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Milam County, Texas - Joe Gregg Moore, Sr.


Joe Moore crossing homeplate

Joe Moore

Nickname(s): Jo-Jo, The Gause Ghost
December 25, 1908 to April 1, 2001
Played for the New York Giants: 1930-1941

Joe Gregg Moore, Sr. was born on Friday, December 25, 1908 in Gause, Milam County, Texas. He was the son of Charles William Moore & Rowena Gregg Moore. He was married to Jewell Ely on Thursday, January 29, 1931 in Gause. He died on Monday, April 1, 2001 in Bryan, Brazos County, Texas.

Jewell listening to the radio as Joe makes a homerun!

Jewell was the daughter of Jordan Alexander Ely and Effie Godfrey Ely and was born on Saturday, November 27, 1909 in Gause and died on Thursday, February 28, 1991 in Temple, Bell County, Texas.

Joe and Jewell are buried at the Gause Cemetery, Gause, Milam County, Texas.

Baseball Career

. Games Average Home Runs (HR) Runs Bated In (RBI)
Career 1335 .298 79 513
World Series .16 .274 1 3

Moore was the Giants' left fielder and, despite drawing few walks, lead-off man for much of 1932-1941. A left-handed slap-hitter, he batted over .300 five times, and led the National League in at-bats in 1935. Because Moore was a notorious first-ball hitter, some managers insisted their pitchers start him off with a ball outside the strike zone, fining those who allowed Moore a first-pitch hit. Often, Moore had to duck an opening delivery. When Hank Leiber was Moore's roommate, he told Dizzy Dean to quit throwing at Joe or he'd break every bone in Dean's body. Moore tied a record with nine hits in a five-game World Series (1937), and with two hits in one inning in the 1933 World Series.

Moore played in World Series: 1936 and 1937

The Giants lost the 1933 World Series to the New York Yankees, four games to three Giant wins.

In 1936, the Giants again lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.

Lastly, in 1937 the Yankees again prevail against the Giants in the World Series winning four games to the Giants’ two wins.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt threw out the first pitch for game three of the 1933 World Series.

Obituary - Rockdale Reporter, Thursday, April 5, 2001

Funeral services for Joe Gregg Moore Sr., 92, of Gause were held Wednesday, April 4, 2001 at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Gause with Rev. Jimmy Sanders of First Baptist Church officiating. Burial followed in Gause Cemetery. He died April 1 in Bryan.

Mr. Moore was born in Gause and was a lifelong resident there. He was a retired rancher and retired baseball player with the New York Giants, where he played in three World Series and was a member of the 1933 World Champion Team, named to six National League All Star Teams and a member and deacon of the First Baptist Church. His wife Jewell Moore preceded him in death in 1991.

Surviving are: Sons, Joe G. Moore Jr. and wife Loretta of Gause; two grandchildren, Terri Moore of College Station and Joe G. Moore III and wife Terri, Gause; two great grandchildren, Joe Gregg Moore IV and Lauren Moore, both of Gause.

"Joe Moore's Legacy: How to live your life after fame?" - Rockdale Reporter, Thursday, April 19, 2001

By Mike Brown - Reporter Editor

Several years ago, Sports Illustrated sent a reporter to Ty Cobb’s home town of Royston, Georgia.

Cobb died in 1961. The reporter found a few old-timers who remembered Cobb in person as opposed to Cobb the legend.

He sagely observed that a curtain was closing around a part of history, that soon no one who actually had contact with the living Ty Cobb would be around, that everything about him now for all time would be hearsay.

"The curtain isn’t closed yet," he wrote. "It’s open, but only a crack."

A curtain closed for a lot of us last Sunday when Joe Moore of Gause died at age 92. Joe, of course, was the New York Giants leadoff hitter from 1932 through 1941.

If you’re a fan, or knew Joe, you knew his statistics, a lifetime .298 hitter, five-time all-star, played in three world series and tied a National League record with a .391 world series average in 1937.

