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 Player Profile: Donnie Moore
Name: Donnie Ray Moore
Right-handed pitcher
Lived: 1954 - 1989
Career span: 1975, 1977 - 1988
Hall of Fame? No
Primary teams: California Angeles (1985-1988)
Best Year: 1985: 8-8, 1.92 ERA, 31 saves

Why he is significant: Moore is one of the tragic figures in baseball history. He is best known for a single pitch: the one-strike-away-from-the-World-Series home run ball to Dave Henderson in the ninth inning of game five of the 1986 ALCS. Boston went on to win that game, and two subsequent games to win the ALCS and deny the Angels their first World Series appearance. Rarely has a more devastating pitch been thrown for a long-suffering franchise, and Moore unfortunately never got over it. He continued to brood over it, and eventually committed suicide in 1989. He thus serves as a tragic object lesson in the need to keep things in perspective. Baseball, as great as it is, should not be a matter of life and death. Moore was a decent closer for Atlanta and California in the period 1984 - 1986, saving 68 games in that span. His career was otherwise unremarkable, and would be little remembered except for Henderson's dramatic homer and its tragic aftermath.


The following comment was submitted by Matt Baldassarre:

While I enjoyed the article about Donnie Moore (in his profile) and his fateful pitch to Dave Henderson in the 1986 ALCS, there is a little more to the story, and his eventual suicide. Moore had just signed a multi million dollar deal with the Angels, the first big money contract of his career, in 1986. After the series however, not only was Moore tough on himself, but the fans were also brutal. He was booed in subsequent appearances, and while he was on the DL for part of the 87 season, he was criticized by the press and even Angels management as malingering, especially after signing such a large contract. He was out of baseball after the '88 season, and there were no teams that were interested in giving him a chance. Moore's life continued to unravel, he had fallen back into problems with alcohol and his marriage was failing. While most of these events still go back to the Henderson pitch in 1986, Moore's brooding was compounded by criticism from fans, teammates and team management who should have supported him. They as well as Moore should have remembered that Baseball is still only a game.

There is an excellent book called "One Pitch Away" (One Strike Away?) about the entire 1986 post season. It covers not only Moore, but Dave Henderson, Doug DeCinces, Bill Buckner, Calvin Schiraldi, Bob Stanley, Mookie Wilson, Bob Knepper, Mike Scott and others.


There are two books on the 1986 post-season with similar titles: One Pitch Away: the Players' Stories of the 1986 League Championships and World Series by Mike Sowell, andOne Strike Away: The Story of the 1986 Red Sox, by Dan Shaughnessy. The books are out-of-print, but should be available in many libraries or on amazon.com.


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