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Cardinals of Yore: Terry Moore

The Cardinals tradition of great centerfielders didn't start with Jim Edmonds. It didn't even start with Willie McGee.

In the 1940s the Cardinals were considered to have the greatest outfield in the history of the National League with Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial covering the corners and team captain Terry Moore handling everything in between.

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Moore made his debut in 1935 with the Gashouse Gang, replacing Ernie Orsati, and quickly made his reputation as one of the best defensive centerfielders in the game. He covered a ton of real estate -- and that was in the days where you couldn't reach out one-handed with a 12-inch glove to snag a ball. You had to get there quick and you'd better try to catch it with two hands if you wanted to hang onto the ball with a 1930s era glove. He also had a great arm.

Moore was such a good defensive player that he finished five times in the top 20 in National League Most Valuable Player voting despite being only a .280 hitter with a .340 on base percentage and 80 career homers in 11 seasons. 

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 A true old school player, Moore was said to encourage his team mates not to make mental mistakes on the field, like missing the cutoff man or throwing to the wrong base, by putting his arm around them and sweetly whispering a reminder in their ear -- while pinching them on the base of their neck as hard as he could. A not so gentle -- yet effective -- reminder. 

Like Edmonds, Moore played a shallow centerfield so he could take away singles up the middle, but he could also effortlessly and quickly get back on balls hit deep to keep from being burned.  

Moore led the Cardinals to World Series wins in 1942 and 1946. He missed out in the 1943 and 1944 World Series -- and a possible shot at the Hall of Fame -- by serving in the military for three years in World War II.

When he returned from the war, Moore had lost a step. He played three more years as a part time player. After his career, he served as a Cardinals coach from 1949-52 and again from 1956-58. In between, he spent half a season as the manager of the Phillies. 

 Moore retired to Collinsville after his baseball days were over. He died there in March of 1995.