As important as those statistics are–and in no game are statistics as beloved as in baseball–Joe’s very presence was more important to those of us who enjoyed being around him.

For the last few years he believed that he was the oldest living Giant baseball player. He almost certainly was and he definitely was the oldest remaining Giant every day player.

To us–and I’m using "us" to mean just about everybody–Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, John McGraw, and dozens more were demigods, names so exalted that it’s hard to imagine them as fleshed-out human beings.

But to Joe, Babe Ruth was the guy who never could remember anyone’s name so he called everyone "kid" (and pronounced it "keed"), Gehrig was "just a big old friendly guy" and McGraw was the moody manager who wouldn’t play the youngster from Gause on an every-day basis for two seasons.

"He didn’t think I was big enough to play major league baseball," Joe recalled.

It wasn’t just the high profile names from that era which Joe could recall.

You’d have to be a pretty dedicated Cincinnati Reds fan to be thrilled, as I was, when Joe told me he could vividly remember Frank McCormick, Ernie Lombardi and Johnny Vander Meer.

Joe on Johnny Vander Meer–"A big left-handed Dutchman with a great fastball!" (As a left-handed hitter you can bet Joe had vivid memories of the league’s southpaws who would throw him that high, hard one.)

But there was always another stage with Joe. After the "living history-awe" stage, you always came back to what a nice man he was. The focus became Joe, not the great players he knew, not the era to which he was a link.

Confession: I’m a small-town boy and don’t ever plan to be anything else.

Joe was everything good about "small town boys" (and small-town girls). Think about it, he went from Gause, Texas, to the most exciting city in the world, played the sport that was then unchallenged as the national pastime and played it magnificently.

Then he came back to Gause and picked up his life. He knew the simple secret which has eluded, and sometimes ruined, the best athletes in the world.

Life is what happens to you after the fame has faded.

Joe and his wife Jewel, who preceded him in death a decade ago, reminded me of a line in a new Alabama song, "Love is when you want what you have; love should be as simple as that."

Lots of little things. I remember Joe telling me he had met Nolan Ryan the previous week. He was as excited as a little child with a Texas-sized grin.

And I remember him sweeping up the wreckage of a flower pot that my young son had broken during one of our visits to his home, with the consoling words "aww, we’ve got hundreds of them."

It was hard to imagine, oh, Ted Turner doing the same thing under the circumstances.

And now Joe is gone. A curtain has closed for us. But one has opened for him.

The other night at the visitation in Hearne, there were three pictures by his casket, one of Joe and Jewel, one of him in his Giants uniform and another of him crossing home plate.

Safe at home. The symbolism was wonderful.

Joe Moore, Dec. 25, 1908 to April 1, 2001. A leadoff hitter with perfect timing, Joe made it safely home on the first day of baseball season.

Bibliography

Books

Kelly, Brent, The Early All-Stars: Conversations with Standout Baseball Players. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1997. (Joe Moore - p. 81)

Langford, Walter M., Legends Of Baseball: An Oral History Of The Game's Golden Age. South Bend, IN: Diamond Communications, 1987.

Macht, Norman L., Playing for Joe McGraw. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1989. (Joe Moore - Baseball History 2, p. 50)

Williams, Peter, When The Giants Were Giants: Bill Terry And The Golden Age Of New York Baseball. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1994.

Articles

Bennett, Biff. Sport, Jan. 1954, (vol. 16, No. 1, p. 87)

Blair, Sam. “JoJo Moore Recalls Days with Old New York Giants.” Baseball Digest, March 1990, (Vol. 49, No. 3, p. 72)

Brown, Mike "Joe Moore's Legacy: How to live your life after fame?" Rockdale Reporter, Thursday, April 19, 2001.

Obituary, Rockdale Reporter, Thursday, April 5, 2001.



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Created on 24 July 2001 and last revised on last revised on 4 March 2003.