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Donnie Moore’s Daughter Recalls Pain

October 5, 2002 GMT

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ Demetria Moore agonized over the struggle Anaheim reliever Ben Weber went through in Game 1 of the AL division series.

``I thought, ‘Poor pitcher.’ I felt sorry for him, I thought about what my father went through,″ the 30-year-old daughter of the late Donnie Moore told the Orange County Register.

Weber took the loss in the opener, charged with two runs in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees. The Angels came back to even the series, and Game 3 was Friday night.

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In 1986, Donnie Moore was one strike away from closing a playoff game that would’ve sent the Angels to the World Series for the first time.

Instead, Moore gave up a ninth-inning home run in Game 5 that shifted the momentum of the series and sent the Boston Red Sox to the World Series.

Moore was blamed and booed for the remainder of his 13-year career for a pitch so many believed kept the Angels from advancing.

His only daughter believes that pitch on Oct. 12, 1986, plunged her father into inconsolable depression and suicide three years later. Scars from that day never healed.

``I think of my father when I hear people talk about ‘the last time the Angels were in the playoffs’ and being ’one strike away in ’86 with Donnie Moore,‴ she said.

Most people only remember Donnie Moore for that one pitch.

``He was so sensitive,″ his daughter said. ``My father took pride in what he did. Baseball was all he knew. It was his life, his dream. He was doing what he loved.″

Sixteen years ago, the Angels led the Red Sox, three games to one, going into Game 5 of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series. It was 5-4 in the top of the ninth inning with two outs, when Moore delivered the pitch that Dave Henderson turned into a two-run homer.

The Angels came back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning, but lost in extra innings, 7-6, and the Angels went on to lose the playoff series.

``I’ll think about that (pitch) until the day I die ...″ Moore said in 1988. ``Nobody else wanted the blame, so I said, ’I’ll take the blame.‴

Moore’s daughter will never forget the boos when her dad appeared at Anaheim Stadium after that. The fans weren’t booing a player, they were booing her dad.

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``Fans have no idea how mean they can be,″ she said. ``These players are people. They’re human. Imagine having a whole stadium boo you the rest of your life because you made one mistake.″

``I don’t think it was fair. Yes, he was pitching. Yes, he gave up a home run. But the Angels could’ve come back. My father didn’t make them lose the next two games,″ she said.

Moore’s final season with the Angels was 1988, closing a major league career that spanned 13 years, five teams, 43 wins and 40 losses, including that Game 5. He attempted a comeback with a Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals but was released June 12, 1989.

His career was over.

``The last thing I remember about my dad was him feeling lonely,″ his daughter said. ``He was quiet. I wish he would have talked to somebody.″

On July 18, 1989, her parents argued and Moore shot his wife three times before turning the gun on himself with a fatal bullet wound in his head. His wife survived.

``I can’t think of anything positive as far as what my father experienced with that team,″ their daughter said. ``And I’m sure my mother would say the same thing.″