When Wally Moon proclaimed that
the Los Angeles Dodgers had gotten
the better of the trade that brought
him from St. Louis to the West Coast
before the 1959 season, anyone who
knew Moon realized it wasn't a brazen,
unfounded statement. It was just
a typical expression of self-confidence
from one of baseball's steadiest
Moon: Championship Catalyst
"I knew I'd have a good
year in Los Angeles," Moon
said, "because the trade
put me on the spot. Some athletes
are able to play better ball under
"I'm in that group."
After hitting just .238 in his
final of five seasons in St. Louis,
Moon put himself on the spot with
his trade proclamation. He proceeded
to assemble one of his best years
in 1959. He hit .302 for the Dodgers,
batting a spectacular .392 as
a left-handed hitter against left-handed
pitchers. Moon also hit .396 against
the Milwaukee Braves that year.
Los Angeles beat Milwaukee in
a one-game playoff to earn the
National League's World Series
In the '59 World Series against
the Chicago White Sox, Moon stroked
six hits in the six games and
played flawlessly in the field.
His two-run homer in the sixth
inning of the sixth game helped
the Dodgers to only their second
World Championship in franchise
history, and first in Los Angeles.
They would win two more titles,
in 1963 and 1965, with Moon on
Wally Moon brought one other
thing to the Dodgers and to baseball
lore: the "moon shot".
The Los Angeles Coliseum's unusual
configuration for baseball resulted
in the left field line stretching
just 251 feet from home plate.
To prevent routine fly balls from
leaving the park, a 40-foot-tall
screen stretched above the left-field
wall, making a forbidding barrier
for most hitters. Wally Moon mastered
a swing that took outside pitches
sky-high to the opposite field
and over the looming barrier.
Those clouts became known as "Moon
Shots" years before the same
term was used to describe space
flights to the brightest heavenly
body in the night sky.