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February 08, 1985 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-02-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


scorekeepers and could I handle them?
He sent me to Atkinson Field on
McGraw and Junction across from
Kronk Recreation Center.
"I went to the field very early and
got the lineups for all six teams. Back-
) to-back I can _do it blindfolded, but_I_
wasn't sure about the third game. I
told the team scorer I'd pick up the
information from him after the game.
When I did, I found I only had to
change a couple things. I didn't intend
to score that game, but I did. Since
then there have been at least a dozen
/ -) times I've scored three games.
"I've covered tons and tons of
double-headers. I score two games at
one time easier than one game, be-
cause when I do one game I don't watch
the game. I'm carrying on a conversa-
tion or listening to a game on the radio.
When I'm doing two at once, naturally
I have to pay attention."
Moorawnick says he has scored
"as many as eight games in a day:
three, three and two.
But baseball and softball account
for only a small portion of Mooraw-
nick's "account." He is the statistician
for the Detroit Pistons of the National
Basketball Association, the Detroit
Red Wings of the National Hockey
League, had been in the same capacity
with the former Michigan Panthers of
the United States Football League and
regularly works on high school sports
as a part-time employee at the Detroit



Free Press.
He's the University of Michigan's
baseball scorer and also does statisti-
cal work for the Michigan High School
Athletic Association, principally
working the state football tournament
finals at the Pontiac Silverdome.
Over the course of a year, either

How does someone manage on
that, in this day of $12,000 basic autos
$50,000 bungalows, $5 movies, $70
hotel room rates, 60 cent soft drinks
and 40 cent candy bars?
"But I turn in the wildest ex-
penses — legitimately," Moorawnick
says, referring to tax time. "I can take
off travel, food and lodging. I pay my
own way when I go with Michigan's
baseball team on the spring trip. If you
have reimbursed expenses you have to
declare that as income. My expenses
aren't reimbursed.
"I have no expenses outside of
taxes. I own my own home. I don't own
a car. I am a virgin and so I have no sex
expenses. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I
have meals everywhere I service. I
take trips with teams and get rides
from my friends and associates.
"Except for utility bills and taxes,
whatever I get is 100 percent profit. I
have the right, on my income, to get
food stamps, but they won't give them
to me because I have too much money
in the bank. Even though I make slave
wages during the year I can't get food
He doesn't have any hospitaliza-
tion insurance, but says he doesn't
need it.
With so many assignments at the
Silverdome and Joe Louis Arena, it
might seem impractical — nay, down-
right impossible — to get to every
game without a car. But Moorawnick
does. And, he says proudly, "I never
missed a game."
"I take buses and get rides from
friends. I get tickets for the kids to
Pistons games in exchange for -rides to
the Silverdome."
He has kept track of Red Wing
games on radio while working at Pis-

house in 1971. The elder Moorawnidt
died three years later.
Moorawnick graduated from Cass
Tech in Detroit in 1945 and went to
Wayne (later Wayne State) University
on a music scholarship, getting his de-
gree in 1951. He was on the univer-
sity's national collegiate cham-
pionship table tennis team in 1951.
That same year he was city and state
bridge champ and teamed with a part-
ner to win the national collegiate
mixed pairs bridge title.
1951 was a busy year for Mooraw-
nick. That's when he was awarded a
Cass Tech basketball letter — six
years after graduation. The honor, he
says, was bestowed upon him by the
school's coach, Frank "Ace" Cudillo —
for keeping statistics.
Moorawnick played the trombone
in high school and he used it "as a way
for a scholarship. When the schol-
arship ended, the music ended. Al-
though I still play the piano and love
classical music, my talent is not in my
hands, but in my ear. I could probably
write or teach, but not play."
But he did play — in the Wayne
band at everything from halftime at
Lions football games to the Soap Box
Derby. "So I was around sporting
He became acquainted with Joel
Mason, who was the Wayne basketball
coach, and says Mason hired him to
keep his scorebook. "When I finished
my education he had me keep stats and
travel with the team. In the 1955-1956
season, Wayne went to the NCAA
tourney and beat DePaul in the first
round, then went to the regional at
Iowa City and lost to Kentucky in the
Over the next 17 years Mooraw-

Friday, February 8, 1985

nick traveled with Wayne sports
teams, compiling baseball, football
and basketball statistics.
"Although they had been playing
sports, they never had any permanent
statistics," Moorawnick relates. "It
was started with me by sports publicist
Paul Pentecost."
Michigan State also began utiliz-
ing the young sports enthusiast's serv-
ices, thanks to Moorawnick's cousin
Walt Godfrey, who was an all-state
basketball player at Cass Tech in 1951
and who also was a fine baseball
"I'd hitchhike up Grand River to
watch him play," Moorawnick says.
"I'd eat on meal tickets Of guys who
weren't eating and I'd sleep at the
Shaw dormitory . . . I had nothing to do
with the school, but they let me travel
with the team. I kept stats. I didn't get
paid or anything. But you know who
some of the athletes were who gave me
their meal tickets? I think you'd rec-
ognize these names: Doug Weaver
(current MSU athletic -director),
George Perles (current Spartan foot-
ball coach), Earl Morrall (former star
quarterback both in college and the
National Football League), Johnny
Green (former star basketball
There were other names.
Whenever Moorawnick speaks of his
various experiences, invariably he re-
calls athletes who went on to make big
names for themselves. Those names in
turn bring to mind others, and those
still others.
Talking to Moorawnick is like hit-
ting the "directory" code on a computer
terminal — bits of information keep
flowing until the operator stops hit-


for statistical work or as a correspond-
ent, Moorawnick is liable to draw
checks also from the Ann Arbor News,
Associated Press, United Press Inter-
national, Detroit News, Michigan
Daily, Adray Baseball League,

Livonia Observer, Sports Illustrated,
ESPN, Detroit Catholic League and
others. He says for most he merely
submits a bill once a year.
There is no typical day for him. He
might work five or six hours, 12 or 14,
or none. He might work seven days a
week or two. It depends on what is
going on. And often statistical record
keeping is handled at home at his lei-
sure. Moorawnick's home is on Edin-
borough in northwest Detroit.
One might think the portly stu-
dent of sports numbers earns a pretty
good living. Full-time sports writers at
major newspapers don't make an
awful lot of money, though, and so a
chronic part-timer makes even less.
Moorawnick says his income is $5,000
to $6,000 a year.

tons games, which he says come first if
the teams are playing at the same
time. The Pistons, though, "don't ap-
preciate that."
According to Moorawnick, a
former Pistons score-table worker who
now helps out at Dallas Mavericks'
games told him the Mavericks had
four persons doing the job Moorawnick
does alone. His duties include compil-
ing statistics for the program and the
media notes.
Moorawnick is in his 28th year
with the Pistons. "I'm the only person
connected with the team who was
there on day one (when it moved from
Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1957) and still is
connected with the team," he says.
Moorawnick used to live in the
Tyler-Dexter area of Detroit. Before
that he lived around Linwood and Euc-
lid for 27 years in an apartment. His
mother, Sylvia, owned a corset shop on
12th Street and Hazelwood. She died
three years before Moorawnick and his
father Jack bought Morrie's current



Morrie Moorawnick has become
a statistical and gastronomic
legend in Detroit area sports
arenas and baseball diamonds.

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