I made it out to the Leslie Moore Scholarship Dinner last
night, at the invite of Hall of Famer Lenny Moore, who is one of the most
inspirational men I’ve met during my time covering sports and loving sports in
Lenny Moore was one of my Pop’s favorite players.
I remember the first time I met Lenny, just behind the first
base dugout at a Colts-Browns game in the mid 1970′s. My Pop screamed for me to
run down and get No. 24′s autograph, which I still have on the back of my
ticket stub. Of course, I was 8 years old, and I had no CLUE who Lenny Moore
My Pop always said, “Lenny Moore could run backward
faster than anyone else could run forward!”
But that’s Lenny Moore the athlete, not Lenny Moore the
It would easy to write this morning about last night’s
banquet, or the charity, or the college-aged kids who were on the dais last
night, talking about their education and how it’s being funded by this
scholarship foundation in memory of Lenny’s son, Leslie, who died tragically
and far too early.
It would be easy to say that I ran into Brooks Robinson last
night, who always makes me smile and always has a kind word. (And even though
he’s been on my show a million times and he signed a copy of Third Base is My
Home in 1974 for me at the Hochschild Kohn at Eastpoint Mall, I had never taken
a solo picture with Brooks until last night!)
I also met Meadowlark Lemon, who gave me thrills as a little
boy at the Baltimore Civic Center when my Pop took me on the No. 10 bus to see
The Harlem Globetrotters when I was a little boy. (I still have the program,
which has ads for the Gino’s Giant in it!)
There were Hall of Famers from the NFL in every corner of
the room — Lem Barney to the left, John Mackey to the right. Deacon Jones
mock-taunted the crowd. Fred Cook from the Sack Pack was there. The
“usual” Baltimore football dignitaries like Bruce Laird, Tom Matte,
Spencer Folau and others were in the house as well.
Earl Morrall waved hello. Bobby Bell was there. Joe
DeLamielleure was in the house, too!
My biggest regret of the night was seeing that HOFer Elvin
Bethea was in the room — he was an old-school Houston Oiler — and I didn’t
get a chance to say hello or take a picture!
The event was grand and the cause was even better!
But I couldn’t help thinking, as I sat there, about the
stuff Lenny Moore does in this community that no one knows about.
I’m about to share an “inside secret” that I think
Baltimore should know about.
Two times in the past three years, my radio station has privately
called Lenny Moore with monumental requests.
Twice, I have personally received letters from Baltimoreans
who were on their death bed — literally, days away from dying — who wanted to
have a visit from a Baltimore athlete.
The Colts, and now the Ravens, meant that much to these
people, even as they were dying.
And twice, Lenny Moore has answered the call, personally
driving across Baltimore to these folks’ home, and spending HOURS with them,
chatting about life and God and death and football, and sharing a laugh or a
These were cancer patients who both died, literally, within
days of Spats coming over to their homes and staying for, literally, hours at
their kitchen table or in their living rooms.
Lenny Moore didn’t do any of this — or any of the other
house calls he’s made, I’m sure, over the years — to have someone like me
write about it or talk about it or bring attention to it.
Lenny does this stuff because he genuinely cares about
people and about helping our community.
I could write for hours here about all of his work in
Baltimore, and about his history with the town and the championships and the
racism and Penn State, and blah, blah, blah — all the stories that have been
told and retold a million times at a million banquets.
But I just got a special feeling last night, sitting at his son’s
banquet, and realizing that if some of the current or former Ravens players –
or God forbid, the Orioles’ pack of millionaire carpetbaggers — want to know
what it’s like to make a difference in our community or leave a lasting legacy
of goodwill and integrity and dignity, they should follow Lenny Moore around
Baltimore for a few days.
Anytime I get a chance to rub elbows with No. 24, I feel
like I become a better person just for watching him work the room.
We need more like him!