As the Detroit Tigers honored the memory and history of the Negro League’s contribution to baseball lore, its annual event took on a special meaning for Terry Moore.
Just last year Terry was standing on the field with his father, James Moore Jr., during this memorable weekend celebration; however, just one year later there was Terry all alone starring at the Comerica giant score board with his father’s picture as the crowd of over 40,000 all cheered, then bowed their heads in a moment of silence for his deceased dad.
James, born in 1919, transitioned in March of 2012, just missing his annual trek to Comerica Park.
But there was his son standing on the field at Comerica Park recently looking up at the scoreboard as fans cheered his father’s memory, and, he reflected on what it was like to have a connected father and son relationship. I stood close by Terry waiting to offer my support after the moment of silence concluded.
“I was excited when I got the press release with the date of the Negro League Weekend,” Terry told me in an interview, “but then I realized that Dad would not be there. Indeed it was a bittersweet moment for me being hearing the announcer mention his name and watching his picture on the big screen, I could not hold back the tears.”
Terry also told me it was his father’s birthday game and that made the day even more emotional.
“My dad has been involved with this event since it started,” Terry recalled. “So, yeah this weekend’s events have been a time to reflect about our relationship.”
Raised in the Memphis school system, James excelled in school and athletics, especially baseball. Seeking better opportunities and escaping the brutal oppression of the South, James came to Detroit and worked in the auto industry.
But his love for baseball remained fervent as he played in the Negro Leagues including the Detroit Stars in the 1940s. He played numerous positions but he shined as an outfielder and pitcher. His peers gave him the nickname “Bullet” after being closely compared to Hall of Fame pitcher Bullet Bob Feller because of their similar pitching styles.
Along with the Stars, James played for the Motor City Giants and Detroit Brown Bombers. While playing for the Brown Bombers he had the honor of catching a no-hitter pitched by the great Satchel Paige.
James shared his love of baseball with all. He was a little league baseball coach and a girls softball coach. More importantly he passed his love of baseball on to his sons, Perrin and Terry.
“For us it was a connection that bonded us,” Terry recalled. “He taught me the game of baseball. It was a family affair for us to attend games, listen on the radio or watch TV. He was a great player in his day and if it had not been for him I would not have gone as far as I did in my baseball career. Baseball was that one special consistent for us.”
Indeed, Terry was a hard-core baseball lover, starting with the Little Leagues under Michigan Sport Hall of Famer Ron Thompson. He then graduated from Highland Park High School and was a four years standout on the baseball team. He was team MVP and led the team in hitting for three years while making All-Conference.
Terry went on to play college baseball at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1981-82), before transferring to Wayne State. A serious knee injury shortened his baseball dreams, but he did graduate from Wayne with a degree in TV, radio and film, which he still uses today as a reporter for Metro Networks.
“My dad liked this weekend celebration because he felt this was a way young people could be reminded about the history of the Negro Leagues and many of the men that played in the games,” Terry said. “Also he felt it was a chance to remind people how far we have come and the sacrifices made in a segregated America that would not allow men of a different color to play a simple game together.”