Wally Moon

Wallace Wade Moon[1] (April 3, 1930 – February 9, 2018) was an American professional baseball outfielder in Major League Baseball. Moon played his 12-year career in the major leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals (1954–58) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1959–65). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

Moon was the 1954 National League Rookie of the Year. He was an All-Star for two seasons and a Gold Glove winner one season. Moon batted .295 or more for seven seasons. He led the National League in triples in 1959 and in fielding percentage as a left fielder in 1960 and 1961.

Moon was a 3-time World Series champion with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959, 1963, and 1965.

Wally Moon
Wally Moon 1961
Moon in 1961.
Outfielder
Born: April 3, 1930
Bay, Arkansas
Died: February 9, 2018 (aged 87)
Bryan, Texas
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 13, 1954, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 12, 1965, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
Batting average.289
Home runs142
Runs batted in661
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Youth

Moon was named after Wallace Wade, a former college football coach at the University of Alabama and Duke University. From a family of educators, he earned a master's degree in administrative education from Texas A&M University in College Station while he was still in the minor leagues.[1] He coached from 1953 to 1954 at Lake City, also in Craighead County, Arkansas.

Major league career

In the spring of 1954, the Cardinals told Moon to report to their minor league spring training camp. He ignored the order and reported instead to St. Petersburg with the Cardinals. He said that he would make the team or quit baseball. They let him stay, and by the end of the spring training he replaced Enos Slaughter in the outfield. To make room for him on the roster, St. Louis sent Slaughter to the New York Yankees.

Moon made his major league debut on April 13, 1954. In his first at-bat, despite chants of "We want Slaughter", he belted a home run against the Chicago Cubs; in the same game Tom Alston became the first African American to play for the Cardinals. Moon finished his rookie season with a .304 batting average, 12 home runs, 76 runs batted in, and career-high numbers in runs (106), hits (193), doubles (29), and stolen bases (18) in 151 games. He earned both the MLB Rookie of the Year and The Sporting News Rookie of the Year honors. Almost a unanimous vote, Moon won easily over Ernie Banks, Gene Conley and Hank Aaron.[1]

A fine left fielder with a good arm, Moon also played right field and center as well as first base. He hit a career-high 24 homers in 1957, and made the All-Star team in 1957 and 1959 (two games were played). Twice in his career, Moon compiled double figures in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases: 22, 11, 16, 12 in 1956, and 26, 11, 19, 15 in 1959, his first year with the Dodgers.

Wally Moon - St. Louis Cardinals - 1957
Moon in 1957

After the 1958 season, the Cardinals traded Moon to the Dodgers for outfielder Gino Cimoli. Both players were coming off years when they batted below .250; the Cardinals also sent pitcher Phil Paine, who never played for the Dodgers. Moon was initially concerned about batting in the converted Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because right field was 440 feet away, making it difficult for a left-handed batter. However, the left field seats were only 251 feet away, protected by a 42-foot high screen. After consulting with friend and mentor Stan Musial, Moon adjusted his batting stance to emphasize hitting to left. The results were very successful.[1] In his first season with the Dodgers, the team won the World Championship. Moon provided support in the lineup for Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Don Demeter. He gained quick public acclaim in 1959 for the "Moon shots" that he hit over the high left field screen.[1][2] Moon hit a home run in the sixth and final game of that World Series, which the Dodgers won over the Chicago White Sox. He also caught Luis Aparicio's fly ball for the final out of the Series.

Moon was a Gold Glove Award winner for left field in 1960 leading National League left fielders in assists, double plays, and fielding percentage. He had another good season in 1961, batting .328 with 17 home runs and 88 runs batted in while leading National League left fielders in fielding percentage.

A career .289 hitter, Moon hit 142 home runs with 661 runs batted in during 1457 games, with a .371 on-base percentage and a .445 slugging average for a combined .816 on-base plus slugging percentage. His career fielding percentage at all three outfield positions and first base was .980. He also scored the last run ever in the Coliseum.[1] He retired as a player after the 1965 season.

Post-playing career

In 1969, Moon was a batting coach for the San Diego Padres, joining manager Preston Gómez and pitching coach and former teammate Roger Craig.

