Moore good times in T.O.

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

Jackie Moore looks like he just retired.

Maybe five years ago.

Moore, the Texas Rangers bench coach, has been around Canadian baseball for a few years.

He was at the final game at Maple Leaf Stadium in 1967.

He was on manager Billy Martin's New York Yankees staff at the all-star game in Montreal in 1981 and was with manager Lou Piniella of the Cincinnati Reds at the all-star game at the SkyDome in 1991.

And he was a few miles down the road that snowy day in 1977 when the Chicago White Sox and the Blue Jays brought major-league baseball to Ontario.

Moore was a coach the first three years of the Jays under manager Roy Hartsfield.

"We had Harry Warner, Don Leppert and the late Bob Miller on that staff," Moore said last night.

And?

"And ... that was it our first year," Moore said.

"We used to throw batting practice an hour each on the field. Then Rico Carty and Alfredo Griffin would ask me to throw to them for half an hour in the cage," said Moore, before his Rangers faced the Jays last night.

Dave Stieb threw 2,873 innings in his 15 seasons to lead all Jays pitchers. John Matthew IV of MLB.com, a wise math man from Ormond, Ont., estimates Stieb threw roughly 53,000 pitches.

We watched Jays bullpen coach Alex Andreopoulos throw batting practice for four minutes last night. He averaged 10 pitches a minute.

Ten pitches a minute for 90 minutes for Moore comes out to 900 tosses.

Throwing 900 a day for 162 games ... 145,800 pitches ... for three years is 437,400.

And Moore still can lift his right arm.

As a former catcher, he said the throwing mechanics of batting practice were easy to repeat.

"I have some good memories from here," Moore said. "Paul Beeston (Jays CEO on an interim basis) stopped by to say hello. He's one of the few people in the game who understands you can have fun and still have success."

That original Jays coaching staff had fun. Bailor Moore and Rick Bosetti have told us you couldn't get down the hallway after batting practice because the lineup of disgruntled players outside Hartsfield's door looked like a lineup at a licence bureau. Three 100-loss seasons will do that.

"Harry kept us sane, never a dull moment," Moore said.

Like the night the well-watered staff checked into the old Seaway Hotel at 5 a.m. hard against the Gardiner after a long dusty flight home from Oakland.

"We'd like our rooms on the gulf side," Warner said.

"Sir," said the desk clerk, "that's Lake Ontario, it's not a gulf."

"We mean the Gulf Station! We can't sleep up against the highway."

Doug Passmore, an ex-military man, used to help out clubhouse boss John Silverman in the Jays clubhouse and often complained about the mess players and coaches left.

"Warner and Leppert hired a moving company to move his fridge and stove, they set it up along the third-base line," Moore remembered.

"One night at the Ex after a few beers, Doug and Leppert were arguing who was faster. We turned the lights on and they had a race."

Moore can't remember who won, only that it took 10 minutes for them to run to the 50-yard line and "one stopped for a drink on the way."

Under manager Eddie Kasko, Moore hit .199 with three homers and 30 RBIs in 100 games with the Leafs, who finished seven games under .500.

That was the end of an era for Toronto baseball.

Doug Ault's two homers was the start of a new one.

"We looked into the crowd that day and you couldn't see people's faces, they were bundled up in parkas and scarfs," Moore said.

Moore, who turned 70 in February, has not thrown batting practice since 1989 with the Montreal Expos.

"They wanted me to move into the front office," Moore said.

Instead, he went with Piniella to Cincinnati and won a World Series.


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