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Color commentator Tommy Moody is a walking baseball encyclopedia

USC announcer Tommy Moody calls the action during the Gamecocks game against Mississippi at Sarge Frye Field in April.
USC announcer Tommy Moody calls the action during the Gamecocks game against Mississippi at Sarge Frye Field in April.

Tommy Moody has the ultimate USC baseball trivia question. One only he and a handful of others know; one you can’t look up.

He had been saving it for one of his baseball broadcasts, but since we asked . . .

“The most stolen bases for South Carolina in a game,” USC’s color commentator said. “It’s not in the records book; Tom Price (the Gamecocks’ late sports information guru and baseball statistician) never put it in.”

The answer? Nine, vs. Wake Forest in 1970.

How does Moody know? “My mother saved the (newspaper) clipping,” he said, laughing.

Since 2000, Moody has regaled radio listeners of USC baseball games with his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Gamecocks. He can do football and basketball, too, but baseball is his passion.

“I tell people, I didn’t know how much I loved (baseball) until I broadcast it,” he said.

A former all-area player for A.C. Flora – and yes, he still has a photo of that 1969 squad – Moody walked on with the Gamecocks as a 5-foot-9, 152- pound second baseman in 1970, the year Bobby Richardson replaced Jack Powers as coach. That time cemented his natural sports-trivia tendencies forever.

Now, working for WNKT-FM (107.5 The Game) with play-by-play partner Mike Morgan, the 56-year-old has a larger audience for his mental storehouse of minutiae.

“I’ve been accused of wasted brain space,” Moody said. “I can’t find my keys, but I can tell you every Heisman Trophy winner since 1935.”

Each USC baseball weekend, Moody prepares three trivia questions, one per game. “Ninety percent of the time it’s (asked) during a visit to the mound” by coach Ray Tanner, he said. “I’ll get out my questions and ask them.” And wait for the switchboard to light up.

Moody’s sports fanaticism dates from when, as a youngster, he played imaginary college football games in his front yard – in the middle of the night.

“Years later, my mom told me they knew I was doing that because my ‘crowd noise’ woke them up.”

That’s one doting mother.

As a teen, Moody collected preseason sports magazines (he still has most of them), and in 1979 he began “Tommy’s Extra Point,” a football pick’ems newsletter – “eight subscribers to start” – now in its 30th year.

He never had to look up plenty of USC baseball trivia; he lived it, playing alongside such stars as Earl Bass (“my first trivia question probably was about him”) and, before that, attending Gamecocks games with his dad in the 1960s. His USC career ended with a broken leg in 1971.

The past nine seasons, with Seawell’s Food Caterers Inc. as his sponsor, Moody – who worked 28 years for General Mills before making radio sports and sales his vocation – has been an integral part of USC broadcasts. Not bad for a guy who in 2000 told his future bosses, “You don’t have to pay me the first year.”

Today, Moody has another, very personal, trivia question: When did he hit his only USC home run?

“An intra-squad game, off (then-graduate assistant) June Raines,” he said, laughing. “And June threw at my head the next at-bat.”

The broadcast booth is safer.