Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams

Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams

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Overview

Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams by Gary W. Moore

WINNER, NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2006, MILITARY WRITERS SOCIETY OF AMERICA

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 interviewed dozens of people.

The astonishing story of Gene Moore’s life in and out of baseball is an exciting and often heart-wrenching saga that will capture the heart of every red- blooded American who can still smell the fresh-cut summer grass or remember how it felt to tie on the cleats while dreaming of making it to the big leagues. Jammed with memorable characters from an extraordinary time in our country’s history, Playing with the Enemy is a story that will be read and reread for generations to come. And it is one you will never forget.

About the Author: Gary W. Moore is the president and managing partner of Covenant Air & Water, LLC, a motivational speaker, and an accomplished musician. Gene Moore was his father. Gary lives in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932714241
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Publication date: 09/15/2006
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 714,489
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Gary W. Moore is the president and managing partner of Covenant Air & Water, LLC, a motivational speaker, and an accomplished musician. Gene Moore was his father. Gary lives in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

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Playing With the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, a World at War, and a Field of Broken Dreams 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This captivating book is a baseball story and a lesson in history, but it's more than that. It's a story of family relationships, difficult choices, and unconditional love. 'Playing with the Enemy' is a heart-warming tribute to the author's father. If I was still teaching middle school reading, this book would be in the hands of my 'reluctant readers' and I know each reader would actually finish the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore has written a wonderful book. As a baseball fan and a military buff, Playing With the Enemy has become, simply, one of my favorite non-fiction reads of all time. It has earned a place on my shelf of books to keep, and will be one of those books I give as gifts. But it won't be given only to fellow baseball and military historians, as this is a story that will peak the interest of anyone who likes to read of ordinary people doing the most extraordinary things while living out their private lives. Moore's book tells the story of his father, Gene Moore, a baseball prodigy whose promising baseball career was interrupted by the Second World War. Drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers as a teenager, Gene Moore entered the Navy in a little-known program that allowed Major League talents a chance to serve their country, play the game they love, and entertain the troops. Unlike Steven Bullock's Playing for Their Nation '2004', an exhaustively researched book which explained the various baseball programs that existed in the U.S. military during The War, Moore's book comes to life. While Playing for Their Nation is a must-have reference for any military baseball historian, Playing With the Enemy is a page-turner that anyone with an interest in human drama that seems too unreal to be real will enjoy. The saga of Gene Moore is as unlikely as any of the far-fetched but fun-to-read baseball stories by W.P. Kinsella but Moore's is even more compelling because it is true. Readers will find themselves rooting for Gene Moore to make it: through The War, through a tragic and impossibly unfair injury, and through his fall into the darkness of alcoholism and lost dreams. Gary Moore's book actually has much in common with another book, Flags of Our Fathers '2001' by James Bradley, the son of Iwo Jima flag raiser John Bradley. James didn't know much about his father's experiences in World War II until his father passed away. Gary didn't know much about his father's War experiences either, but was able to have a magic moment with his father just before he passed away. The result of that magic moment is Playing With the Enemy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book because of its touching story line. It's a great memoir from a son to his father, talking about his past as a baseball player in the Navy during WWII. I also enjoyed the historical pieces included. Once I started reading this book, I didn't want to put it down! This book is also being made into a movie, which I can't wait to see. All in all, I recommend it to anyone who wants a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I had to read it in my U.S. history class and could not put it down. I really liked how Mr. Moore added in history while keeping it from being boring. This is not a book about baseball or about the war, so don't let the title discourage you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore's outstanding book about his father Gene and his adventures in baseball and wwII would not allow me to put this book down. As a baseball fan and also an admirer of the 'Greatest Generation' Americans like Gary's father, I could feel the emotions and pressures of the time as the book very truthfully expressed what is was like for a small town boy to succeed in war and baseball only to have dreams shattered with a freak injury. Any American can be proud of our country and our people when reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lamar Garrard Lincolnton, GA (a fan)
