Simpler times: Dayton Moore recalls fun and innocence of Little League

Can you find Royals GM Dayton Moore in this team photo? (If you need help, see paragraph six below.)

Photo Courtesy: Bill Sprigg

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the Little League World Series finished up last weekend, baseball fan Bill Sprigg remembered a simpler time in Lakewood, N.Y., when he and several of his neighborhood friends got together almost every day to play baseball in a nearby park.

They all played together on their Little League team, the Lakewood Giants, too. One of those friends Sprigg played with was a small but athletic shortstop with a good arm and great speed.

His name was Dayton Moore.

"He was always one of the best players on our team," Sprigg recalled. "Pretty natural athlete and he just loved the game."

Sprigg had been thinking of those Little League days recently, and of his old teammate, Moore, so he retrieved an old photo of the Lakewood Giants, who went undefeated during the regular season. Sprigg guesses it was probably 1977.

That is Moore, second from the left on the bottom row. Sprigg is the boy wearing the Phillies cap.

"It was nice to see someone so passionate about the sport as a kid pursue baseball as a career," Sprigg said of Moore.

Moore smiled when he was shown the photo.

"Those were some good times," the Royals’ general manager said. "It was so innocent back then. All you did every day was get up and go play ball. I loved it."

Moore grew up in Wichita, Kan., and was an avid Royals fan. His family moved to Lakewood, which is about 70 miles south of Buffalo, because his father, who was in the airline business, got transferred. The family later moved to Moline, Ill., where Moore played high school baseball.

Moore also played at Garden City (Kan.) Community College and George Mason before becoming a coach and later a scout.

Moore said he lost track of his former Little League teammates after the move to Illinois.

"I was 10 or 11 and we moved shortly thereafter," he said. "But I do remember the good times we had."

Sprigg, now a sales manager at Stanley Security in south Florida, said he only recently learned that Moore is general manager of the Royals.

"I’m a Marlins fan now," he said, "but I’ll be rooting for the Royals down the stretch."

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.