The Obit For Herb Moford

Local former Major Leaguer- Herb Moford remembered fondly

The Ledger Independent
Published: Monday, December 5, 2005 9:47 PM EST

Fans of baseball and local lore are mourning the death of Minerva resident Herbert Moford, who pitched in the big leagues more than 40 years ago. Moford died Saturday.

Moford played baseball for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets. Although those teams were in northern cities, Moford favored the southern towns with a more pleasant climate. In an interview earlier this year, Moford said he didn't like pitching in the snow.

But he did like baseball. Every spring when the contract came for him to sign, he did.

"There was no negotiating," he had said.

Fellow baseball players remembered the lanky pitcher form Minerva, including Bill Graham form Flemingsburg.

"We played a little together," Graham said. "Mostly in spring training. That's been almost 50 years ago."

The two never played each other in a regular season game, Graham said, although both played for the Mets and Detroit.

Another local baseball player, Kentucky Athletic Hall of Famer, Woodie Fryman, remembered playing with Moford in an Old Timers Game.

"We played with Pee Wee Reese and had a good time," Fryman said. "His teammates thought he was a fine man and a real nice guy."

Others in the area remembered the ball player, the farmer and the gentleman.

“They don’t make professional baseball players like Herb Moford anymore,” said Laurnie Caproni, former editor of The Ledger Independent and an expert on local sports, “He was simply one of the good guys.”

Caproni wrote many stories about the pitcher with ties to Mason County.

“I saw him at Wal-Mart not too long ago,” said Caproni, “And he was just as kind and courteous as when I first wrote a story about him nearly 40 years ago.”

Moford was known around the community as a gentleman. James "Buddy" Gallenstein said Moford was a gentleman on and off the field.

"He loved baseball. He lived baseball," Gallenstein said. "He was such a gentleman."

Punk Griffin who has followed sports in the area for more than 50 years says Moford was one of best local talents ever to play the game.

“I remember we had a local all star team in the early 50s,” said Griffin, “We were playing in Flemingsburg, and you know how much of a rivalry that can be.”

“Herb struck out 18 straight batters to start the game, and I had never seen anything like that,” said Griffin. “I remember because I was keeping the scores that day.

Griffin said Moford told him the one difference between a minor league player and big leaguer was three inches.

“If you miss the plate by three inches, a minor leaguer will strike out most times,” Moford told him, “A big league hitter will just stand there and laugh at you. You gotta get the ball over the plate.”

And Griffin remembers a cold night at Crosley Field in Cincinnati in the ’62 season when Moford pitched for the legendary Casey Stengel who managed the New York Mets.

He only got to pitch a few innings early in the year,” said Griffin, “But one of those games was in Cincinnati, and I saw him pitch. I remember Wally Post hit one from here to there. But Wally Post could hit anybody.”

Griffin remembers sitting in the cold bullpen after the game with a half dozen Maysville men and Moford talking baseball.

“I asked him if he didn’t need to get in the clubhouse right away, but he told us Stengel had 17 sportswriters from the New York papers that followed him everywhere and kept the famous manager tied up for at least an hour after every game in a press conference.

Among Moford's most memorable pitches was one he threw to a young Hank Aaron who nailed it for his 17th home run.

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning was a teammate of Moford’s in the ’58 season at Detroit. Moford was 4-9 with an ERA of 3.61. He struck out 58 and walked 42 in 11 starts with six complete games.

Sen. Bunning, who often visited Mofford or called him when he was in the area, is traveling to Japan and was unavailable for comment on Monday.

Former Major League Pitcher Herb Moford Dies at 77
Kentucky Native Played for Four Teams During 1950s, '60s

12/06/05 15:42 EST

Associated Press

BROOKSVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 6) - Former major league pitcher Herb Moford, who played for four teams in the 1950s and 1960s, has died. He was 77.

Moford died Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati. The cause of death wasn't revealed.

Moford played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets. He compiled a career record of 5-13 with a 5.03 ERA in 50 major league games over four seasons.

In an interview with the Maysville Ledger Independent, Moford once said he enjoyed playing in warm weather and never put up a fight about his contract.

Moford, born in Brooksville, had his best season in 1958 with Detroit, going 4-9 with a 3.61 ERA in 25 games.

He's survived by his wife of 51 years, Martha Beckett Moford, and one daughter.

Services were scheduled for Wednesday at Moore and Parker Funeral Home with burial in Maple Grove Cemetery in Germantown.