An extremely sad story followed as the Angels went on to lose that game and their lead in the series was cut to 3-2. They were blown out in games 6 and 7 and it was the Red Sox, not the Angels who made it to the World Series. Moore was ridiculed and blamed for this series loss. This and the fact that Moore took it so personally led to the deterioration of his pitching career and less than a month after he was cut by a minor league baseball team in 1989, he committed suicide after shooting his estranged wife.
Prior to the ALCS, Moore had somewhat of a resurrection to his career. Prior to joining the Angels before the 1985 season, Moore was a veteran pitcher who was perhaps mostly known for beaning Graig Nettles in the 9th inning of the famous Padres/ Braves brawl game of 1984. He pitched in 65 games in 1985, going 8-8 with a 1.92 ERA and 31 saves becoming one of the better relief pitchers in the game. Though his numbers did not stand out as much in 1986, he had 21 saves which helped guide the Angels to the 1986 AL West crown.
There was no doubt Moore took the Henderson HR to heart, though the Angels scored in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Moore gave up a run in the top of the 11th inning which gave the Red Sox the lead and eventually the win. Many solely put the loss of the game and series on Moore. It absolutely not true.
Henderson was the first batter Moore faced in the game. The Angels had a 5-2 lead going in to the 9th inning. Starter Mike Witt was cruising through the game and with two outs, gives up a 3-run homerun to Don Baylor to make it a 5-4 game. Manager Gene Mauch came out to get Witt and replaced him with left hander Gary Lucas, who promptly hit left hand hitting catcher Rich Gedman. Moore entered the game to face Henderson. After he got ahead with two strikes he threw a good pitch, a splitter that was heading toward the ground near Henderson's feet level. But Henderson golfed it, similar to what Vladimir Guerrero would do in today's game, launching it into the left field seats to stun the California Angels crowd. It was a touch pitch to hit and to this day, its amazing how Henderson not only hit that pitch, but hit it out of the park.
How come Witt wasn't criticized for wearing down or Gary Lucas for hitting the only batter he faced. What about Gene Mauch? He was known as a touch luck manager who couldn't win the big game. Remember it was Mauch who managed the 1964 Philadelphia Philles when they blew that historical lead in the final two weeks of the season to the St Louis Cardinals. I think Mauch left Witt in too long. Had he gone to Moore earlier in the inning, maybe even to start it, this may not have happened. Of course, everything is perfect in hindsight. Mauch had been criticized in his prior managing jobs with the Phillies, Expos and Twins for leaving pitchers in too long. There was no bigger example of this than in this game. Mauch was not blamed initially, but was fired after the team finished 75-87 in 1987.
And this game was not solely on Moore like game one of the 1988 World Series was on Dennis Eckersley. Moore lived to see that game, where Kirk Gibson hit the two run homerun off Eckersley in the bottom of the 9th to win the game. Eckersley would go on to make the Hall of Fame in spite of that. Moore also saw Gibson hit a big homerun to beat Goose Gossage as the Tigers beat the Padres in the 1984 World Series. Gossage was arguably HOF worthy at that moment. Of course, Brad Lidge would give up a 3-run HR to Albert Pujols in 2004, costing the Astros a chance of getting to the World Series. Lidge stuck around and was part of the Houston team that made the World Series in 2005.
It is a shame that the Dave Henderson HR led Moore to eventually kill himself. Especially when the game was not solely his fault. Mike Witt was tiring and manager Gene Mauch went to the bullpen way too late. Maybe Mauch wanted Witt on the mound when California won. Well, he never got to see it. As great and dramatic as Al Michaels' call of the Henderson was, it is amazing as well as sad to know that it would be the beginning of the end of Donnie Moore's life.