Wednesday, May 28, 2008
#471 Donnie Moore
I'm skipping why this card is awesome, because it's the most heartbreaking card in the set. Everybody remembers how the Mets got past the Red Sox to win the World Series in 1986, but few remember how the Red Sox themselves got past the Angels in the 1986 ALCS in similar fashion. Moore needed one more strike to clinch the series for the Angels, instead giving up a homer to Dave Henderson. It's eerily similar to Bill Buckner's fate. Buckner's error in Game 6 of that year's World Series didn't even cost Boston that GAME and yet Buckner was blamed for losing the entire series. While it's true that Buckner's error was a significant contributing factor, numerous other Red Sox played badly after that error to lose both Games 6 and 7. Moore's gopher ball to Henderson lost the lead for the Angels in Game 5, but that game wasn't lost officially until extra innings. And then as a team, the Angels lost Games 6 and 7. And yet, Moore was nearly single-handedly blamed for the series loss.
The media often reported that Moore suffered from depression even before 1986, but that these events placed a terrible burden on Moore and eventually led to the attempted homicide of his wife, followed by his own suicide in 1989. The Wikipedia page for Moore describes much of his career and these later events in detail.
The photo of Moore on this card seems to tell the entire story of the 1986 playoffs and Moore's burden. I only wish that Moore had lived long enough to see the Angels win the World Series in 2002. In the same way that Buckner received much-overdue forgiveness and embrace from Boston, I'd like to think that Moore would have received the same.
Fortunately, the 1988 Topps set doesn't have too many cards that remind us of sad happenings. This card, though, is definitely the most heartbreaking one, serving as a reminder of the tragedy of Donnie Moore.
Cool stat: Moore's 1985 is one of just 7 seasons in history where a pitcher had 100 IP, ERA+ of 200, and 30 saves.
Deceased players and managers: 14