About Wally Moon: '54 Rookie of the Year
When Wally Moon was a boy in Arkansas, his favorite team was the St. Louis Cardinals and his favorite player was standout Enos “Country” Slaughter, who had made his Cardinal debut in 1938, when Wally was eight years old. Like many boys, Wally had "big league" dreams, but he could never have imagined how his “dream” would unfold.

Moon initially signed a professional contract with the Cardinals, but after four years he appeared headed nowhere. In 1954, he opted not to ink another minor league deal, realizing his young career had reached a crossroad.

“I really didn't think I could support my family any longer on a minor league salary,” Moon said. “I had a young wife, a new child, and a career opportunity to be a college baseball coach. After reaching the Caribbean World Series in winter ball, I thought I deserved a shot with the big league team.”

Surprising everyone, Moon reported directly to the Cardinals camp in St. Petersburg, FL, with an ultimatum: either he stayed with the club or he would quit baseball. St. Louis manager Eddie Stanky recommended that Moon be given a look.

Moon had a sensational spring, not only making the team, but bringing about the end to Slaughter’s career in St. Louis. Slaughter was traded to the New York Yankees and Moon was named an opening-day starter in his place.

On April 13, 1954, Moon made his major league debut in St. Louis against the Cubs. As he approached the plate for the first time, a capacity crowd chanted, “We want Slaughter.”

Moon worked the count before hammering a home run in his first major league at bat. He went on to hit 12 home runs that year, which, coupled with a .304 batting average, 74 RBI and 106 runs scored, earned Wally Moon National League Rookie-of-the-Year honors over the likes of future greats Henry Aaron and Ernie Banks.

Looking Back
early life
´54 rookie of the year
championship catalyst
after retirement
wally today