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"I thought about playing in the majors after we played against them and knew that we could beat them like they beat us. We had some people with natural ability and we would beat the major leaguers some and they would beat us some.

"Shoot, I had it in my mind that I was just born a little too early. I believed that eventually things were gonna come out. 'Cause I believe there's a God somewhere and he's gonna let things work out right."
-- Red Moore


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Negro Leaguer of the Month

Negro Leaguer of the Month
July, 2000

James "Red" Moore
Position: 1B
Career: 1935-1948
Teams: Chattanooga Choo Choos, Mohawk Giants, Atlanta Black Crackers, Newark Eagles, Indianapolis ABCs, Baltimore Elite Giants, Macon Peaches

HT: 5'-10"; WT: 168 lbs
batted and threw left
Born: November 18, 1916 in Atlanta, Georgia

Red Moore was the top fielding first baseman in the Negro Leagues from the mid-30s to the mid-40s. Along with other flashy first sackers like Showboat Thomas and Goose Tatum, Red entertained crowds during warm-ups by fielding balls behind his back, and during games he often fielded throws with one hand, in an era when most fielded with two!

The second of four children born to James and Sadie Moore, Red grew up in the the Bush Mountain neighborhood of southwest Atlanta and attended Booker T. Washington High School.

As a left-handeded child short on money, Red made his first glove by taking apart a right-hander’s glove, turning it inside out, and stitching it back together.

Atlanta in the 20s and 30s was one of the hotbeds of baseball talent in the country. Besides claiming the Atlanta Black Crackers, Atlanta had some of the top industrial semipro teams in the country including the Scripto Black Cats, Atlanta Braves and Napa Auto Parts, and Moore played with and against many of these teams as a young man.

Moore started his pro career with the Macon Peaches of the Negro Southern League before being scouted and signed by the Newark Eagles in 1936 where he joined Hall of Famers Leon Day, Willie Wells, Mule Suttles and Ray Dandridge.

In 1937, Red joined the Atlanta Black Crackers at age 20 and had some sensational years with his hometown team, especially in 1938 when he helped lead the Black Crax to the Negro American League second-half pennant; Moore batted .355 in league games with good power.

In the ensuing playoffs, the Black Crackers were beaten by the Memphis Red Sox the first two games, and the rest of the series was called off when appropriate fields weren't available. After his great season, Moore was named to the post-season Southern News Services All-American Negro League Baseball Team.

Red returned to the Newark Eagles in 1939 where he teamed with Dandridge, Wells and Dick Seay to form the "million dollar infield" (not the sum of their salaries, but more the value of their golden gloves!) It should be noted that Mule Suttles also played first base and, though he was a great slugger, was not the fielder that Red was.

Red also played with the Baltimore Elite Giants, where he roomed with 17-year-old Roy Campanella and said of the youngester, "He was a nice young fellow, good to be around. He was always telling jokes. He loved baseball—he loved the game."*

Though not the typical slugging first baseman, Red was a good spray hitter and usually batted in the .280 range. It was his fielding, though, that fans came out to see and he rarely disappointed. Besides the softest hands in the business, Red had a strong arm and could turn the 3-6-3 double play like few others.

Red lost some of his best seasons to the army, and almost lost more to jail! Because he was moving around a lot as a player in the 40s, he never got his draft notice, and was confronted by military police at the 1942 North-South All-Star game, a less-prestigious form of the East-West game, but one in which only the top stars were chosen. Moore came before a judge and was given the choice: go into the army or go to jail. Moore served three years in the army, seeing action in England, Belgium, and France in a battalion attached to General George Patton’s Third Army.*

When WWII was over, his best baseball was too, but he played three more years with the Black Crackers before retiring from baseball in 1948.

Red was a "showboat" on the baseball field, but was known as a kind, soft-spoken church-going man off the field who was loyal to his lovely wife, Mary.

Moore's greatest thrill in baseball came with the Newark Eagles when he played at Yankees Stadium and hit an inside-the-park home run.

Red worked for Colonial Warehouse in Atlanta for many years after baseball and in 2006 he was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame. Moore still resides in Atlanta today.

*This information from "Red Moore: He Could Pick It! by James Riley

XXX