Remembering Wally Moon
In this post we turn our spotlight on Wally Moon, an outfielder and first baseman who put together a very good, twelve-year career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers. Six feet tall, with a slender but muscular build, Moon was a potent weapon who stole bases, hit line drives, clubbed home runs, excelled with the leather and was very good at getting on base. He played a significant role on three World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers teams in 1959, 1963 and 1965. He was a two-time All Star, won a Gold Glove, and used his speed to leg out eleven triples in 1959, which led the National League. Yet despite all of this talent, when some baseball fans hear his name, the first thing they recall are the bushy eyebrows that shaded his eyes and seemed to envelop the bridge of his nose, and that is truly unfair to him, and really, to those fans, too. Wally Moon was very good. Here are some key things to recall in connection with his playing days:
* Wally was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1950.
* He attended Texas A + M University. During his first three seasons, 1950 to 1952, he remained at the university until June so that he could continue working on his college degree. Then, after the semester concluded, he reported to his minor league team.
* He moved up to Triple AAA for the 1953 season, where he hit .307 for the Rochester Red Wings.
* His first year with the Cardinals, 1954, was a triumph. His 12 home runs and 76 runs batted in coupled with a slash line of .304/.371/.806 earned him the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award.
* Wally hit a home run in his first major league at bat.
* When Wally got hot, he would go on fire. For example, from August 1 to August 7, 1956, he went 20 for 32, for a lusty .625 batting average.
* Wally holds Hall of Famer Stan Musial in the highest regard. He said “Stan the Man” was a great mentor, and probably the finest baseball player he ever laid eyes on. He recalls that Musial took him under his wing as a youngster and taught him how to be a big-leaguer and enjoy the game.
* There is an interesting story about Wally’s 1962 Topps baseball card. A printing error that year gave dozens of cards a strange, green tint. Although these cards were released, Topps made the decision to reprint them. When they did so, they changed the pictures of some of the players. Wally Moon was one of these players. Can you tell which card is the regular print, and which is the green-tint variation? You will find the answer on our Grubby Glove – All Things Baseball Facebook page, which can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/grubbyglove .
* We’ll finish this blog post by presenting a few more images featuring Wally Moon that we hope you enjoy. From top to bottom, they are his 1961 Topps card, the October 1961 of SPORT magazine, his 1955 Topps card and his 1961 Bell Brand Dodgers card. The whole team here at Grubby Glove thanks our teammate Andy Krisel, who requested a post on Wally Moon. Andy, we hope you enjoyed this post and that you learned something about Wally that you didn’t know. For additional reading about Wally Moon, check out his book, Moon Shots. His website, http://wallymoon.com/home.htm, may also be of interest.