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Moody is a walking baseball encyclopedia

Tommy Moody has the ultimate USC baseballtrivia question. One only he and a handful of othersknow; one you can’t look up.

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

“The most stolen bases for South Carolina in agame,” USC’s color commentator said. “It’s not inthe records book; Tom Price (the Gamecocks’ latesports 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 listenersof USC baseball games with his encyclopedicknowledge of all things Gamecocks. He can dofootball and basketball, too, but baseball is hispassion.

“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 – Moodywalked on with the Gamecocks as a 5-foot-9, 152-pound second baseman in 1970, the year BobbyRichardson replaced Jack Powers as coach. Thattime cemented his natural sports-trivia tendenciesforever.

Now, working for WNKT-FM (107.5 The Game)with play-by-play partner Mike Morgan, the 56-yearoldhas a larger audience for his mental storehouseof minutiae.

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

Each USC baseball weekend, Moody preparesthree trivia questions, one per game. “Ninety percentof the time it’s (asked) during a visit to the mound” bycoach Ray Tanner, he said. “I’ll get out my questionsand ask them.” And wait for the switchboard to lightup.

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

“Years later, my mom told me they knew I was doingthat because my ‘crowd noise’ woke them up.”That’s one doting mother.

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

He never had to look up plenty of USC baseballtrivia; he lived it, playing alongside such stars asEarl Bass (“my first trivia question probably wasabout him”) and, before that, attending Gamecocksgames with his dad in the 1960s. His USC careerended with a broken leg in 1971.

The past nine seasons, with Seawell’s FoodCaterers Inc. as his sponsor, Moody – who worked 28years for General Mills before making radio sports andsales his vocation – has been an integral part of USCbroadcasts. Not bad for a guy who in 2000 told hisfuture bosses, “You don’t have to pay me the firstyear.”

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

“An intra-squad game, off (then-graduateassistant) June Raines,” he said, laughing. “AndJune threw at my head the next at-bat.”The broadcast booth is safer.

– Bob Gillespie

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