Little League Days: Eric Moore

Written by Eric Moore with the aid of Beth Moore

Of the three Moore boys, Eric and John were the two most interested in sports. John was always in the shadow of Eric and wanted to be wherever Eric was, and doing what Eric was doing, John was a good athlete because his heart made him a super player, whereas Eric was more athletic and his abilities far exceeded his age group – even as a young boy. His first memory of playing a sport was in Little league baseball as a shortstop and pitcher while living in San Angelo at 9 years old, with his dad coaching the team. Eric and John both learned some amazing coaching skills from their dad and took those skills into their adult years. What Eric remembers most is that Red was very gentle, and he never screamed or yelled at anyone. He was very hands-on in teaching young boys how to play baseball and many of them turned out to be super players.

It was around this time (1953) that the family finally settled in Midland, toward the end of Eric’s 6th grade. Eric started first grade in New Mexico at 5 years old, always putting him in a position to be the youngest, so in order to catch up the family held him back to repeat the 6th grade when they moved to Midland. It turned out to be a great decision. Eric matured very quickly, and by 12 years old he had reached a height of 5′ 9″ and towered over everyone. The only other kid as big as he was was Billy Owens, but his athletic skills had not developed fully.

John and his friend, Charles Hall, decided at 10 that it was time for them to play little league baseball and wanted to be on Red’s team. Tryouts weren’t going well for Charles and he felt since he was sent to the far outer field his chances of playing with John were slipping away. However, after a while a kid by the name of Charles Moore came up to him and told him he had been told to come pick some players to try out for his dad’s team and he needed to report to the other field. Seems there was a rule that each team had to have a designated number of younger 9 and 10 year olds on each team to balance it out, and John and Charles both realized their dream of making Red’s team and playing with John’s bigger brother, Eric, just might come true after all.

Since Eric’s brother John was always his shadow, Eric taught the younger guys everything he knew about baseball – batting, pitching, catching, fielding balls, and playing shortstop, John improved quickly and was soon assigned to second base playing next to Eric, who played shortstop (when he wasn’t pitching). The two of them turned a lot of double plays together, especially since Billy Owens was on first base and John McElligott was catching. Eric remembers the first time John McElligott played catcher behind home plate in all his catcher’s gear and he pitched to him. He was so little that when he squatted down with pads, a baseball glove, and mask on, all you could see were the whites of his eyes and the ball as it was headed toward him! He managed to connect with numerous pitches from Eric, though, but the balls were thrown so fast and hard that when caught they generally knocked him on his behind. He was determined to be a good player and according to Eric he did become a great catcher.

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