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The More the Merrier for Moore : Colleges: UCLA football and baseball player Michael Moore wants to play both sports professionally.

March 26, 1992|MIKE GOODMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

WESTSIDE — Dennis Moore and his son, Michael, a UCLA wide receiver in football and center fielder in baseball, say they have a dream: "To do the Bo Jackson." And they're not talking about a new dance.

Remember, it's just a dream.

Some have predicted Moore will be the No. 1 pick in the June baseball draft. Last year Moore batted .328 with eight home runs, 28 runs batted in and 22 stolen bases in 51 games. This season he is batting .333 with five home runs, 25 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. In football, he was the Bruins' fourth-leading receiver last fall with 16 receptions for 283 yards. He is 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds.

Moore announced in January he had made himself eligible for the NFL draft in April and would forgo his final two seasons of football eligibility.

Moore said at the time that baseball looks like "the move for me. But I figured I'd put my hat in the ring (with the NFL). If I don't get picked up, then it's baseball."

Now, Moore's objective is to play both professional baseball and football. The UCLA junior emphasized this week that he's not claiming to be the new Bo Jackson--just a wanna-be.

Bo Jackson is the only athlete to ever become a dominant player in professional football and baseball.

Jackson was an all-star baseball player for the Kansas City Royals. As a running back for the Raiders, he made football history by twice carrying the ball more than 90 yards from scrimmage for touchdowns.

Two years ago, Jackson hurt his hip in a Raider playoff game. It appears to have ended his baseball and football careers.

"Not many people can even try to be Bo Jackson," Moore said.

Again, it's just a dream, and, perhaps, a bit of negotiating strategy.

"If the football people come to us with a real deal, you will see Michael do The Bo Jackson," Dennis Moore said. "But football's going to have to understand we're not just going to just play for fun."

Moore said he has no misgivings about leaving college if drafted. "Let's be honest with ourselves," he said. "You only get one chance. I've got to make decisions right now and this is what I have to do."

His father explained: "Let's talk realistically. It's obvious the system (UCLA football) had said to us we weren't going to be the star--but a role player.

"Why should Michael come back to play football (at UCLA) and risk getting busted up when he has a chance to make millions in baseball?"

Michael Moore agreed. "I thank (Coach) Terry Donahue for the chance to come to UCLA and play football. But there was room for only two or three stars and my time hadn't come yet. I was a role player and I played my role."

Moore played in the shadow of Sean LaChapelle, who caught 73 passes for 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Moore said football is in his blood. He just hasn't had the opportunity to show his ability.

His uncle is Ahmad Rashad, a standout wide receiver with the Minnesota Vikings from 1976-82. Rashad is an NBC sports commentator. He was known as Bobby Moore when he was a football and track standout at the University of Oregon.

"I grew in the mold into the kind of build he had," Moore told The Times when he was a redshirt freshman at UCLA. "Hopefully, I can play in the (NFL) and do as well as he did."

Moore wore his uncle's number, 28, while playing for Beverly Hills High. He played baseball, football and basketball and was a Southern California athlete of the year.

Stanford tried to sign Moore to a basketball letter of intent when he was a junior. In baseball, he batted .499 and was thrown out only once in 63 steals as a junior and senior.

Upon graduation, Moore was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays--his favorite team--in the second round of the 1989 free-agent draft.

His father held forth with a now familiar refrain.

"The Toronto Blue Jays are going to have to come up with some very aggressive numbers," Dennis Moore said then. "The number they've come up with is respectable for a first- or second-round pick, but it doesn't begin to move us. I made it clear from early on that for Michael to give up an outstanding opportunity at UCLA, he would have to be in the upper limits of the market."

Dennis Moore, who is in real estate, was too tough for the Blue Jays.

"I can afford to be out front and picky," he said. "I made a million in America not trying to be cute."

The Moores live near the Beverly Hills Hotel in a spacious home with a swimming pool, tennis court and batting cage.

"My son's dream is to catch a football in the Super Bowl and hit a home run in the World Series," Dennis Moore said. "We're gonna go for it. We're gonna even try out for the Olympics. Why not?"

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