It looks like we have reached a conclusion in the case of the Kansas City Monarchs’ great shortstop Walter “Dobie” Moore, whose career ended when he was shot in the leg in 1926. I summarized the current state of affairs back in 2014, so I won’t go over all the evidence again. Suffice it to say that everything about Walter Moore of Detroit, who was born on February 8, 1895 or 1896, in Atlanta, Georgia, and died in Detroit on August 20, 1947, matched what we knew about Dobie Moore. We were almost, almost positive that we had found him.
There were just two problems. First, we were able to find two reported sightings of Dobie Moore well after August 20, 1947. Second, while both Walter and Dobie had younger brothers who were also ballplayers, Dobie’s brother was named Pete Moore, while Walter’s was called Allen Moore. Were the sightings of Dobie mistaken? And were Pete and Allen the same person?
It would be nearly impossible to find a definitive answer to the first question. However, Peter Morris has, I think, provided an answer to the second. Reading Bill Staples’s excellent book about Kenichi Zenimura, Peter realized that Bill’s research on a 1934 tour by the Detroit Colored Giants to the West Coast (where they played the Fresno All-Stars, featuring Zenimura, at the Fresno Japanese Ball Park) had provided what might be the final piece to the Dobie Moore puzzle. As it turns out, the Colored Giants’ shortstop was, throughout the 1934 season, referred to interchangeably as Peter Moore and Allen Moore.
Here’s a report from the Bismarck Tribune (May 15, 1934), previewing an upcoming game between the Detroit Colored Giants and the famous Bismarck independent team, the racially integrated club that featured Satchel Paige. Here the Colored Giants’ shortstop is called Peter Moore:
And here is a piece of local news from Gallup, New Mexico, printed in the Chicago Defender later in the year (July 14, 1934), as the Colored Giants edged closer to the coast, naming Allen Moore as the team’s shortstop:
Now we can plausibly answer yes, it appears that Pete Moore and Allen Moore were the same person. And now I’m also prepared to say that, yes, the two 1948 sightings of Dobie were almost certainly mistakes, one way or another, and that we’ve certainly identified Dobie Moore as the Walter Moore who died of a heart attack in Detroit in 1947, at the young age of 51 or 52.
This means, incidentally, that we know where Dobie Moore was buried: in Detroit Memorial Park East, located in Warren, Macomb County, Michigan. Back in 2014 Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press wrote an article about our efforts to track down Moore (now unfortunately behind a pay wall). In so doing, he contacted the cemetery and actually went out to see the grave where Dobie Moore now lies—beneath a tin marker inscribed with only a number (1768).
If you want to follow the whole research process that led to this outcome, check out these posts:
- Why all published birth and death information for Dobie Moore is wrong (October 20, 2007)
- Walter Moore’s WW2 draft card found (October 23, 2007)
- Image of Walter Moore’s WW2 draft card (February 8, 2013)
- Walter Moore’s death record found (April 30, 2013)
- Dobie Moore at George Carr funeral 1948 (April 30, 2013)
- Copy of Walter Moore’s death certificate; second 1948 sighting of Dobie Moore (May 9, 2013)
- 1924 passenger list found (May 17, 2014)