
Adrian Beltre was never going to spend much time Saturday delivering his induction speech to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, no matter what he said as he stepped to the podium.
The third baseman joked that public-address announcer Chuck Morgan’s induction speech took all of his time and he would have to keep it short. The truth is that Beltre told beat writers Thursday afternoon that he was asked to talk for about three minutes. Just three minutes.
Knowing how much Beltre dislikes public speaking, the Rangers probably had little issue with Morgan’s terrific speech.
His career gave him plenty of material.
Morgan was a star before he came to the Rangers in 1983. He was a national disc jockey of the year in 1982, spinning country tunes in Nashville. He was an announcer at the Grand Ole Opry. He made multiple appearances on Hee-Haw, one of the longest-running shows in television history.
He worked as a PA man for the Nashville Sounds.
While at WSM, Morgan worked alongside Pat Sajak, who was a few years from becoming the host of Wheel of Fortune. Morgan rubbed elbows with Roy Clark and Buck Owens on Hee-Haw, and the top stars of country music at the Opry and WSM.
He was close friends with Waylon Jennings and Marty Robbins. As Morgan said, he interviewed Willie Nelson at the back of his tour bus, and come to think of it, it was pretty relaxing in there.
With the exception of the 2002 season when he worked for the Kansas City Royals, Morgan has been with the Rangers every season since 1984 and has never missed a game. His 38 years as a PA man (he’s also one of the club’s executive vice presidents) is the second-longest run in MLB history, and late last season he worked his 3,000th game.
The Dot Race? Morgan started it, though he gave a nod in a Thursday Zoom call to former baseball columnist Jim Reeves for telling him about one he’d seen in Oklahoma City.
Morgan finally yielded to Beltre, who was the headliner. All that was missing was Elvis Andrus, who was in California for the birth of his third child rather than in the Oakland A’s dugout.
To set the record straight, Beltre said he did not choose Saturday for the induction because Andrus would be there. Beltre picked it because it was two days from his kids starting school in the Los Angeles area and he didn’t want to do it during the school year.
That’s Beltre’s life these days. He drives his kids wherever they need to go and helps coach his son, A.J., in baseball. But if Beltre wants to sleep until noon, he sleeps until noon.
He’s earned it after 3,166 hits, 477 home runs and five Gold Glove awards. So has Morgan, for that matter, but there are no signs of him joining Beltre in retirement.
Morgan hopes to see you Tuesday at Globe Life Field.
Finding a closer?
Things became mildly tense Sunday afternoon in the ninth inning, as the Oakland A’s collected a single and a walk with two outs in a three-run game.
The next batter was Starling Marte, who has been one of baseball’s best hitters this month. On deck was Matt Olson, who has been one of baseball’s best hitters this season.
On the mound was Joe Barlow, a rookie making his second career appearance in a save situation. He’s now 2 for 2 in those spots.
Marte appeared to just miss Barlow’s final offering, hitting it to deep left field but into the glove of Charlie Culberson for the final out in a 7-4 win.
Barlow continues to dazzle, with an ERA that sits at 0.61 after the first 16 appearances of his career. He’s the Rangers’ best option at closer.
For now. That’s as far as anyone should go.
At some point next season the Rangers will see right-handers Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez return from Tommy John surgery in March. The timeline is shorter for relievers, who don’t need to build up to 100 pitches.
The Rangers will likely take it easy on that duo by not allowing them to work on back-to-back days once they return. Maybe they alternate days as closer. Maybe Barlow works the eighth inning ahead of them. Maybe they work the eighth inning ahead of Barlow.
It’s all TBD and TBA based on how quickly Leclerc and Hernandez recover, but it’s not too soon to tap the brakes on Barlow being the Rangers’ closer the next six seasons.
At minimum, though, he has shown the kind of development the Rangers were hoping to see from him.
Everybody’s working for the weekend, at least according to Loverboy, so you’re forgiven if you missed these stories from the past few days. Catch up now in case you missed it …
Give this dog the gold medal! Caeleb Dressel can spare one. Enjoy. See you Tuesday.