Wally Moon died final week. He was an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers within the 1950s and early 60s.
Moon was Rookie of the Year in 1954 when, changing the terribly well-liked Enos Slaughter within the Cards outfield, he batted .304 and scored 106 runs. In 1957, Moon batted .295 with 24 house runs for St. Louis.
Moon is greatest remembered for his 1959 season with the Dodgers. That yr, because the New York Times recounts, “he lofted ‘moon shot’ home runs over the short left-field screen at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to help take an aging team to a 1959 World Series championship season.”
Moon hit 19 house runs in 1959, a reasonably modest quantity for a nook outfield with greater than 600 plate appearances. However, he hit 14 of them on the Coliseum, most to left discipline the place it was 251 toes down the road with a 40 foot display. For that objective, the left-handed hitting Moon employed an inside-out swing prompt to him by former teammate (and throughout good man) Stan Musial. Moon additionally had a league-main 11 triples, various them on balls the display knocked down.
Furthermore, Moon hit 9 house runs in September, in the course of the stretch drive of the Dodgers’ memorable pennant race with Milwaukee. He added one other in Game Six of the World Series towards the Chicago White Sox, which the Dodgers gained in six video games.
Moon’s offensive manufacturing fell off somewhat in 1960. However, he gained a golden glove that yr, his just one.
Moon got here again sturdy in 1961, as a 31 yr-previous, main the league in on-base proportion and driving in a profession excessive 88 runs. After that, he grew to become a component-time participant and his productiveness fell off significantly. However, he was in a position to play for pennant-successful Dodger golf equipment in 1963 and 1965, his final yr within the majors. As Moon stated on the time, it beat choosing cotton, which he had completed as a baby.
Though Moon is greatest remembered for the “Moon shot,” I bear in mind him greatest for the “Moon trot.”
I by no means received the prospect to see Moon play in particular person, however I noticed him handle within the Carolina League, first for Prince William (Virginia) after which for Frederick (Maryland). Like different managers at that stage, Moon additionally coached third base.
Before his groups got here to bat, he would jog to the teaching field. When his staff was retired, he would jog again to the dugout.
Moon, by then almost 60 years previous and not slim, had maybe the slowest trot I’ve ever seen. But it was additionally the smoothest and, in that sense, essentially the most athletic. He was poetry in gradual movement.
To paraphrase Ernest Hemmingway, nice athletes, even aged ones, are completely different from you and me.
Moon’s New York Times obituary is right here. His SABR bio is right here.