Moon went on to become athletic director and baseball coach at John Brown University, and a coach and minor league manager and owner of the San Antonio Dodgers for four years beginning in the late 1970s. Moon moved to Bryan, Texas, where he lived for over 25 years. He retired in 1998. He was married to Bettye and had five children and seven grandchildren.[1]

Moon is featured on many websites featuring baseball cards, as he sported a prominent unibrow.

The January 27, 1960 episode ("The Larry Hanify Story") of the popular TV western Wagon Train featured Moon in a brief role. The end credits included: "And Introducing Wally Moon as Sheriff Bender." There was no baseball tie-in with his character, but the sheriff was hit by a bullet during a shoot-out with Tommy Sands' bad guy.

Moon died on February 9, 2018 at the age of 87.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Steve Springer, "Dodgers' Moon found success in Coliseum", Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2008.
  2. ^ Jackson, Frank (August 7, 2012). "Moon Shots". hardballtimes.com. The Hardball Times. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  3. ^ Former Texas A&M great, MLB star Wally Moon dies at 87

External links

1954 Major League Baseball season

The 1954 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 13 to October 2, 1954. For the second consecutive season, a MLB franchise relocated, as the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Orioles, who played their home games at Memorial Stadium.

1954 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1954 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 73rd season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 63rd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 72–82 during the season and finished 6th in the National League.

1955 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1955 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 74th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 64th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 68–86 during the season and finished seventh in the National League, 30½ games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Outfielder Bill Virdon won the Rookie of the Year Award this year, batting .281, with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs. This was the second consecutive year a Cardinal won the Rookie of the Year Award, with Wally Moon winning the previous season. The Cardinals would have this occur again in 1985 and 1986, with Vince Coleman and Todd Worrell, respectively.

1956 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1956 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 75th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 65th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 76–78 during the season and finished 4th in the National League.

1957 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1957 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 76th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 66th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 87–67 during the season and finished second in the National League, eight games behind the Milwaukee Braves.

1958 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1958 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 77th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 67th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 72–82 during the season and finished 5th in the National League.

1959 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers finished in a first-place tie with the Milwaukee Braves, with each club going 86–68. The Dodgers won the pennant as they swept the Braves in a best-of-three playoff series. They went on to defeat the Chicago White Sox in the 1959 World Series in just their second season since leaving Brooklyn. The Dodgers led all 16 Major League Baseball clubs in home attendance, drawing 2,071,045 fans to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (first game)

The 1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 26th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues composing Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 7, 1959, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NL. The game resulted in a 5–4 victory for the National League. An unprecedented second game was scheduled for later in the season in Los Angeles, California.

1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (second game)

The 1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 27th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues composing Major League Baseball. The game was played on August 3, 1959, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers of the NL. The game resulted in a 5–3 victory for the American League. This was the second of two All-Star Games played in 1959, the first game having been played on July 7 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The first Midsummer Classic to be played on the West Coast, this was also one of only two All-Star Games to be played outside the month of July, the other being in 1981.

1959 National League tie-breaker series

The 1959 National League tie-breaker series was a best-of-three playoff series at the conclusion of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1959 regular season to decide the winner of the National League (NL) pennant. The playoff series was necessary after Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Braves finished the season with identical win–loss records of 86–68 (.558) on Sunday, September 27, three games ahead of the San Francisco Giants. It was the first tie-breaker in the majors in eight years, also in the National League.

The tie-breaker games were played on September 28 and 29. All the games were scheduled as day games, the opener on Monday was at Milwaukee County Stadium and the second on Tuesday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Dodgers won a coin flip late in the season that gave them home field advantage for the series (games two and three). If needed, the third game was scheduled for Wednesday, September 30. The Dodgers had hoped for night games in Los Angeles to take advantage of the Coliseum's seating capacity; the series was nationally televised by ABC.

Following a rain-delayed start in Milwaukee, the Dodgers won the first game 3–2, with a solo home run in the sixth by John Roseboro breaking a 2–2 tie and providing the margin of victory. The next day in Los Angeles, the Dodgers took the series and the pennant with another one-run win; they rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie and prevailed 6–5 in extra innings. This victory advanced the Dodgers to the World Series, in which they defeated the Chicago White Sox in six games.

In baseball statistics, the tie-breaker series counted as the 155th and 156th regular season games for both teams.

1959 World Series

The 1959 World Series featured the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers beating the American League champion Chicago White Sox, 4–2. Each of the three games played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum drew record crowds, Game 5's attendance of 92,706 continues to be a World Series record to this day, and one which cannot feasibly be broken in any modern ballpark.

