Saturday, February 10, 2018

Former Texas A&M, MLB star Wally Moon dies at 87

Former Texas A&M, MLB star Wally Moon dies at 87

The 1954 NL rookie of the year.

Not many of my boyhood favorites are still around.

Wally loved playing the the LA Coliseum. He was a pretty decent hitter anywhere (lifetime .289 avg with an .817 OPS), but he was a terror in the Col. He batted .321 there, with a .952 OPS, and perfected his famous "Moon shots" - high fly balls hit deliberately to the opposite field, normally outs in a typical park, but homers into the screen in the Coliseum, just 250 feet from home. That was a crazy place to play baseball. You could hit a 250-foot homer to left, but a 440-foot blast to right was a fly out.

Wally just kept getting better and better at that trick shot, and in the Dodgers' final year there he smacked the ball around at a .382 pace. (Some of the weirdest home/away splits this side of Coors Field. He batted .382 with 14 homers at home that year, but only .266 with three homers on the road.)

When the Dodgers moved into Dodger Stadium, the bell tolled for Wally. He batted .224 there, with a homer every 100 at bats.

The move to Dodger Stadium had the opposite effect on Sandy Koufax. When he pitched at the Coliseum, his opponents would just load up on right handers hitting cheap homers into the screen. The great Koufax was sub-par there (17-23 with a 4.33 ERA). In 1958 he won 2 games at home, 9 on the road. In 1960 he won 1 at home, 7 on the road.

In contrast, he was 57-15 in Dodger Stadium, with a 1.37 ERA. That's a MASSIVE difference. The move alone reduced his ERA by 1.48!

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