Lexington Legends

Homecoming a hit for Rome coach

He makes his home in Rome, Ga., now.

But Wednesday night's South Atlantic League game at Applebee's Park was a homecoming of sorts for Rome Braves hitting coach Bobby Moore.

A Cincinnati native who played collegiate ball for Eastern Kentucky University, Moore has his own small cheering section this series.

Rome opened the four-game set by handing the Lexington Legends their sixth consecutive defeat, 4-2. The Legends, who struck out 13 times in the game, have lost eight of their last nine.

Moore, 42, began his pro career in 1987, when the Kansas City Royals drafted him in the 16th round out of EKU.

A fleet-footed center fielder, Moore played 10 seasons of pro ball before a broken hip ended his playing career.

“I ran into the outfield wall (at Rochester). The center-field wall forgot to get out of my way,” said Moore, who then was with the Triple-A Richmond Braves. “The next thing you know, I'm waking up in the hospital. “Tried to rehab and just couldn't come back. I relied on my speed and didn't have it.

“The Braves were great. They wanted me to coach and teach these kids some things, and here I am.”

Moore never left the Braves, coaching at Greenville, Macon and Rome. He's had chances to move up in classification but, like Legends pitching coach Charley Taylor, prefers the comforts of home and the joy of mentoring young players.

Moore and wife Jane own a home in Rome, where they raise two boys: Robert Jr., 9, and Charles William, 2.

At 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, Moore is virtually the same weight as he was as a player.

“I walk every day for the blood pressure and all that stuff, keeping everything down and normal,” he said. “And throwing BP (batting practice) in this heat, you'll stay the same if you take care of yourself.”

At Eastern, Moore helped the Colonels to an Ohio Valley Conference championship as a freshman.

“Coach (Jim) Ward and his staff did a great job with us,” Moore said. “Not only cared about how we did on the field, but off the field as well. When you look back on it, it was much needed for us, being 17, 18 years old.”

Moore spent most of his professional career in the minors. But he reached the big leagues with Kansas City for 18 games at the end of the 1991 season.

Used mostly as a late-inning defensive replacement, he hit .357 (5-for-14), with a double, three stolen bases and three runs scored.

Moore says he loves Class A ball, where he can teach and be a Ward-like mentor to Braves prospects. Many have gone on to the big leagues, including Jeff Francouer, Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltamacchia, Martin Prado, Kelly Johnson, Adam LaRoche, Yunel Escobar and Gregor Blanco. He finds that “very gratifying and pleasing.”

As is coming to a home away from home.

■ Frederick Freeman's two-run, opposite-field homer in the eighth inning snapped a 1-1 tie and proved to be the game-winner. The left-handed hitter knocked a 3-1 pitch into the front of the left-field bleachers.

Fourth-inning doubles by Craig Corrado and Brian Pellegrini gave the Legends a 1-0 lead. Pellegrini also singled in a ninth-inning run.

Rome parlayed two singles, a sacrifice and a ground out to tie in the fifth.

Both teams added a run in the ninth.