Item description for Playing With the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams by Gary W. Moore, Jim Morris & Toby Moore...
Overview Foreword by baseball legend Jim Morris, former Major League pitcher with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It was true in the 1940s, and it is still true today: if you have talent, someone will notice. In Gene Moore's case, that someone was the Brooklyn Dodgers. Gene Moore was a farm boy living with his family in Sesser, Illinois, a town so small even map makers ignored it. As a teenager, when he wasn't in school or helping his Pop on the farm, slopping the hogs and doing other chores with his older brother Ward and five sisters, Gene was playing baseball with the guys on the town team. Some were twice his age. The older fellows didn't mind having the Moore kid on their team because he could hit the ball farther than anyone else, he was the best catcher anyone had ever seen, he could throw men out from his knees, and not a ball ever got past him. Gene was 15 years old. Word quickly spread across the United States about the country boy who could hit the ball a country mile. The Dodgers wanted to take a look at this farm kid, barely old enough to shave and still awaiting his first kiss, but brash enough to call the pitches from behind the plate and motion to the infielders and outfielders as to how they should position themselves for certain hitters. Headed for baseball stardom with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Gene's destiny was interrupted by Pearl Harbor. After playing ball for the Navy in the Azores and North Africa, Gene and his team were sent to the States for a special-and top secret-mission: guarding German sailors captured from U-505. Unable to field a team, Gene convinced his commander to allow him to teach the enemy how to play baseball while he and his teammates waited for the war to end so they could be called up into the Major Leagues. But Gene's future changed irrevocably in Louisiana. His life . . . and maybe our national pastime . . . was forever altered. Inspired by true events, Playing with the Enemy is the riveting story of a depression-era youth and his brush with destiny. Author Gary Moore, Gene's son, did not learn of his father's remarkable odyssey through World War II and the hardships of minor league baseball until the day before Gene's death. Confronted with evidence of a possible career in baseball, Gene finally broke his decades of silence and spent the next several hours relieving himself of the heavy burden he had been carrying. The stunning news sent the author on his own odyssey as he researched his father's life and intervi
Publishers Description In 1940, at just 15 years old, small-town baseball star Gene Moore was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who saw in him the potential to become one of the great catchers of all time. Before that could happen, though, WWII intervened. Gene's story, a surprising paean to the power and humanity of a game, is told here by his son, a first-time author who exhibits the confidence and pacing of a pro. His gripping material certainly helps: after several years overseas in the Navy's touring baseball team, Gene was brought back to Louisiana and assigned to guard secret German POWs, whose U-boat was captured just days before the storming of Normandy. There, Gene teaches his German captives how to play baseball, with a number of unintended and life-altering consequences. When Gene's finally able to return home to Sesser, Ill., he's "on crutches, depressed and embarrassed," holing up in the local bar and prompting one bartender to lament, "he's become one of us, when we were hoping he would make us like him." Gene's journey from promise to despair and back again, set against a long war and an even longer post-war recovery, retains every bit of its vitality and relevance, a 20th-century epic that demonstrates how, sometimes, letting go of a dream is the only way to discover one's great fortune.
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Format: Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6.5" Height: 5.5" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2008
Publisher OASIS AUDIO #514
ISBN 1598593722 ISBN13 9781598593723
Reviews - What do customers think about Playing With the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams?
Playing for life Nov 5, 2008
Playing with the Enemy hits you on several levels at once. Yes, it is a baseball story, but so much more.
It's Sesser, IL, a small town where "everybody knows your name" and where everyone breathes with the same rhythm. A place where the entire population is attached to the ups and downs of a young baseball player and his career prospects. They live vicariously through him, assigning his life choices the same importance as their own, convinced that his escape from the mines of Sesser can be their own.
It's WWII and the interruption of yet another life plan. It's how humanity can overcome the natural enmity between combatants, building a bridge to a future where peace prevails and we must all get along.
And finally, it is defining yourself by the person you are and continue to be rather than what you do for a living.
Playing with the Enemy is a well written, brisk read that will take you from the sandlots of Sesser, IL to the battlefields of North Africa and back. Enjoy the journey.
