From where I sit, South Carolina Athletics lost an icon this week. Former baseball player Tommy Moody (1970-1972), who had also been part of the Gamecock baseball radio broadcast team since 2000 passed away unexpectedly at the age of 72.
I don’t know of anyone who didn’t love Tommy. He was kind, passionate, funny, and always, ALWAYS a gentleman. His encyclopedic knowledge of South Carolina Athletics, and baseball in particular was beyond comprehension. When it comes to being able to recall so much Gamecock history, he is matched perhaps only by other legendary figures who have since passed, such as former play-by-play announcer Bob Fulton and former Sports Information Directors Don Barton and Tom Price.
I wish I had sat down with him to write a book about his experiences because it would be amazing. Don Barton and Bob Fulton collaborated on such ventures before their passing, and we’re lucky to have that.
Most fans knew Tommy as the color analyst for baseball, which started in 2000 with former announcer Mike Morgan, who had just been hired. At that time, Tom Price would sit in with Morgan on road games, but there was no analyst for home games, so Morgan told his bosses he knew the perfect guy to fill that role.
Morgan told me, “After I got clearance to put Tommy on, I bumped into him. I told him I just got clearance to put you on the baseball broadcasts. He didn’t know I had gotten the job yet, and he said, ‘I had recommended you!’”
The rest is history. Moody and Morgan worked together for ten years. Moody later worked beside Andy Demetra and now Derek Scott for the last several years. I had the pleasure of working a few games over the years with Tommy when Andy or Derek had a conflict with men’s basketball, and it was just that – a pleasure.
All told, he covered countless games with the Gamecocks all around the country, highlighted by six College World Series appearances and two national championships. He also hosted local radio shows, was the President of the USC Association of Lettermen, and was a great ambassador for the University.
Outside of the press box, Tommy never met a stranger, and I never met anyone who knew more about baseball, and Gamecock baseball in particular. He was also a fantastic listener. That is a lost art these days. If he asked how you were doing, he was genuinely interested.
On the air, there was never a question who Tommy was pulling for. How many times would you hear him say, “get a hold of one 22 (or whichever numbered player was up to bat),” whenever the Gamecocks needed a run. But he respected the game and the players and coaches in the other dugout as well. That makes him a role model to me.
The social media posts from friends and co-workers keep pouring in:
Derek Scott – Been trying to put into words my feelings for hours. Tommy was the best broadcast partner imaginable. Probably the nicest person I ever knew. Loved his family, the Gamecocks & baseball as much as anyone. Our road-trips were the best. I’ll miss him more than I can explain.
Andy Demetra – There was never a bad day with you. Thankful for every room, ride, booth, text, and postgame toast we got to share. And I know you were far prouder of your daughters and grandkids than any title. You spread a light that’ll stay with all of us. Love you partner.
Mike Morgan – Beyond shocked to hear of the loss of one of my former cohorts, Tommy Moody. They don’t make ’em any better. We shared SEC tournaments, game-clinching trips to Omaha, walkoff HR’s and more. The only thing stronger than Tommy’s love for baseball was the friendship he gave. RIP.
(Radio host) Jay Philips – I am devastated to learn of the passing of my dear friend Tommy Moody. He was an amazing father, grandfather, friend and colleague. His love of Carolina was immense, but his love for his family was so much greater. We love you Tommy. Thank you for gracing our lives
(Athletics Director) Ray Tanner – A special man and beloved Gamecock. Kind and gracious— he made our days special. RIP my friend.
(South Carolina Coach) Mark Kingston – We lost one of the most genuine, authentic people in our community today. Tommy Moody was always a pleasure to be around. I loved our talks of all things Gamecocks, baseball, and history. They will stay with me for a long time. We will miss you greatly Tommy. Rest in peace.
(Former Coach Chad Holbrook) Tommy was the best- Loyal, passionate, knowledgeable and he loved his Gamecocks. He treated his friends and family like his most prized possessions. I’m so lucky to have known him and to have been his friend. Thankful for all our conversations over the years. Rest easy Tommy!
There is no telling how much knowledge we’ve lost with Tommy’s passing. You could fill libraries. There is no telling how many people he touched, befriended, or made to feel important. From where I sit, you could fill stadiums.
Executive Associate Athletics Director Charles Bloom had additional perspective on Tommy:
Tommy Moody loved his Gamecocks.
His work with the Hall of Fame was the reason 213 inductees have a lifetime honor that ties them with their alma mater. As a radio broadcaster, he would call them like he saw them. But there was always a tint of Garnet in his voice. He had a way of getting things done. A professional standard. He knew how to work the room. His “To Do List” met its match daily.
His “child-like zest” for baseball was only matched by his passion for the Garnet and Black. He played the game and was able to provide color commentary for Gamecock baseball on the radio since 2000. He was able to be in the radio booth at the College World Series in 2010 and 2011, calling a national title for the Gamecocks.
Tommy was Columbia born-and-bred. He graduated from A.C. Flora High School and earned a baseball scholarship at Carolina, wearing the Garnet and Black from 1970-72. His voice filled the Midlands during his time on 107.5 The Game.
If you got him in a conversation about baseball, it could range from Abner Doubleday to Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth to Willie Mays and Hank Aaron to his college coach, Bobby Richardson, who he was able to recognize with a special honor at the Gamecock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last week.
He had served as President of the Lettermen’s Association, served as Historian on its Board of Directors, and chaired the Hall of Fame Selection Committee since 1998.
If you had an ear, he had a voice. He had a treasure trove of memories, memorabilia and an encyclopedic recall of facts, records, and birthdates.
He also had a heart. As big as Founders Park or Williams-Brice Stadium and devoted as any father, grandfather or friend can be. He treated everyone the same – with respect and courtesy. And, you may have heard an interesting thought or note along the way as well.
Gamecock Nation wraps its arms around Tommy’s two daughters and two grandsons and the many people that called him a friend.