Chris Moon got drafted. Then he enlisted.
After hitting .462 his junior year in high school and pitching a one-hitter in an American Legion World Series, the Atlanta Braves drafted him the late rounds. Moon opted to accept a scholarship to the University of Arizona. But before Moon’s freshman spring season came at Arizona, he enlisted in the Army.
His obituary noted, “Chris accepted Christ as a young boy and understood the meaning of putting his trust in God which displayed his willingness to believe in something bigger than himself.” Like another Arizona sports hero, Pat Tillman, killed in Afghanistan, Moon sacrificed comfort and benefits to serve.
The Native American teen signed up for the Army in 2008 and became a sniper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Less than a year after deploying to Afghanistan in September of 2009, Moon, 20, was killed by a bomb detonated a Taliban terrorist hiding in orchards by the side of the road. The blast severed limbs and created a crater several feet deep. Moon survived a week.
His admirers hope the memory of him survives longer than Chris Moon did. Working with Legacies Alive, Moon’s friends, family, and well-wishers seek to raise $60,000 to erect a statue of him at a Tuscon baseball field.
The site explains:
This Legacy Project will erect a permanent life-sized bronze statue of Chris Moon, a Tucson High School graduate who died serving our country in Afghanistan. Chris was an outstanding baseball player who was drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves, but he instead decided to accept a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Arizona. He worked out with the team and played during the fall season, but decided to serve his country by enlisting in the US Army at the end of the first semester. He served several tours of duty and was credited with several Taliban kills until he was mortally injured by an IED. Chris was flown to the US Army Medical Center at Landstuhl, Germany but succumbed to his injuries on July 13, 2010.
Chris’s story is the high school athlete equivalent of the Pat Tillman story, and we feel we need to honor him in this way. The statue will be located at Tucson High School’s baseball/softball complex known as “Cherry Field” and his statue will overlook the field he once played on as a Tucson High School baseball player. Please consider donating any amount to our fund. No contribution is too small! Thank you!
The pledge drive needs about $40,000 more to reach its modest goal of $60,000. Moon’s admirers hope that when Americans hear the story of what he gave, they will want to give this Memorial Day.
“It was hard to imagine somebody giving up what he had to go serve our country,” Mike Boese, a trainer at Tucson High, told Yahoo Sports in an in-depth piece on the athlete-soldier. “I always tell people, Chris Moon was the high school/college version of Pat Tillman.”