Hockey Hall of Famer Al Morganti to be Honored by PSWA
It’s been a banner few months for NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Al Morganti, an Inquirer alumnus who is also well-known for his work with WIP.
In November, Morganti, who covered the Flyers for The Inquirer from 1979 to 1989 before shifting to radio and TV, reached the Hockey Hall of Fame as he earned the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism.
On Jan. 23, he is being honored by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association, and will receive a special achievement award for going into the writers’ wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
In an interview after it was announced he was going into the Hall, Morganti credited those who follow sports for indirectly pushing him.
“The fans in Philly make the media better because they’re so jacked up that you have to be jacked up,” he said.
He said it was “no coincidence that so many good media people have come out of Philly. Just like the players have to raise their game because of the fans, you have to raise your game because they know their stuff.”
He called Philly the “center” of the media universe.
Morganti, 69, has been “Mr. Versatility” during his long career. He has worked primarily on radio and TV since covering the Flyers for The Inquirer. He was an NHL analyst for ESPN from 1993 to 2005, and he did WIP’s popular morning show for many years. The New England native may soon do a weekend show for the station, along with a podcast.
“They’ve been great to me,” he said.
A Boston University graduate, Morganti was surprised to get named to the Hall because he thought voters would have a difficult time differentiating whether he was on the print or broadcast side.
“I was thrilled because I grew up writing,” he said. “… I know the work it takes writing, which is kind of the basis for everything. It was so much fun covering those (Flyers) teams in the ’80s with that group of writers.”
It was especially rewarding, he said, because he worked alongside the late Jay Greenberg, the Flyers beat writer for the Daily News from 1978 to 1989. Greenberg went into the Hall in 2013.
“It’s kind of hard to believe that two guys covering the same team at the same time” are in the Hall, Morganti said. “I became a better writer because of Jay.”
Morganti pointed out that during that time, Jayson Stark covered the Phillies for The Inquirer and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Ray Didinger was writing for the Daily News, and he is now in the Football Hall of Fame.
Yes, it was the golden age of Philadelphia sportswriters, a group that included Bill Lyon, Stan Hochman, Mark Whicker, and Frank Dolson, among many others.
Morganti, who said it was “humbling” to go into the Hall because of his peers’ vote, covered high school and college hockey for the Boston Globe early in his career.
“I go back so far that I covered Paul Holmgren when he was with the University of Minnesota and playing against Harvard,” he said.
Before going to The Inquirer, Morganti was the Flames’ beat writer in Atlanta. During his year in Atlanta, he covered Bill Clement, then a Flames forward.
“And then we both started together at ESPN” years later, Morganti said.
They both took the journey together. From Philly to ESPN and to the Hall of Fame, as both were inducted in November.
By Sam Carchidi
Philly Hockey Now
(Photo, NBC Sports Philadelphia)