717-7- T317i1. ITT I lir IT1
Ffiday, February 8, 1985
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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ting the "execute" button. Except
that Moorawnick, who apparently
has more storage capacity for
facts and figures than the biggest
corporations' computers, can spew
information without stopping for
air or waiting for another ques-
tion or "command."
He recalls doing statistics in the
late '40s for Cincy Sachs' old pro
basketball team, the Detroit Fal-
"I've been in the NBA longer
than the NBA," Moorawnick says
with a laugh.
In the early '50s, George Mask-
ing, who then was on the sports
staff at the Detroit Times, re-
cruited Moorawnick to write high
school and sandlot sports stories
as a replacement for Wally
Dwyer, who went into the service.
It wasn't until 1959 that
Moorawnick began his associa-
tion with U-M baseball. Don Lund
,was the coach and Moby Benedict
his assistant. Moorawnick flew to
Florida to handle the team's
statistics for the Wolverines'
When Moorawnick began get-
ting more and more duties with
the Red Wings, the Pistons and
Michigan, he drifted away from
Wayne State and Michigan State
Most teams feed members of the
press and statistical crews, and
pro teams often put out a big
spread. Moorawnick has been
known to pack away triple serv-
ings with regularity, be it roast
beef or French pastry. But — de-
spite all the freebies available and
thus the temptations — he ob-
"I was brought up in an Or-
thodox Jewish home," he says. "I
never have, nor ever will, inten-
tionally eat pork or any product of
a pig, or crustaceans. That's the
way I was brought up. I won't eat
butter or cheese. I loved shrimp in
junior high until my mother told
me I couldn't eat it.
"I don't attend a synagogue, but
I went to Hebrew school for six or
seven years._On all holidays I was
the singer. On Chanukah I'd sing
a song on each of the eight days
while lighting the candles. I was
the designated singer.
"I can read Hebrew, but I can't
He says sometimes he's razzed
on road trips, good naturedly,
about his eating habits.
"When we go on Michigan trips
(baseball coach) Bud Middaugh at
McDonald's orders 27 cheesebur-
gers and two or three hambur-
gers. The hamburgers, of course,
are for me. I've got these people
"I'll eat anything that isn't
moving — and sometimes things
that are moving — but only if
Moorawnick says he had a
grandfather, Abraham Mooraw-
nick, who was a rabbi, and a
cousin, Jerry Godfrey, who is a
rabbi now in Oak Park.
"Jerry will not even eat in a
synagogue unless he watches the
preparation of the food," Morrie
says. "He doesn't eat outside his
In the 40-plus years of Mooraw-
nick's adult life, he says he has
had only two jobs that could be
Morrie checks the Silverdome
considered full time: as a reporter
for the Detroit Daily Press in 1962
and the Polish-American in 1968,
both when regular Detroit news-
papers were not publishing due to
The Polish-American paper's
workers, Moorawnick recalls, all
were from the Free Press and the
paper paid everyone Newspaper
Guild scale, including overtime.
"I made more money then than I
did any other time in my life,"
Moorawnick says, a touch of gid-
dishness in his voice. "I got over-
time, doubletime as much as I
He kept his big Zenith Trans-
oceanic radio at his side to
monitor various sporting events
around the country. One day, in
June 1968, the staff was about
ready to wrap up for the night
when Moorawnick, in a room by
himself, heard some strange mut-
terings by radio reporters who
had been giving California elec-
tion results. They said something
about hearing a shot and that
someone was hurt.
Moorawnick listened intently.
It turned out to be the assassina-
tion of Robert Kennedy. Nedless
to say, Moorawnick alerted the
news room and page one was ur-
gently remade. Workers who
headed for the door at 1:45 a.m.
didn't leave until 9:15. The paper
printed three editions and ran out
of them all.
"All the other papers in the area
had headlines saying election re-
sults in California were slow,"
Moorawnick says. "The Polish-
American headline said, 'Ken-
nedy Shot.' The next night all the
headlines said, 'Kennedy Sink-
ing.' Ours said, 'Kennedy Dead!'
We doubled the circulation of the
One of his biggest thrills, he
says, was going into the Detroit
Public Library and seeing on mic-
rofilm stories in 1968 with his
Moorawnick has favorite
athletes and persons he's worked
with, but he's almost reluctant to
mention them for fear of leaving
someone out. However, among
them are baseball star Steve Gar-
vey (who spent some time at
Continued on Page 18