Donnie Moore (1954-1989) was a Major League Baseball pitcher from 1975 to 1988. He played for five different Major League teams, but is most remembered for the home run he gave up as a California Angel during game five of the 1986 American League Championship Series, preventing the Angels from entering the World Series. Moore was never able to recover personally from this event and sports fans and the sports media never forgot it. Because of this and his battle with alcoholism, Moore committed suicide July 18, 1989.
Moore was born in Lubbock, Texas.
Game five took place on October 12, 1986 in Anaheim, California. The Angels held a 3 games to 1 lead of a seven-game series against the Boston Red Sox. In the game, the Angels held a 5-2 lead going into the ninth inning. The Red Sox scored two runs on a hit by Wade Boggs and a home run by Don Baylor, closing the gap to 5-4.
When Moore came in to shut down the rally, there were two outs, and a runner on firstbase (Rich Gedman whom had been hit by a pitch.) The Angels were one out from getting into the World Series. But Dave Henderson hit a 2-2 pitch off Moore for a home run, giving the Red Sox a 6-5 lead. The Angels were able to score a run in the bottom of the ninth, pushing the game into extra innings.
Moore continued to pitch for the Angels. He was able to stifle a 10-inning Red Sox rally by getting Jim Rice to ground into a double play. However, the Red Sox were able to score off Moore in the 11th-inning via a sacrifice fly by Dave Henderson. The Angels could not score in the bottom of the 11th, and lost the game 7-6.
The loss still left the Angels in a 3 games to 2 advantage, with two more games to play at Fenway Park. The Angels were not able to recover, losing both games by wide margins, 10-4 and 8-1.
Baseball is a team sport. Games and series are not won or lost by single players. But Moore was blamed for the lost series.