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY¿ is a book that will take a very special place in my personal library. One in which I will read again and again. The book is simply that striking! Gary Moore writes all the many lessons one finds in life here with such ease and readability. I can¿t think of a better gift from one person to another, especially to ones children. ¿PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY¿ is one of those books that come along only a few per lifetime. I¿m so elated that I had the honor of reading Gary¿s book and I am certain that anyone choosing to read it will feel the same.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore tells a personal story about his dad, Gene Moore in a powerful way that will not let you put the book down. Imagine yourself sitting in the bleachers within the stadium of life looking down at one man's progress as he 'plays the game.' You cheer for his winnings and cry at his loses and the demons that come and go. Gene Moore was a southern Illinois country boy who could hit the ball a country mile. His love of baseball was his motivation in life, but friendship, family and commitment to humanity always came first. Well written and a joy to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a simply written gut punch by a first-time author that will elicit heartfelt empathy from even the hardest souls. All of us have played the 'might have been' game with our lives, but this tale about small-town Gene Moore, a once-in-a-generation baseball talent, takes that exercise over the top. 'Playing with the Enemy' emotionally involved me to such an extent that I had to put it aside from time to time so that I could take time to reflect and recover. If it were fiction, it would be a remarkable read. The fact that the story is real makes it all the more spectacular. This story is simple and pure, but is full of lessons and nuances that have kept me engaged long after I've finished it. I can't wait for the movie. Jay A. Stout
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never read a baseball book and I have never read a war book (and I should add that I¿ve never written a book review either!). I only started reading this book as practically an obligation because my father grew up in Sesser, Illinois. I was really not looking forward to it all that much because I didn¿t want to read about baseball or war. But I kept the book open, almost non-stop, because it is a great read. This book really touched my heart. It is a great story and I could not put it down. Obviously baseball fans and war buffs will love this book too. But my main point in writing this review is to tell everyone else out there who usually sticks with fiction like me, that you really should read this book. I promise you will not be bored! And if you¿ve ever had a time in your life when you thought ¿what if¿¿, I promise this book will touch your heart. Gary Moore has exceeded expectations of a first-time writer and he did a great service by writing this book. Once you read it, you¿ll be sharing it with your friends and family, too, even if you don¿t know anyone from Sesser, Illinois.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent book whether you are reading it for baseball or World War II. Shows just what opportunities are available for all, even those from a small farming and coal mining town in the Midwest. The suffering and tribulations that Gene Moore went through to reach his ultimate dream are described in interesting detail. Especially touching at the end. As a former native of Zeigler, IL, just a few miles from Sesser, this book was especially interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First time author, Mr.Gary Moore has hit one out of the park. It is a story of a baseball player'his father' from a small town who had a god given talent and a passion to succeed in what others may have considered a dream. This remarkable story will take you through his dream,his life and his reality. You will learn about another chapter in World War II that speaks of the 'human' side. You will read about a remarkable man who loved baseball, his country and his family and not in that order. Pick this book up and you will not put it down until Mr. Moore's story is told!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those who don't believe what they see in the movies ... sometimes a true story can be as full of coincidence, theme and moral as anything Hollywood has ever produced. Such a story is PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY, a moving account of the life of a man who should have been a world-famous baseball player -- but ended up doing something very different because of one moment that changed his destiny forever. Written by his son Gary with love and admiration, the story follows Gene Moore from his teen years when he's first signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers through World War II, to a most unconventional baseball lineup, and back home where a crippling injury destroyed his chance to be the baseball star he expected to be. The book is a beautiful tribute to a man who loved the game more than anything in the world, yet has to learn some painful lessons about his place in it, and ultimately learns it from the most unexpected source possible: The German sailor he once guarded and taught to play baseball, who returns to find him and show him what his real destiny is. Though there's actually surprisingly little about the action at the heart of the title -- Gene's time spent training and playing with the German sailors -- the book as a whole is a remarkable story. Gene himself, and his family, friends and teammates, are alive in this book and stay with you long after you close it. It doesn't surprise me that the book is on its way to movie production -- if ever a story was fashioned for motion pictures, it was this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! He writes in such a way that the joy and the pain are as real as if you were experiencing them yourself. A great book with a great lesson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a two fold poignant tale within Playing With the Enemy. One, a story of a broken heart---not over a woman, but over the love for baseball. The second is the struggle after the broken heart, and the memories that never helped Gene Moore's spirit to heal. His love for his family finally, with some help from a former enemy prisoner, became his path back. Gary Warren Moore's book puts the reader back in time, to a simpler time, of loving your country, and having a dream. The most