Dobie Moore’s Wikipedia entry gives the following dates for him: born January 9, 1895; died December 1, 1977, in Mableton, Georgia. The BR Bullpen is more hesitant: “An unconfirmed research note says that [Moore] died at age 82 (1977) in Mableton, Georgia.”
There is a Walter Moore in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) who’s listed as born January 9, 1895, died December 1977, in Mableton, Georgia. A look in the Georgia Deaths database at Ancestry.com reveals a Walter J. Moore who died on December 6, 1977, at age 82, in DeKalb County—but his last residence was in Cobb County (the site of Mableton). His race is recorded as “W.” He’s one of only two Walter Moores listed as passing away in Georgia in 1977 (the other was aged 58).
There is also a World War I draft card for a Walter James Moore, “Caucasian,” born January 9, 1895, in Chattahoochee, Georgia. Dobie Moore, of course, was already in the Army when the draft registration was first held in 1917, and would not have filled out a draft card.
In the addendum added for the 2001 edition of his Biographical Encyclopedia, James Riley has these dates for Moore: born February 27, 1890, Rome, Georgia; died April 1, 1963, Rome, Georgia.
The SSDI does have a Walter Moore, born February 27, 1890 (no place listed), died May 1978, Silver Creek, Georgia; Silver Creek is in Floyd County, the same county as Rome, Georgia. The Georgia Deaths DB has Walter O. Moore, white, died May 5, 1978, age 88, in Silver Creek, Georgia.
To sum up: I think the Walter Moore who died in Mableton, Georgia, in 1977 is assuredly not Dobie Moore the ballplayer. And the fact that a white man named Walter Moore was born on the exact same day (February 27, 1890) and in the same Georgia county that Riley’s addendum lists for Dobie is troubling, though I don’t know what to make of the totally different death dates.
We’re left with two pieces of evidence I know of: the Walter Moore found in the 1920 census at Camp Stephen D. Little in Nogales, Arizona, born in Georgia, age 24 (on the same page as Branch Russell and William Linder); and a photo and caption in the September 11, 1943, Chicago Defender—the latest mention I have found of Dobie Moore’s life:
Since Moore was in Detroit in 1943, it’s almost certain that he registered there for the World War II draft (in the so-called “old man’s registration”); unfortunately the Michigan cards have not been microfilmed by the National Archives, and thus are not slated to be digitized by Ancestry.com or anybody else anytime soon. It might be possible, though, to locate his card in the National Archives’ Great Lakes Region headquarters in Chicago, where the Michigan draft cards are housed. If anybody living around there is reading this, you might want to think about checking it out if you have the chance.
UPDATE 10/21/2007 See this post for more on Moore, including the box score for his first appearance in the Negro National League, and this category for more information in general on the Army ballplayers that joined the Monarchs.
UPDATE 10/24/2007 If you haven’t seen it already, this post has the result of John Bowman’s trip to the National Archives facility in Chicago. He found a World War II draft card for an African-American man named Walter Moore living in Detroit, born in Atlanta on February 8, 1896. (Dobie Moore was known to have said himself he was born in Atlanta.) Also, as comments indicate, the Wikipedia and BR Bullpen entries have been updated.
UPDATE 10/24/2007 Also, I might not have been clear in the post above: the birthdate of January 9, 1895, is definitely in question, as it has been linked (via two sources) to a white man named Walter James Moore, the same man who passed away on December 6, 1977.