Moon, Leo

Primary Position: Relief pitcher
Birthplace: Alamance County

First, Middle Names:  Leo
Date of Birth:  June 22, 1899  Date and Place of Death: Aug. 25, 1970, New Orleans, LA
Burial: Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans, LA

High School: Undetermined
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: R Throws: L         Height and Weight: 5-11, 165
Debut Year: 1932        Final Year: 1932    Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Cleveland Indians, 1932

Career Summary

G          W         L           Sv         ERA             IP          SO        WAR
1           0           0           0          11.12            5.2        1           -0.3

Leo Moon acquired a reputation as a “nightlifer” with a pretty mean fastball. During a minor-league career that spanned nearly two decades, he won almost 200 games in the daylight and danced the nights away in clubs from Minneapolis to New Orleans. His major-league career, however, lasted all of one game and consists of this ugly pitching line: 5.1 innings, eight runs, 11 hits, and seven walks. He wasn’t in the majors long enough to enjoy the big-city lights.

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Hart, Jim Ray

Primary Position: Third base
Birthplace: Hookerton
First, Middle Names:  James Ray

Date of Birth:  Oct. 30, 1941   Date and Place of Death: May 19, 2016, Acampo, CA
Burial: Cremated

High School: Snow Hill Colored High School, Snow Hill, NC
College: Did not attend

Bats: R Throws: R        Height and Weight: 5-11, 185
Debut Year: 1963        Final Year: 1974          Years Played: 12
Team and Years: San Francisco Giants, 1963-73; New York Yankees, 1973-74

Awards/Honors: All Star, 1966; Boys of Summer Top 100

Career Summary
G            AB         H           R            RBI       HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
1125    3783    1052    518      578      170     .278     .345     .467     +24.9

Jim Ray Hart was celebrating his successful major-league debut in the Giants’ clubhouse at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on that Sunday afternoon in July 1963. The 21-year-old sharecropper’s son from the cotton fields of North Carolina was a rising star. He had hit with power and consistency during his brief tenure in the minors, winning two batting titles and impressing old pros who compared him to the likes of Henry Aaron and Ted Williams. His performance that day in the first game of a double header suggested there might be something to such talk, that this kid with a booming bat might make it in the majors. Hart had two hits, knocked in a run, and scored one in a 15-inning thriller against the St. Louis Cardinals that his team won 4-3. The affable farm boy was all smiles afterwards, clutching the game ball his manager had given him and high-fiving teammates. One noted somberly, though, that he’d face Bob Gibson in the nightcap.

“Who’s Bob Gibson?” the rookie asked.[I]

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Henry, Snake

Primary Positions: First base, pinch hitter
Birthplace: Waynesville

First, Middle Names:  Frederick Marshall
Nickname: Snake

Date of Birth:  July 19, 1895   Date and Place of Death: Oct. 12, 1987, Wendell, NC
Burial: Montlawn Memorial Park, Raleigh, NC

High School: Wendell High School, Wendell, NC
College: Barton College, Wilson, NC

Bats: L Throws: L  Height and Weight: 6-0, 170
Debut Year: 1922        Final Year: 1923          Years Played: 2
Team and Years: Boston Braves, 1922-23

Career Summary
G          AB       H          R          RBI       HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
29       75       14        6          7            0          .187     .218      .267      -0.6

Fred Henry played in 29 games in the major leagues, stretched over parts of two seasons, and he didn’t do much in any of them, hitting a measly .187. His career Wins Above Replacement of -0.6 is among the lowest of any North Carolinian who played in the majors.[1] It means that his teams lost almost a full game over his short career with him in the lineup.

Yet, the man with the flimsy big-league resume was among the best minor-league players in history. During his 25 years in the minors, playing for 20 different clubs in 13 different leagues, Henry amassed almost 3,400 hits. He batted over .300 in more than half the seasons he played, finishing with a .304 average. His .345 in 1930 was an International League record until Jackie Robinson surpassed it 16 years later by a mere four points. Henry is among the career minor-league leaders in hits, games played, doubles and triples, an enviable tally that should earn him a spot in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

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Hodge, Gomer

Primary Position: Pinch hitter
Birthplace: Rutherfordton

First, Middle Names: Harold Morris
Nickname: Gomer

Date of Birth:  April 3, 1944    Date and Place of Death: May 13, 2007, Saluda, NC
Burial: West Memorial Baptist Church Cemetery, Rutherfordton

High School: Rutherford-Spindale Central High School, Rutherfordton
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: Both       Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-2, 185
Debut Year: 1971        Fina Year: 1971           Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Cleveland Indians, 1971

Career Summary
G          AB       H          R          RBI       HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
80      83        17        3          9            1          .205     .256     .277      -0.6

For a few weeks in the spring of 1971, a country boy from the hills of North Carolina with an endearing grin and an aw-shucks demeanor captured the hearts of the long-suffering fans of a moribund baseball team. He gave them something they hadn’t had in a decade: Hope. The dreams melted in despair as the loses again piled up and the season turned out like every other but this time, in the wake of the losing, a legend remained.

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Upchurch, Woody

Primary Position: Starting pitcher
Birthplace: Buies Creek

First, Middle Names:  Jefferson Woodrow
Date of Birth:  April 13, 1911  Date and Place of Death: Oct. 23, 1971, Buies Creek
Burial: Buies Creek Cemetery, Lillington, NC

High School: Buies Creek High School, Buies Creek
College: Campbell University, Buies Creek

Bats: R Throws: L        Height and Weight: 6-0, 180
Debut Year: 1935        Final Year: 1936          Years Played: 2
Team and Years: Philadelphia Athletics, 1935-36

Career Summary
G          W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
10        0          2          0         7.42     43.2     8          -0.3

Woody Upchurch was a star pitcher in the semipro leagues that flourished in North Carolina before World War II. He shined for teams like the Ayden Aces and the Dr. Pepper Bottlers.  Not so much, though, for the Philadelphia Athletics. He pitched 10 games over two seasons for the American League club, gave up almost eight runs a game, and was back in Ayden.

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