surprising aspect of the time, was the novelty of treating prisoners like people. Gene Moore managed to use baseball to cross war torn lines. The story is very well written, and reads smoothly, historically, and touches the love of a good story in all of us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Moore is a natural story teller. With few words he draws the reader back into a simpler time, to a small town where everyone knew everyone, and people wore their values without pretense. The town of Sesser is proud of Gene Moore, a man who was destined to become one of baseball's greatest players. It isn't until Gene Moore's dream is shattered and he becomes a drunk does the depth of his heartbreak become clear. Late in the book, the author likens Gene Moore's war injury to spirit, not a physical scar. Every day we see broken soldiers returning from Iraq, but do we see their injured spirits too? Playing with the Enemy is part history, part baseball, partly a lesson in humanity, and all heart. Because of the open natural style of the author, the story reads smoothly, as if you are right there walking every step of the story with Gene Moore. He finally accepted the love of his family was stronger than what he lost.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a wonderful read. Not only does it combine history with athletics, the book offers insight on family values such as taking the time to really get to know your parents/children and using such values as a basis for life. Gary Moore writes in such a way the reader cannot help but reflect on previous actions within their own lives and gives each and every reader an option on improving personal relationships. A must for those readers who enjoy various venues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing with the Enemy is such a great story and the best part is that it's true! The story of a baseball prodigy who goes to war and winds up using his baseball skills to not only greatly help the war effort, but heal the hate between himself and the enemy he fought. This book was a joy to read and kept me rivited. The action involving the war was exciting and learning the inside story behind the capture of the U505 submarine and how obtaining the on-board decoder was a breakthrough in the war was very interesting. The personal story of Gene Moore, his heart and his courage, was wonderful. Another very compelling part was the story of enemies learning to accept each other. To think that all this elements became tied together by the great American pasttime of baseball makes for a perfect book about the wonderful heart of America -- something we need to hear in these times. I heartily reccomend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't delay, read this book! You don't have to be a baseball fan to love this book. If you ARE a baseball fan, you should know this story! It is the most awe inspiring story I've read in years. Only life can throw you curve balls and not strike out! Men and women alike, read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book came to me highly recommended so I was naturally skeptical. So with that skepticism I put off reading it for a month. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. Having met the author at a book signing, I'm sorry I hadn't read the book first. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was equally impressed with Gary Moore. The book was a delightful read and the author was a pleasure to meet. Skepticism and all.........I just hope Hollywood can do this story justice. This is a story about real midwestern people like so many I have known all my life. This book is a gift I will buy for a friend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rather than give yet another plot summary, let me just say that five stars is not enough. I read this in two long evenings, it was that compelling. I would finish one chapter and keep telling myself, 'OK, just one more...,' Yes, it's about baseball, and yes, it's about World War 2, but it's SO much more. Gary Moore will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, and introduce you to people you will never forget. As I was reading the book, I found myself not just knowing about them, but actually caring about them, laughing with them, crying with them. I can't remember another book that touched my heart in so many different ways. I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a little different, but something that you will never forget. Even if you don't do a lot of reading - you need to read THIS book. (As a matter of fact, if you have someone in your life who doesn't necessarily like to read a lot, it would make a great gift.) To be honest, I'm ready to sit down with the book and start all over again! Thank you, Gary, for telling us your father's story. Thank you for such a genuine labor of love!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'll let other reviewers summarize the plot itself. When I was done reading this book, I not only felt like I knew Gene Moore and the rest of the folks in the story, but I actually CARED about them. Gary Moore tells a wonderfully compelling story that you won't want to put down until you're through, and you may even want to start over as soon as you're done. The best part about it is that things don't necessarily turn out the way you'd expect them to, kinda like life itself. But the lesson Gene learns (last chapter) is one we all should take to heart. I am recommending this book to anyone who loves baseball, or who loves World War 2, or who just likes a story about good people enduring through hardship. Thank you, Gary, for taking the time to share your father's story with us!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a super book, it kept me on the edge of my seat and always wanting to read farther. Hard to put down. Great emotional rollercoaster....a must for all ages
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book for everyone, I really enjoyed reading something that was down home. As a guy its hard to find a great read like this that puts you in the story with the characters, it really made you feel like you were right there with Mr. Moore. Great read, i'd recommend to Everyone !!!!!