The player to write his name into the best #51 only authored one season in the uniform, Edward Carre Morgan. Born in Cairo, IL, Morgan’s father Joseph P. (not the famous financier) moved the family to Baton Rouge when Eddie was only 5. After graduating from Rugby Military Academy, he attended Tulane University, played baseball, football and basketball, and also graduated with a degree in pharmacy. The year he graduated from Tulane, 1927, he played 134 games for the New Orleans Pelicans (Southern Association-A-Independent). He had 36 2B, 14 3B and 12 HR in 607 AB while hitting .354.
Those numbers drew the attention of at least 8 major league franchises, but the Indians won the bidding for him on August 13. Morgan finished the season, helping the Pelicans win the pennant and reported to spring training with the Indians in 1928. He made the team and had a solid 123 OPS+ in 297 PA that year. In 1929, when uniform numbers were first issued, he chose #61 and again was productive as a backup outfielder, 118 OPS+ in 360 PA.
In 1930, he switched to #51 and split time as the starter in RF and 1B. On May 27, Lew Fonseca was seriously injured and Morgan became the everyday 1B for the rest of the season. And what a fantastic season it was. He hit .349 with 26 HR (the first Indian to break 20), 136 RBI and 1.014 OPS (150 OPS+). He switched to #33 for the 1931-1933 seasons. 1931 was a good season for him (147 OPS+) but his HR and RBI dropped almost in half. By 1932 he was league average and by 1933 he was backing up Harley Boss. New manager Walter Johnson was not a fan of Morgan’s defense and he played the last three months back in New Orleans. The Red Sox claimed him in the Rule 5 draft that winter and he hit 267/367/352 (83 OPS+) in 617 PA and sold to the Cardinals after the season.
Morgan did not make the Cardinals team in 1935, and played two more seasons with the Pelicans, by this time a Cleveland affiliate. But his power was basically gone, 431 and 333 slugging and he was done at the age of 33. He ended up working at his father’s Louisiana Box Factory. He passed away at the age of 75 in 1980 in New Orleans.
*The Parker 51 pen was revolutionary in its heyday (1941), with its hooded, tubular nib and multi-finned collector, all designed to work in conjunction with the pen's proprietary ink, allowing the nib to stay wet and lay down an even line with either the ultra-fast drying ink or more traditional inks. The 51 stopped production in 1972 and is one of the most popular models sought by pen collectors.
A Brief History
Morgan’s predecessor to #51 was Bibb Falk in the inaugural season of numbers,1929. He put up a solid 312/374/507 122 OPS+ in 489 PA while playing both RF and LF. He switched to #5 in 1930. His 489 PA are second most in a #51 jersey.
The career leader in IP for #51 is Mitch Talbot with 223, but in second place is Bud Anderson. Traded as the PTBNL in the Ted Cox trade from the Mariners with Rafael Vazquez and Rob Pietroburgo, he originally wore #50, but switched to #51 during the 1982 season. His combined numbers for 1982 and 1983 were a 3.68 ERA (114 ERA+), 64 appearances, 6 starts with a complete game and a 1.409 WHIP in 149 IP. He played with the Indians AAA affiliate in 1984, the Maine Guides (International League), and was released as a minor league free agent. He had one last chapter with the Mets AAA Tidewater Tides in 1985.
The One Year Wonders
The All-Time List
Bibb Falk RF, LF (1929) 312/374/507 122 OPS+, 489 PA; traded by White Sox for Chick Autry; switched to #5 in 1930
Ed Morgan 1B, RF (1930) 349/413/601 150 OPS+, 666 PA; was #61 in 1929; switched to #33 in 1931
Dave Hoskins RP, SP (1953) 9-3, 26 G, 7 GS, 3.99 ERA, 112.2 IP, 93 ERA+; also #52 and #22 in 1933; acquired from Grand Rapids Jets (Central-A) in unknown transaction; switched to #22 in 1954
Bob Kaiser RP (1971) 0-0, 5 G, 0 GS, 4.50 ERA, 6 IP, 90 ERA+
Bud Anderson RP (1982-1983) 4-10, 64 G, 6 GS, 3.68 ERA, 149 IP, 114 ERA+; also #50 in 1982; traded as PTBNL with Rafael Vasquez and Rob Pietroburgo by Mariners for Ted Cox
Mike Bascik RP (2001) 0-0, 3 G, 0 GS, 9.00 ERA, 3 IP, 52 ERA+; traded with Roberto Alomar and Danny Peoples to Mets for Matt Lawton, Alex Escobar, Jerrod Riggan, Billy Traber (PTBNL) and Earl Snyder (PTBNL)
Jerrod Riggan RP (2002-2003) 2-1, 31 G, 0 GS, 7.78 ERA, 37 IP, 57 ERA+; traded with Matt Lawton, Alex Escobar, Billy Traber (PTBNL) and Earl Snyder (PTBNL) by Mets for Roberto Alomar, Mike Bascik and Danny Peoples
Scott Barnes RP (2012) 2012 stats not included
Statistics and such
Other fun facts, the uniform #51 has been worn 22 times by 15 different players covering 20 seasons of a possible 84 seasons since 1929. Uniform #51 was shared in a season twice, 1998 and 2001.
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