Gary Moore Responds
January 20, 2007
From the author of “Playing with the Enemy”
The author of “Playing with the Enemy” read my recent review and was nice enough to respond in an e-mail. With his permission, I’m reprinting his message here. Although this letter didn’t change my viewpoint, I really appreciate the fact that Gary is open enough to have a dialog like this.
First of all, let me thank you for your interest in my dad’s story. “Playing with the Enemy” clearly states it is a story “based upon true events.” It is not nor was it ever intended to be a strict historical footnoted style non-fiction biography that accounts for every facet of my dad’s life. It is a story of character, persistence, and an essay on what a man can do with a second chance in life—wrapped up in my dad’s life experiences.
Because my dad was not a historical figure and never made it far in professional baseball, there are few records or written accounts to rely on. There is the possibility my dad played a bit more baseball after leaving Greenville, because it was a long time before he finally made it back to Sesser. That period of his life is a complete blank slate. But at the end of the day, “Playing with the Enemy” is a son’s interpretation of his father’s life. As I said, it is a character study and snapshot of small-town baseball and a look at a few family members of that were part of what has been dubbed our Greatest Generation.
My dad never told me specifically who the pitcher was in “Playing with the Enemy,” or if he did, I did not recognize the name. It has been over 23 years ago that the conversation took place. As I tell it in the book, I witnessed a meeting between my dad and Elroy “Roy” Face at Wrigley Field in the early 60’s. I was quite young then, but it was obvious they knew each other well.
It would be like you taking your son to PacBell Park and Barry Bonds running over to greet your father at the fence in front of you. But how did they know one another? I truly don’t know, but they must have played together somewhere or at the very least, met and nurtured a friendship. At the time, my dad drove a bread truck and had been out of baseball close to 15 years. How would a bread truck delivery man from a small town in Illinois know Roy? I don’t know.
But at the end it is not intended as what you called a “heavy hint” that it is Face. In fact, the book specifically says that Gene never saw Ray Laws again. The Face mention is as it states, memories of a young son who is trying to piece together his fathers past.
As recounted in the book, I found out about much of my father’s history in one very long single conversation the night before he died (and a lot more interviewing people who knew and played with him). I wish I had taken notes that night, but it never occurred to me it would be one of our last conversations.
I spoke to dozens of people who confirmed most aspects of my dad’s saga, but the Roy Face/Gene Moore connection remains a mystery and is not even an aspect of the story. It is a recollection mentioned at the end of the story.
I hope that helps clarify things a bit, and I am grateful you took time to read and comment on “Playing with the Enemy.” I deeply appreciate it.
PS- By the way, Publishers Weekly, the standard of the publishing industry this week awarded Playing with the Enemy with a “Starred Review.”
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