When the California League inducts four more players into its Hall of Fame next month, half of this year's honorees will have had history in Modesto.
Infielder Joe Morgan and manager Lenn Sakata will be inducted on June 19 at the California League All-Star game in Lancaster. They will be joined by Roberto Alomar and Larry Jackson.
Morgan played for the Modesto Colts in 1963. He hit .263 and stole 21 bases in 45 games. He went on to have a Hall of Fame career in the majors. He was part of the Big Red Machine — the Cincinnati Reds World Series-winning teams of 1975 and 1976 — and also was a 10-time all-star and five-time Gold Glove winner at second base.
A June 7, 1963, Modesto Bee article pointed out his slick fielding: "Joe Morgan turned in the top glove performance of the night. In the third inning, he got (Leon) McFadden out of trouble when he dove high in the air, came down with a line drive landing on his seat and still threw to first to double the runner off."
Sakata managed the Modesto A's in 1989 and the Modesto Nuts in 2012 and 2013. Overall, the longtime manager holds the Cal League record for most wins (757), most years managed (11) and most championships (three), among other records. He led the Nuts to the championship series in 2012.
Morgan and Sakata join Modesto inductees Rickey Henderson (A's, 1977); Reggie Jackson (Reds, 1966); Dave Duncan (Reds, 1966); and Tony La Russa (Reds, 1966).
NUTS IN THE COMMUNITY — The Nuts are partnering with a coalition of agencies to support health and wellness through a program called "Intentional Walk." It's a community program encouraging Stanislaus County families to get active through walking. It lasts from June 9 to Aug. 18. The ceremonial "first walk" will be held Saturday from noon-2:30 p.m., at John Thurman Field. Those participating can track their distance using the Argus mobile app for rewards. The Nuts have created a special walking route within the confines of their ballpark to support participants both before and during their home games. The program also is supported by the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, the Heart Coalition of Stanislaus County, Champions for Change and the City of Modesto.
NUTS HOME NEXT WEEK — The Modesto Nuts, who were 23-29 entering Wednesday night's game, conclude their four-game series at Stockton tonight at 7:10. After three games in San Jose, Modesto returns to John Thurman Field on Tuesday for the start of a six-game homestand against Visalia and San Jose. Entering Wednesday night's game, shortstop Bryson Brigman was third in the Cal League in hitting at .330. Pitcher Darren McCaughan was second in earned run average at 2.04.