Batter Down!

Writer chronicles his ballplayer dad's descent.

Cleveland art
Gary Moore reveals the lifelong secret of his dad, a teenage baseball phenom, in Playing With the Enemy. The book recaps Gene Moore’s career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the early ’40s. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy, Gene shattered his ankle bone, causing permanent damage. The accident happened not on a World War II battlefield, but during a game with German POWs in a Louisiana prison camp. He moved to Illinois “to work on a career as an alcoholic -- and doing a good job of it,” says Gary, whose father refused to talk about the accident until the night before he died in 1983. “He looked in the mirror and saw a failed ballplayer. He felt he let everybody down.”

The tragic tale is keeping the Moore family employed. Gary’s son Toby -- an actor who’s had roles on CSI: Miami and Law & Order: SVU -- is slated to play Gene in the movie version of Playing With the Enemy. “I find it eerie just talking about it,” says Gary. “While I was writing the book, I had conversations with my father in my head. It’s like he was alive all over again.”
Thu., May 24, 7 p.m.

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