The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Moon shots

1959_0930_moon Jan. 18, 1958
Los Angeles

You young persons may wonder what we ancient ones are talking about when we refer to the Dodgers' "Moon shots." The way it was originally explained to me, Moon shots were named for Dodger Wallace Wade "Wally" Moon, acquired from the Cardinals in a trade for Gino Cimoli in 1958. Moon, according to this explanation, developed a knack for hitting home runs over the screens used to configure the Coliseum for baseball.

Well, not exactly.

As used by The Times in the 1950s, a Moon shot was any hit by Moon in any Dodger game, anywhere. For example, a 13th-inning Moon shot to the center-field bleachers beat the Cubs 4-3 in Chicago, Aug.  18, 1960.  Nor did a Moon shot have to be a home run. A Moon shot double in the ninth inning beat the Braves 2-1, July 1, 1963.

And yes, the Dodgers did tinker with the layout of the Coliseum. By 1959 it looked like this:

1959_0110_coliseum_3
 

And the original layout:

 

1958_0118_sports
 
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Comments (2)

A funny story regarding Mr. Moon: In 1989, the Dodgers held their Old-Timers Day, and the alums played a brief game (Tom Lasorda even pitched). When Moon came up, time was called and a pitcher's batting practice screen was carried over to the middle of left field, at about the 250-foot mark, to "replicate" the Coliseum. So what does Moon do? He singles to right!

I took my family to that 1989 Old Timers Game and watched my old college coach, Wally Moon not only single to right, but later double and then slide into home-head first. what a thrill.


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