Moegle replied, "Hell, I'm nervous too. You just get back on that rubber and cut it loose, and I like our chances." Moore unleashed a blistering fastball for a strikeout to win the state title.
Moore went on to play 13 major league seasons, ending up with the California Angels. In 1986, in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, he allowed a game-tying home run to the Boston Red Sox' Dave Henderson. Boston went on to win the game and the series, and that incident would contribute to Moore's suicide in '89.
That Moore is the only one of Moegle's 111 college scholarship players to have reached the big leagues shows how much the ornery coach has willed his players to overachieve. "Your lowest of lows came at the end of Moegle's nose, but that's what separated the fighters from the quitters," says Gary Ashby, a Plainsman from '71 to '73. "The guys who survived the s.o.b. bought into his mystique. We believed that Coach Moegle gave us a 4-0 lead before batting practice."
Many of the former Plainsmen admit that they didn't like the man, but they respected the coach. Under Moegle, Monterey has won 33 district titles and four state championships ('72, '74, '81 and '96). Three times Moegle has been voted Texas high school coach of the year and once, in '72, national coach of the year. Through Sunday his career record was 1,112-266.
There were times when Moegle had a chance to leave Monterey for greener pastures, but his wife and two daughters liked Lubbock, and he never put much stock in fame. His trophies are covered with dust on his office shelves, and he has no idea exactly when he became the nation's winningest coach.
"I'm just a company man who did my job for 40 years, and then one day they start calling you a legend, and you don't even know how you got there," he says. "Life starts running out, and you get all these awards, and you start thinking, Gosh dang it, I guess I did something special."
Moegle admits that his most gratifying moment came on the day in '97 that Monterey's baseball stadium was renamed Moegle Field and more than 50 former players showed up for the ceremony, many of them dressed in business suits and still calling him Coach. "When we were 16-or 17-year-old kids, we all hated his guts," says former Plainsman Jimmy Webster. "But by the time you turn 30, you're mailing him Christmas cards and thanking him for all he's meant to you, and you can't really figure out why."
Indeed, Moegle's legacy in Lubbock is far more sweeping than his record. His current second baseman, Jared Darnell, is the son of Jim Darnell, who played for Moegle in the mid-'60s. So did Jim's brother. And Jim's brother-in-law. Eight sons of former players have played for Moegle, and several grandsons have participated in his summer baseball camps. Jim Darnell, a judge in town, says that four lawyers he works with are also Moegle alums. Three of the four other high school coaches in Monterey's district are Moegle disciples, one of whom might just have had enough guts instilled in him by Moegle to succeed him.
"I wouldn't want to be the fellow who comes in behind him, because around here it's like taking over for John Wooden," says Ashby, now the vice president of a brokerage house. "He's one of the rare preachers who could use the same sermon for 40 years and never need to go looking for a new church. When Coach is gone, there'll never be another like him."
Soon Bobby Moegle will be gone. Gone with the wind.