Donnie Moore

Donnie Moore’s up-and-down career was most notable for one pitch. One strike away from putting California in the World Series, he allowed a Dave Henderson home run in Game Five of the 1986 LCS. Henderson’s game-winning sacrifice fly off Moore then turned the series in favor of victorious Boston. Moore’s shocking suicide less than a year after the end of his major league career was partially a result of his brooding on this failure; he said he had become another Ralph Branca, doomed to be remembered for just one pitch and one failure. His career was ended by a string of injuries, and he was also dismayed by his inability to continue playing; shortly before his death he had been released by a minor league team.

After signing a $3 million contract with the Angels in 1985, Moore set a club record with 31 saves, surpassing his entire previous major league total, and was named club MVP. Trying to justify his big contract, Moore tried to pitch despite a sore shoulder in 1986 and succumbed to nerve irritation in his right rib cage in 1987.

More effective against lefthanders than right-handers, the righthanded Texan led the 1978 Cubs in games pitched, but was overshadowed by Bruce Sutter and Willie Hernandez. He tied for the Atlanta lead in games pitched in 1983 and led the club in 1984.