A star athlete at Tulane University, Eddie Morgan played for the New Orleans Pelicans in 1927 before joining the Cleveland Indians.
Edward Carre “Eddie” Morgan spent six of his seven years in major-league baseball with the Cleveland Indians in the late 1920s through mid-1930s. He was an outstanding hitter for Cleveland, ranking in the top ten in several career batting records for the team, and he is ranked sixth for career batting average (.323), fifth in on-base percentage (.405), and tenth in on-base percentage plus slugging (.898) in Cleveland franchise history (1901–2012).
Born May 22, 1904, in Cairo, Illinois, Morgan moved with his family to Baton Rouge in 1910. He attended Rugby Academy in New Orleans and later enrolled at Tulane University, where he earned varsity letters in track, football, and baseball, and came to be regarded as one of the university’s greatest all-around athletes. He graduated in five years as a pharmaceutical chemist.
After graduation he played for the minor league New Orleans Pelicans in 1927, where he produced fourteen triples and twelve home runs along with a .354 batting average for his rookie season. This performance caught the attention of at least eight major-league clubs, with the Cleveland Indians eventually winning the bidding. Morgan made his major-league debut with Cleveland on April 11, 1928, and posted a respectable .313 batting average with fifty-four runs batted in (RBIs) during his rookie season.
Morgan enjoyed a very productive year in 1930, batting .349 with twenty-six home runs and 136 RBIs. His twenty-six home runs set a team record for right-handed batters; the record stood for seventeen years, until future Hall of Famer Joe Gordon hit twenty-nine in 1947. Expecting a substantial pay raise for the following season, Morgan was disappointed with the Indians’ offer and was a holdout. He even went so far as to leave for his honeymoon just as Cleveland was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans for spring training. Morgan and the team eventually came to terms on a sixty-seven percent raise, from $6,000 in 1930 to $10,000 for 1931.
During 1931 Morgan elevated his batting average to .351 but totaled only eleven home runs and eighty-six RBIs. Cleveland tried to trade him but found no one was interested. The first baseman’s fielding was a serious concern; he had a total of seventy-two errors between 1928 and 1932, an average of more than fifteen errors per season.
Morgan appeared in thirty-nine games for the Indians in 1933, then returned to New Orleans to play with the Pelicans. He spent the 1934 season with the Boston Red Sox, then finished his baseball career back in New Orleans with the Pelicans in 1935 and 1936. At the age of thirty, Morgan retired from professional baseball after the 1936 season and went to work in his family’s box manufacturing business. He remained in New Orleans until his death on April 9, 1980.