|Born: February 13, 1954
|Died: July 18, 1989
|September 14, 1975 for the Chicago Cubs|
Last MLB appearance
|August 7, 1988 for the California Angels|
|Earned run average||3.67|
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). He is best known for giving up an important home run in the 1986 American League Championship Series. He committed suicide shortly after his professional career ended.
Moore was born on February 13, 1954 in Lubbock, Texas. He was the cousin of MLB player Hubie Brooks. He attended Paris Junior College and Ranger College before he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the 1973 amateur draft.
In a 13-season career, Moore posted a 43–40 record with 89 saves, 416 strikeouts, and a 3.67 ERA in 655 innings. Moore also compiled a .281 batting average with 11 RBIs. He was selected as an All-Star in 1985 after developing a splitter with a slider and a breaking ball.
Moore is most 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 and series.
Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS
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 a runner on first (Rich Gedman, who had been hit by a pitch). 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.
The pitch...To left field and deep, and Downing goes back, AND IT'S GONE! Unbelievable! Astonishing! Anaheim Stadium was one strike away from turning into Fantasyland! The Red Sox lead 6–5! You're looking at one for the ages here. The Red Sox get four runs in the ninth on a pair of two-run homers by Don Baylor and Dave Henderson.
Here's the pitch...there's a fly ball to left field...Downing is going back...back...back...IT'S GONE! IT IS GONE! Dave Henderson has homered! And the Boston Red Sox have taken the lead!
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 advantage with two more games to play at Fenway Park. However, the Angels lost both games, 10–4 and 8–1.
In the public perception, Moore became indelibly associated with the Angels' loss of the pennant, in much the same manner that Bill Buckner became associated with the Red Sox' subsequent loss of the World Series that year. For the next two years, Angels fans booed when Moore walked onto the field.
Moore was battling injury at the time of the 1986 ALCS and was never able to remain injury-free following it. 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.
On July 18, 1989, Moore had an argument with his wife Tonya and shot her three times. The incident occurred in view of their three children at their Anaheim Hills home. Tonya Moore and daughter Demetria, then 17 years of age, fled from the house and Demetria drove her mother to the hospital. Both survived the shooting.
Back inside the house, still in the presence of one of his sons, Moore then committed suicide. The shooting occurred the same day as the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer, and received less press than it might have otherwise.
When he was cut by Kansas City, he'd really been depressed about that. I mean, here he is, the high-life career...then all of a sudden, it's gone. He comes back home...and the marriage, the family, is all destroyed. I mean, what else does he have left?
- — Demetria Moore on what drove her father to his final acts of desperation
- List of baseball players who died during their careers
- List of Major League Baseball all-time saves leaders
- "Donnie Moore Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
- The Obituary for Donnie Moore The Dead Ball Era, Retrieved on January 11, 2008
- Wielenga, Dave (2006-03-30). "Year Zero". Orange County Weekly. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
- Just a Game? The Tragic Story of Donnie Moore Steve Hofstetter, Retrieved on January 11, 2008
Bell, Christopher, Scapegoats: Baseballers whose Careers Are Marked by One Fateful Play (c) 2002 McFarland and Company.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Retrosheet Boxscore: 1986 ALCS Game Five
- Sporting News' Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments: Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS
- Donnie Ray Moore at Find a Grave