Introducing… Wally Moon

A solid outfielder of the 1950s, Moon was capable of playing anywhere in the pasture.  Although he was predominately a left fielder, Wally held his own in over 400 starts in right and 200 in center field.  A left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, Moon was a two-time All-Star, a Gold Glove winner and the Rookie of the Year in 1954.  He edged out two Hall of Famers in the vote: Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron and a fine pitcher named Gene Conley.  Moon only played for the Cardinals and Dodgers and was a member of two World Series champions.

Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1950, Wally showed enough promise in spring training of 1954 to break camp with the Redbirds as their everyday center fielder.  His rookie season was the only year he had a set position in St. Louis.  The Redbirds shuffled him around the outfield and also put him at first base upon occasion.  But his freshman year was spent in the middle of the outfield and Wally impressed.  He was a .304 hitter as a rookie and finished sixth in runs scored with 106.  He established career highs in hits, doubles, stolen bases and total bases that he would never match after his first season. 

The Cardinals used their reigning Rookie of the Year in various capacities in 1955.  Moon started 51 games at first and made starts at every outfield station.  Despite not knowing where he’d be penciled into the lineup, Wally responded with 19 homeruns on a .295 batting average.  The following season he perfected his batting eye by drawing 80 walks compared to just 50 strikeouts.  The Arkansas native had a robust .390 OBP and finished third in the NL with eleven triples.  In 1957 Wally hit a personal best 24 dingers and showed remarkable consistency in the batting average department.  In his first four years in the Majors, his BA never exceeded .304 but never fell below .295.

But his consistency would abandon him in 1958.  After his All-Star year in ’57, Moon fell off in 1958.  He only managed a .238 batting average and just 38 RBI.  He gave the Redbirds four solid seasons but after one off year they dealt him to the Dodgers in a foolish trade for inferior outfielder Gino Cimoli.  Moon got back on track in Los Angeles while Cimoli was never more than a decent fourth outfielder.  Wally paced the NL in triples his first year on the west coast and returned to the .300 Club with a .302 BA.  An All-Star again, Wally scored 93 runs and had a stellar on-base percentage of .394.  The trade to the Dodgers enabled Moon to make his first World Series appearance and his Dodgers toppled the White Sox in the ’59 Fall Classic.  Moon blasted a homer in the contest.

Wally hit .299 in 1960 before enjoying his best year since his rookie season in ’61.  That year he led the NL with a mighty .434 OBP and had an OPS of .940.  Wally drove in 88 runs and even though he was just 31 years old, it would be his last great season.  He only played 95 games in 1962 and his production fell off afterwards.  In his last year as a regular, he hit .262 with the 1963 Dodgers but failed to reach double-digits in  homeruns or tally 50 RBI.  He spent two final years in the Majors as a reserve before calling it a career.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,457/R 737/H 1,399/2B 212/3B 60/HR 142/RBI 661/SB 89/BB 644/SO 591/BA .289/OBP .371/SA .445

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