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A hit on the big screen

Not much was expected of the left-handed-batting Moon when he arrived in L.A., but he adjusted his swing to exploit Coliseum layout.

March 23, 2008|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

Moon quickly came to love his new city.

"For a boy from Arkansas," he said, "L.A. will wake you up."

When the Dodgers left the Coliseum for Dodger Stadium after the 1961 season, Moon, naturally, scored their final run.

He played on three World Series championship teams with the team before they released him at the end of the 1965 season.

Moon went on to become athletic director and baseball coach at John Brown University, a coach and minor league manager and owner of the San Antonio Dodgers for four years beginning in the late 1970s.

He retired 10 years ago to spend more time with his wife, Bettye, his five children and seven grandchildren, his free time revolving around quail hunting and golf.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday, March 24, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 51 words Type of Material: Correction
Baseball: A caption in Sunday's Sports section with a photograph showing the configuration of the field in the Coliseum for Saturday's baseball game between the Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox said a screen down the short left-field line would be 6 feet high. The screen will be 60 feet high.

For his family, the special moments extend well beyond Moon shots. When his daughter, LaRhesa, was named homecoming queen in high school, she still remembers her father's words: "This is better than any home run I ever hit."

Moon will be back in the Coliseum on Saturday for the Dodgers' exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox, a game expected to draw a record 115,000 fans.

He was there for the previous record crowd, 93,103, for a 1959 exhibition game against the New York Yankees, highlighted by a candlelight tribute to the paralyzed Roy Campanella.

"I don't know if I ever wept at a ballpark before," Moon said, "but I did that night."

When he returns Saturday, might there be a launching of one more Moon shot in batting practice?

"I haven't picked up a bat in 30 years," he said, "but I'll take a shot at it. I still play a lot of golf so I might be able to get it there."

While the distance to left will be only 201 feet Saturday, the screen will be 60 feet high.

"Well then," Moon said, "I'll just have to get under it a little bit more."

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steve.springer@latimes.com

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