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October 14, 2010

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Otis Jefferson Brown

Let’s not forget pitchers Ralph Branca and Donnie Moore, both of whom gave up dramatic homeruns that cost their teams the pennant. A study in contrasts:

“In the public perception, Moore became indelibly associated with the Angels' loss of the pennant, in much the same manner that Bill Buckner became associated with the Red Sox' subsequent loss of the World Series later that year. For the next 2 years, every time Moore walked onto the field, the Angels fans booed him. They were relentless, and it wore on Moore.”

“Branca did not express bitterness over the gopher ball, but began a friendship with [Bobby] Thomson that lasted into each man's old age, including many joint television appearances. Branca's experience is in stark contrast to that of Donnie Moore of the California Angels, who gave up a dramatic home run to Boston's Dave Henderson in the 1986 American League Championship Series, and committed suicide three years later in the midst of severe career and marital problems.”
[Wikipedia articles]

Then there’s Scott Norwood, the placekicker who missed an easy field-goal attempt thus costing the Buffalo Bills a Super Bowl. When Bills’ fans cheered Norwood heartily and waved American flags during the almost-victory parade in Buffalo, Toronto sportswriters – displaying their typically pissy attitude toward all things American – derided the fans as suckers and losers. It reminded me that when Gil Hodges started the 1953 season with the worst batting slump of his career - following his 0-for-21 in the 1952 World Series - he was never booed; instead he got a standing ovation from the Brooklyn fans every time he stepped up to the plate.

Some fans have class, some don’t.

Spike Cohen

What about Donnie Moore?

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