In his teens, Lenny Moore knew that he had a very special talent. A talent that would propel him to the glittering heights of success. It was his prowess in football. He was an All-American in high school in his hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. At Penn State University he was an All-American.
Lenny was a number one draft choice of the Baltimore Colts in 1956. Nicknamed "Spats" for the trademark-white tape covering the upper portion of his shoes, he was selected for the Rookie of the Year honors that first year.
His career with the Colts was sensational. Number 24 won the Jim Thorpe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the National Football League in 1964. He was All-Pro and All-League five times and played in seven Pro Bowl games. In 1964, he established the NFL record for most touchdowns in one season - 20. That record has since been broken. He is a member of the elite "10,000 Yards-Plus Club" with more than 12,000 yards.
And, in August 1975 he was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Yes, Lenny Moore did have a very special talent. The poor boy from the steel mill area of Reading, Pennsylvania had fulfilled an almost impossible dream.
The average salary in the United States was $4,230. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was President. Raymond Burr starred in the new TV series, "Perry Mason." The Bridge on the River Kwai won the Academy Award. John Wayne was the top box-office star. The Billboard song of the year Debbie Reynold's "Tammy." Men were wearing suits of small glen plaids. Mobsters filled the headlines - Frank Costello was shot in a New York City apartment and Albert Anastasia, "the Lord High Executioner" of Murder, Inc. was slain in a barbershop in New York's Park Sheraton Hotel. Pocket-size transistor radios were introduced. New words and usages were Asian flu, fact sheet, and meter maid.
It was a great year - 1957. Returning from a Colt away game, Lenny raced to the hospital to greet his new son - Leslie. He just loved being with the boy - playing with him and taking him to training camp. During the off-season Lenny loved to show him off around the town.
When Lenny retired in 1967, he already had experience in a number of fields. He was a disc jockey on then - WSID RADIO and sports director on WWIN RADIO. In the off-season, he was a public relations representative for the National Brewing Company. In those days, players had to have jobs in the off-seasons and some held part-time jobs during the season.
Lenny loved playing for the Colts and still has lots of friends from those days. But, during his playing years, things were different for a black man. White players stayed at different hotels. Offers for personal appearances were limited. Supervisory off-season jobs were virtually nonexistent. Lenny said, "There was no animosity between blacks and whites on the field. They just completely parted ways as they left the locker room. That was the accepted and practiced incomplete way of life."
In his first year of not playing football, Lenny was in the forefront as a black individual doing color for CBS Television's NFL games. For almost a decade, he owned a popular cocktail lounge and package-goods operation. He served for a few years as a community and public relations representative for one of the nation's leading advertising agencies.
In 1975, he returned to the Baltimore Colt front office as community relations director. In that capacity, he organized the players' speakers bureau and appearance schedules, directed projects involving charitable organizations and supervised public relations announcements. Since 1984, he has worked for the State of Maryland's Department of Juvenile Justice.
He supervises and directs the in-school intervention/ prevention behavioral management program for adolescents. Lenny also provides assistance to juvenile programs related to education and substance abuse prevention, as well as encouraging self-help and motivation for delinquent youth.
He is a past president of the prestigious Ed Block Courage Foundation, a program founded to help abused children in NFL cities. Through the years he has chaired numerous fund-raising campaigns for such organizations as heart, cancer, kidney, muscular dystrophy, the Red Cross and Goodwill. He has been a keynote speaker at numerous civic and business associations, colleges and schools discussing careers, life and the dangers of drugs. He has been a regular visitor to area hospitals and veterans facilities.
In his personal life, he has seen much tragedy. His ex-wife Francis died five weeks after their son Leslie had succumbed to a rare disease at age 43. His marriage to Erma, the first Christian with whom he had a full-time association, ended with her untimely death. Lenny is now married to Edith and they are members of the First United Church of Christ.
Lenny Moore, football superstar and Hall of Fame great, is now active in the vineyards of the Lord. As Lenny says, "I am a born-again Christian 'on fire' with the love of the Lord living in my heart."