It was the first pennant for the White Sox in 40 years (since the 1919 Black Sox Scandal). They would have to wait until their world championship season of 2005 to win another pennant. The Dodgers won their first pennant since moving from Brooklyn in 1958 by defeating the Milwaukee Braves, 2–0, in a best-of-three-games pennant playoff. It was the Dodgers' second World Series victory in five years, their first in Los Angeles, and marked the first championship for a West Coast team.

It was the first World Series in which no pitcher for either side pitched a complete game.

As Vin Scully remarked in his narration for the official World Series film, "What a change of scenery!" This was the only Fall Classic played during the period from 1949 through 1964 in which no games were played in New York City, breaking the streak of the city that documentary filmmaker Ken Burns later called the era's "Capital of Baseball".

1960 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1960 Los Angeles Dodgers finished the season at 82–72, in fourth place in the National League race, 13 games behind the NL and World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

1961 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1961 Los Angeles Dodgers finished in second place in the National League with a record of 89–65, four games behind the Cincinnati Reds. 1961 was the fourth season for the Dodgers in Los Angeles. It was also the Dodgers final season of playing their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, since they moved to their new stadium the following season.

1962 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers season was the fifth for the team in Southern California, and the 73rd for the franchise in the National League. After spending the previous four seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, they began the season by opening Dodger Stadium, the team's new ballpark. The stadium opened on April 10 with a game against the Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers proceeded to win a Los Angeles record 102 games and tied the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League. The Giants won the ensuing playoff series two games to one.

1964 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1964 Los Angeles Dodgers finished with a record of 80–82, 13 games behind the National League and World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, tied for sixth place with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

John Montefusco

John Joseph Montefusco Jr. (born May 25, 1950), nicknamed "The Count," is a former Major League Baseball pitcher from 1974 to 1986 for the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and New York Yankees.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers seasons

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the second most successful franchise in the National League and the third-most successful and second-most wealthy in Major League Baseball after the New York Yankees. The franchise was formerly based in Brooklyn and known originally as the "Grays" or "Trolley Dodgers" after the trams which supporters had to avoid to enter games. Later it became known successively as the "Bridegrooms", "Superbas", "Dodgers" and "Robins"; the present "Dodgers" was firmly established in 1932.

The franchise has won the World Series six times and lost a further 13, and like the Yankees and Cardinals have never lost 100 games in a season since World War I, with their worst record since then being in 1992 with 63 wins and their best records ever being in 1953 with 105 wins and both 1942 and 2017 with 104. Their most successful period, between 1947 and 1966 with ten World Series appearances and only two seasons with 71 or more losses (one of them the year they moved to Los Angeles after a dispute over stadium funding), was famous for the Dodgers becoming the first Major League Baseball team to incorporate African American players, led by Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.

Richard A. Meyer

Richard A. Meyer was an American businessman, an executive with the Anheuser-Busch Companies (1937–74) and the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (1953–74). He was president of Anheuser-Busch from 1971–74 and a longtime senior manager for and aide to brewery owner August A. Busch, Jr.

In 1953, when Busch purchased the Cardinals from Fred Saigh, he named brewery executive Meyer the general manager of the franchise because Meyer had been a baseball player as a youth. Although a Major League general manager during the 1950s typically combined career-long experience in baseball operations (including talent evaluation and player acquisition and development) as well as business acumen, Meyer held the position for two full seasons, during which time the Cardinals introduced three standout rookies: outfielders Wally Moon and Bill Virdon and third baseman Ken Boyer. They broke the franchise's "color line" when their first African-American baseball player, first baseman Tom Alston, made his National League debut on April 13, 1954. But the Redbirds struggled on the field: they went 140–168, finished sixth (1954) and seventh (1955) in the National League, and changed managers, from Eddie Stanky to Harry Walker, on May 27, 1955.

Busch and Meyer then hired veteran baseball executive Frank Lane, formerly with the Chicago White Sox, to assume the team's general manager duties on October 6, 1955. Meyer returned to the brewery but remained executive vice president of the Cardinals, serving the team for another 18 years.

Meyer, then 57, resigned from the brewery and the Cardinals in February 1974 after 38 years with Anheuser-Busch after a disagreement with Busch over personnel reduction.

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