Friday, August 15, 2014

August 15, 1939: Terry Moore Day at The Ballpark

     On August 15, 1939, the Cardinals held "Terry Moore Day" at Sportsman's Park with a 7-6 ten inning win over the visiting Chicago Cubs. Before the game the Cardinals centerfielder was given a handful of gifts, that included a 20-gauge shotgun, a hunting dog, some hunting and fishing apparel, as well as a gold pin and some coupon for free shaves at a local barber. Once the game got going he rewarded those who rewarded him by going 3 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

     The Cardinals were up 6-4 headed into the eighth, before watching the Cubs inch closer with a run in that inning, then they tied it in the ninth. The late inning rally simply set up a thrilling finish for the Birds in the tenth. Jack Russell had pitched two scoreless innings for the Baby Bears before handing the ball to a familiar name in Dizzy Dean in the tenth. The first man Dean faced was the hot hitting Moore who singled. The base knock was followed by what was supposed to be a simple sacrifice by Don Gutteridge, but the Cubs first baseman Rip Russell overthrew second base trying to gun Moore down, which moved him 90 more feet over to third. Moments later, Cardinals pitcher Bob Bowman singled off of Dean, and Moore came into score the winning run.

     The RBI was the first of Bowman's short big league career. The '39 season was his rookie season, and he showed great promise by going 13-5 with an E.R.A. of 2.60. However, is record fell off to 7-5 in 1940, and his E.R.A. ballooned to 4.33. The club sold him to the New York Giants in December of that year. He struggled in 1941, which led to a shift to those Cubs he help beat on Terry Moore Day in 1939. Bowman appeared in just one game for the Cubbies before his days on the big league diamond came to an end. Over the course of the four years he had recorded 26 wins and dropped 17 decisions. His career batting line included a light .153 average, and four RBIs. I like to think that game winning RBI that came against Dizzy Dean was one he talked about for many years to come.

     Moore could arguably considered one of the most underrated Cardinals players of all time. I would like to see the club honor the former Redbird with a "Terry Moore Day" today. I think since this generation never got to watch him play his days on the diamond might be forgotten to some degree. He found himself on as a member of the defending champion Cardinals in 1935. While Moore missed out on the championship season of the year before, he did help the club win the World Series in 1942. He like many of the men across the ranks of Major League Baseball served his country during World War II. His service began in 1943 when he was 30 years old and in his prime. He returned to the club in 1946 and helped the club win the big prize once again.

     Moore's days on the diamond ended after the 1948 season. The four time All Star was solid hitter who carried a career .280 average that knocked in 513 runs. He was often overshadowed in that St. Louis outfield by Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial who manned each of the corners. With that said those who were in the Cardinals locker room had such great respect for his leadership and his great play in the field that they called him "Captain Terry." Speaking of that great play in the field, some said that only Willie Mays and Tris Speaker could cover more ground than St. Louis' Terry Moore. If the Gold Glove award had existed he would have had a shelf full of them.  He was a true student of the game who was always looking to improve, and he was one of those guys who made the men who stood around him better.

     Before Jim Edmonds, Willie McGee, or Curt Flood, there was man named Terry Moore who patrolled centerfield for the Cardinals. He was truly one of the greats, and if his name appears on the balloting for selection into the Cardinals Hall of Fame next season I hope that the fans click on his name. From my perspective there are a handful of players that should have been inducted immediately Terry Moore and Ted Simmons are on top of that list.That is simply an opinion, but it is an opinion I stand by with conviction. The tale of "Terry Moore Day" that happened 75 years ago today is simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what he did as a Cardinal. His name is one that each and every Cardinal fan should know.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN193908150.shtml

You can look at Moore's career numbers here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/moorete01.shtml

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