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Playing with the Enemy, by Gary W. Moore

When he saw a couple of blog posts I made about my love of baseball, Gary Moore contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reading his book, Playing with the Enemy. It’s the story of his father, a can’t-miss catcher from Illinois, and how the war interrupts his major league plans. The title reflects the fact that the author’s soldier-father (Gene Moore) becomes a guard watching over a group of Germans captured in a U-boat attack. Gene comes up with the idea of teaching the Germans how to play the game and then the story takes a pretty significant twist; I won’t go into the details here because it’s better to read the way Gary wrote it himself.

Anyone who knows me realizes I’m about as far from a history buff as one could be. As a result, I didn’t push myself to start reading this book till a few days ago. The biggest surprise: Once I started it I couldn’t put the darned thing down! Honestly, this was one of the more interesting and certainly the most heartwarming books I’ve read in years. In fact, it’s now sparked a new interest in reading more about WWII. Paul M., my best friend from my Pittsburgh days just recommended I read Stephen Ambrose’s Citizen Soldiers, so I’m heading out to pick up a copy later today.

If you like baseball, great stories of the awesome generation that protected this country during World War II or you’re just looking for a good, well-written story, you can’t go wrong with Playing with the Enemy. Highly recommended.

P.S. – I understand there’s a movie planned for this book – I can’t wait to see it.


Bob M

Joe, a book about WWII vets you may want to read is The Girl Watchers Club: Lessons from the Battlefield of Life by Harry Stein.

And thanks for the tip about Playing With the Ememy.

Joe Wikert

Hi Bob. Thanks for the WWII reading tip. I'll add that to my list. I went ahead and bought a copy of Ambrose's book, Citizen Soldiers, and hope to get started on it later this week.

Michael A. Banks

Thanks for the heads-up on this book, Joe. I was immediately reminded of Joe Nuxhall, who was hired for Powel Crosley, Jr.'s Cincinnati Reds in 1944 when he (Nuxhall) was 15.

Many people (especially Cincinnati Reds fans) think Nuxhall was the youngest player ever signed in the major leagues, so it's good that the Moore book is out there!

Joe Wikert

Hi Mike. I remember Nuxhall...not because I was around when he pitched, but he was one of the Reds announcers when I lived in Ohio in the 1980's. He had a very distinctive voice and was fun to listen to. I also remember the original story on him and how he was signed at such a young age.

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