You think I may be writing about the 1973 film of the same name staring Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum. But alas no, I am writing about Wallace “Wally” Wade Moon 1954 Rookie of the Year. I have been working my way through our needs list for Topps vintage and have become very familiar with Wally, perhaps I am obsessed with his unibrow, but honestly he never gets much attention from the Redbird Pravda machine-so I thought I should look in to him and see what I find. Born in Arkansas, Wally was invited to Minor League Spring training in 1954. However, he blew that off and reported to St. Pete the regular Redbird camp instead. Rolled the dice-he said if he didn’t make the big club he would quit baseball-ballsy! As a result, at the end of Spring Training he replaced the Redbird legend Enos Slaughter in the outfield. Enos would be sent to the Yanks to make space for Wally on the roster.
Moon made his debut with the big club on April 13th, 1954-almost 62 years to the date of this post. For his rookie season he had a .304 batting average, 12 home runs, 76 RBIs, 106 runs scored, 193 hits, 29 doubles, and 18 stolen bases in 151 games. This performance won him Rookie of the Year. Not a big deal? He won over Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron. For his career he was voted to two All-Star teams, 1957 and 1959. At the end of 1958 he was traded to the new LA Dodgers team for Gino Cimoli. Neither of which were having good seasons at the time. He and the Dodgers won their first World Series in 1960 and he caught Luis Aparicio's fly ball for the final out of the Series. 1960 was a Gold Glove season for him and he had a strong 1961 season. He stayed with the Dodgers for the 1965 season but was done after that and didn’t play in another season in the Majors having spent the previous four seasons as a part time player for the Dodgers. He would end his career making a pinch hit appearance in the 1965 World Series for the Dodgers. He grounded out for his final Major League at bat.
After his Major League career ended he became the baseball coach and athletic director of John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Though he spent 10 years as coach of the John Brown team he did spend 1969 as hitting coach of the San Diego Padres.
Moon bought a Texas League Minor League franchise in San Antonio which eventually failed and cost Wally mucho $$. In 1987 Wally would go on to manage Class A Prince William (Yanks) club. He was let go from this position and ended up managing the Frederick (Maryland) Keys. The Keys would win the Carolina League Championship in 1990 but didn’t do well the following year and he left.
Wally is still with us and is 86 years old and currently living in Bryan, TX.
I have gotten a little of Wally obsession going and located these items on the Bay. I haven’t purchased any but the smokes ad is intriguing.