The Power of Love Oct 28, 2008
PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY is a true story about Gary Moore's father, Warren Eugene "Gene" Moore. Gene was a boy from small-town Illinois who had an amazing talent for baseball. He was an incredible catcher, could hit the ball out of the park, and he was a born leader. As one of the youngest on his baseball team at The Lumberyard, he encouraged and motivated his older teammates to work together.
Gene didn't go unnoticed. The Brooklyn Dodgers stood up and took notice before Gene was old enough to play in their professional league. They signed him and put him in a farm team where he could hone his skills until he was old enough to be moved up. However, World War II came along and threw a wrench in THOSE plans.
This book is the story of Gene's experiences in baseball, in war, and beyond. He kept these experiences a secret from his children until the day before his unexpected death. Gary retells the story of his father's life as his father told it to him. Probably his very last gift to Gary.
Jim Morris writes the Forward to this book and he says, "PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY is a book about many things on many levels, but to me, it is a heartwarming story about what we do with second chances." While I agree with this, for me the book was also about the power of a love. In this case it was a love for baseball. This love has the power to bond, the power to overcome, and the power to scar.
PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY is about a LOVE of baseball. And I'm not talking about what you see in the Major Leagues. Unfortunately I think the love is lost there - players/coaches/owners/managers are too in love with themselves and with money to remember the love they had for the game. This is about a true, unadulterated love of the institution of baseball. As Gene says,
"...and that's what I love about baseball. When you step onto that field, the size of the man is determined by his heart, not his height."
When that love is present, the members of the team DO come together and form a family bond. As with any family, there's often a member that functions like the glue...keeping all the pieces together when times turn rough. Gene was that glue for his teams. I admired that quality above all else in him. Every team needs a Gene Moore. What's more, Sesser, Illinois, needed Gene Moore. Gene was growing up at the tail end of the Depression. Sesser was a very poor town and they had very little, but Gene was able to motivate and inspire them as well as his teammates.
PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY is a non-fiction work written like a fiction work. I often found myself thinking, "Wow! I don't think a professional fiction writer could have come up with the likes of this man's story." Isn't it amazing how sometimes life can create irony and suspense better than our own imaginations?
Gene Moore touched the lives of many. And his inspiration continues to be passed along to others through this book. He has inspired me!
Spoke to my heart Oct 15, 2008
I began reading this book with excitement because it was written about a man from Sesser. I grew up in Southern Illinois about 30 minutes north of Sesser, and recently moved here. I excitedly began to identify with places in the book. Maple Hill Cemetery, Bruno's, Mulberry and Matthew street. All of that is what first drew me in. Then the story came to life. It could have been set anywhere in small town American when things were hard. The young man playing ball, for love of the game, and all of the things that are pure about it. I began the book from a friend on Friday afternoon and couldn't put it down until I finished it on Saturday. The stories brought to life a town, a war, a person, and the era. I have already sent my copy to a friend to share what I learned. I am buying more to share with my dad, grandpa, and friends. This book should be read by anyone who has ever missed out on a dream. I am thankful that Gene went after his. Thank you to Gary Moore for sharing the story of his father and the hopes of small town.
Playing With The Enemy - A Story For Us All Oct 14, 2008
Only someone who is an ardent student of the intricacies of our national pastime and has a passionate love affair with the game, beyond just being sports entertainment, can truly appreciate the devastation Gene Moore must have felt upon learning his dream of playing major league baseball had been shattered, and the impact it had on the rest of his life. But Playing With The Enemy captures that emotion for everyone. This is not only a story of a baseball player. It's a war story, a human interest story, and above all, a love story. And just when you think you have it figured out, you don't.
This story is so incredible on so many fronts, it would seem it surely must be a figment of someone's imagination. But, as is stated in the acknowledgments, life really can be stranger than fiction.
Playing With The Enemy may well be the best book I've ever purchased, and would recommended it to anyone. It promises to inspire us all about relationships we hold dear, and that life is so fleeting that we all need to grasp it while we can.
Very Good Book Oct 3, 2008
I loved this book. Two of my favorite subjects are baseball and World War II, so this book was perfect for me. I have also been in the submarine U505 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, so that made the story even more interesting to me. I was also one of the people that incorrectly assumed that the character of Ray Laws was actually Elroy Face, but I apparently was far from alone in making that assumption. I am eagerly anticipating the movie and hope they get started on it soon.