Happy Birthday, Walt (Moose) Moryn!

Moose Moryn Baseball Card 1959.pngShort on time this morning, I thought I’d just post this article I found that details the baseball life of Moose Moryn since today is his birthday.  (Article below.)

My personal memory of Moose, who played before I was born, is this grainy footage of Moose making a game-ending catch of a sinking liner while Jack Brickhouse implores Moose to make the catch.  It saves a no-hitter thrown by Don Cardwell, who just joined the Cubs in a trade – it was Cardwell’s first start with the Cubs.  WGN would occasionally drop the clip in during a Cubs broadcast from time to time.

Here’s the video clip.

Pirates Fourth Employers of Slugger Moose Moryn

Outfielder Walter Joseph (Moose) Moryn was born April 12, 1926 at St. Paul, Minn.

A right-throwing, left-batting, 6-foot-2 1/2, 210-pounder, Moryn has blond hair and blue eyes. Of Polish ancestry he married Ruth Resnick May 18, 1959. He attended Winona Teachers College for a year and a half prior to going into organized ball — Pittsburgh is his fourth major stop.

Moose MorynHe broke into the majors in 1954 with Brooklyn and played parts of the ’54 and ’55 seasons with them before being traded to the Chicago Cubs. Walt was a fixture in the Cubs’ outfield till mid-way in the 1960 season when he was again traded to St. Louis, and it was from the Cards that the Bucs obtained him on waivers.

Following his graduation from Harding High School in St. Paul, Walt entered military service in World War II, and served three years in the U.S. Navy, stationed in the South Pacific. After his service discharge, he attended Winona Teachers College, but gave up college to enter pro ball.

He signed with the Brooklyn organization in 1948 and in his first year hit .338 in 124 games for Sheboygan in the Wisconsin State League. He played on Dodger farm clubs at Danville, Mobile, Montreal and his home town of St. Paul before making the majors for the first time in 1954. He didn’t play regularly until being traded to the Cubs in the Winter of 1955, in a multi-player deal. Moryn, along with pitcher Russ Meyer and third baseman Don Hoak (now one of his teammates again), were traded by the Dodgers to the Cubs for pitcher Don Elston, third baseman Randy Jackson and cash.

Walt, who bats to the chant of “Moose, Moose,” all over the league, lives with his wife and year-old daughter, Michelle, in Chicago in the off-season where he is a steel salesman. Probably the happiest Pirate to see Walt join the club was Bob Friend. The Moose regularly wrecked Friend during his career regardless of what club he was with. Walt carried a lifetime major league batting average of .270 into the 1961 season.

—  Warren County Observer, 13 July 1961, Page 23

(The black and white photo of Moose was included with the article.)

I checked out Retrosheet.org’s list of pitchers that faced Moose.  He hit .325 against Bob Friend (25 for 77) with just one homer but eight other extra-base hits.  He clocked Bob Miller for ten hits in fifteen at bats, including three homers – probably the one guy who couldn’t really get Moose out.  But of the regular starters he saw the most, the one guy he really liked hitting was Robin Roberts.  Moose’s line was 25 hits in 69 ABs, 6 homers (and five other XBHs) to make for a .362/.408/.710 line.  Ouch!

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