Donnie Moore

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Donnie Moore
Born: February 13, 1954
Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
Died: July 18, 1989(1989-07-18) (aged 35)
Anaheim, California, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 14, 1975, for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
August 7, 1988, for the California Angels
MLB statistics
Win–loss record43–40
Earned run average3.67
Career highlights and awards

Donnie Ray Moore (February 13, 1954 – July 18, 1989) was an American relief pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for the Chicago Cubs (1975, 1977–79), St. Louis Cardinals (1980), Milwaukee Brewers (1981), Atlanta Braves (1982–84) and California Angels (1985–88). Moore is best remembered for the home run he gave up to Dave Henderson while pitching for the California Angels in Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series. With only one more strike needed to clinch the team's first-ever pennant, he allowed the Boston Red Sox to come back and eventually win the game. Boston then won Games 6 and 7 to take the series. Shortly after his professional career ended, he shot his wife three times in a dispute and then died by suicide.

Early life[edit]

Moore was born on February 13, 1954, in Lubbock, Texas, and was the cousin of MLB player Hubie Brooks.[1] Moore attended Paris Junior College and Ranger College before he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the January secondary phase of the 1973 Major League Baseball draft.[2]

Playing career[edit]

In a 13-season career, Moore posted a 43–40 record with 89 saves, 416 strikeouts, and a 3.67 earned run average in 655 innings. Moore also compiled a .281 batting average with 11 runs batted in. He was selected as an All-Star in 1985 after developing a splitter with a slider and a breaking ball.

Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series[edit]

The game took place on October 12, 1986 in Anaheim. The Angels held a 3–1 series lead against the Boston Red Sox. In the game, the Angels held a 5–2 lead going into the ninth inning. A home run by Boston's Don Baylor made it a 5–4 game.

When Moore came in to pitch, there were two outs and Rich Gedman, who had been hit by a pitch, was on first base. The Angels were one strike away from advancing to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Dave Henderson hit a 2–2 pitch off Moore for a home run to give the Red Sox a 6–5 lead. The Angels were able to score a run in the bottom of the ninth, pushing the game into extra innings.

Moore remained in the game for the Angels; he was able to stifle a tenth inning Red Sox rally by getting Jim Rice to ground into a double play. Nonetheless, the Red Sox were able to score off Moore in the 11th inning via a sacrifice fly by Henderson. The Angels did not score in the bottom of the 11th, and lost the game 7–6. The defeat left the Angels with a 3–2 series advantage with two more games to play at Fenway Park. However, the Angels lost both games, by scores of 10–4 and 8–1.

After Game 5, Moore admitted that he made a bad pitch to Henderson. "I was throwing fastballs and Henderson was fouling them off, so I went with the split-finger, thought maybe I'd catch him off guard, but it was right in his swing."[3]

Later career[edit]

Moore was battling injury at the time of the 1986 American League Championship Series and was never able to remain injury-free afterward. After saving nine more games in 41 appearances over the next two seasons, Moore was released by the Angels. He signed with the Kansas City Royals for the 1989 season, but played only in the minor leagues before being released in June of that year, ending his 14-year career in baseball.

Shooting and suicide[edit]

On July 18, 1989, Moore had an argument with his wife Tonya and shot her three times with a .45 pistol.[4] The incident occurred at their Anaheim Hills home, with their three children in the house at the time.[4] Tonya Moore and daughter Demetria, then 17 years of age, fled from the house and Demetria drove her mother to the hospital. Tonya survived the shooting.[4] Back inside the house, still in the presence of at least one of his sons, Moore then put the gun to his head and committed suicide. He was 35.[4]


  1. ^ Plaschke, Bill (April 4, 1990). "When Grief Hit, So Did He". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "1st Round of the 1973 MLB January Draft-Secondary Phase". Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Ostler, Scott (October 13, 1986) "Moore Didn't Have Anywhere Near Enough" The Los Angeles Times, page 20
  4. ^ a b c d Bailey, Eric; Eng, Lily (July 19, 1989). "Donnie Moore Dies in Apparent Suicide". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 2, 2016.

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