Rock And Roll All Night And Rotisserie Baseball Every Day: Remembering Steve Moyer
Listen to the Fantasy Hall of Fame Hour Steve Moyer Tribute Special Edition
Donate to the GoFundMe Campaign for the Daughters of Steve Moyer Here
When Brian Walton last saw his friend Steve Moyer earlier this year, it was, naturally, on a baseball field in Florida at spring training of 2018. He was demonstrating unique pitch-tracking technology to the St. Louis Cardinals staff on the back fields in Jupiter, Florida.
That is ideally how Steve Moyer will be remembered by his friends and peers in the Fantasy industry. Where he belonged, on and near the baseball diamonds. The Fantasy Sports world lost one of its most influential and wisest voices when Steve unexpectedly passed away earlier this month at the age of 57. At the same time, what was even tougher is that many of us who knew Steve through Fantasy lost a good friend, and he was also a beloved father, son, brother, and fiancée to those who knew him best in Bath, Pennsylvania.
As the most respected Fantasy Baseball minds set to gather for the 2018 Tout Wars weekend in New York City this month, they prepared to share their emotions about the loss of one of their dearest longtime colleagues. In the Fantasy Hall of Fame Hour special edition above, you will hear from some of his closest friends in the industry, including Ron Shandler, Todd Zola, and Jeff Winick. His eternal buddies, Peter Kreutzer, Lawr Michaels and Gene McCaffrey, were known as the “Rock Remnants,” the name of their website where they all wrote about music on the side. As you will hear from Peter, Lawr, and Gene, Steve’s passion for baseball may have only been rivaled by his love of rock and roll. Although I was not privileged enough to know Steve quite as closely as the six guests on the show, it was indeed rock music that formed my friendship with Steve and opened the door for me to see what a fun person he was.
[caption id="attachment_264090" align="aligncenter" width="572"] The Rock Remnants: Gene, Steve, Lawr and Peter[/caption]
Steve left us on March 1 as he was in Phoenix preparing for the 2018 LABR Drafts. He had joined LABR in 1996 and tied for the league title that year, and he won the league outright in 2012. He was an original Tour Wars member when the league launched in 1998 and he hosted the drafts at his home in 2001, long before the days when it was highly decorated enough to be hosted at major broadcast studios and major and minor league ballparks. He was a three-time and defending champion of the XFL (Xperts Fantasy League). At the time of his passing, he was the Vice President of Sales for Yakkertech Sports Performance Systems, which Brian Walton had mentioned regarding when he saw him in Jupiter. He was demonstrating the company’s signature product, an advanced pitching tracking device.
Steve first made his biggest initial splashes in the Fantasy Baseball industry in the early 1990s, when he worked on John Benson’s A to Z Player Guide while taking the post of Director of Operations for STATS Inc. from 1991 to 1998. During his tenure at STATS, he recorded games to study pitch framing. Also in the 1990s, he started becoming a regularly featured speaker at Baseball HQ’s First Pitch seminars and became one of its premiere featured analysts over a two-decade period.
Steve later served as the Sports Editor for Broadband Sports, and in 2002, he was named the President of Baseball Info Solutions, where he would spend the next decade guiding a staff of 30-plus for one of the most prominent baseball data providers. Steve was a top contributor for RotoMan’s (Kreutzer) Annual Fantasy Baseball Guide, which is still available now with his predictions for 2018. He also contributed to the Bill James Baseball Handbook and wrote for RotoNews, which later became RotoWire. Prior to joining Yakkertech in 2017, he worked in sales for Inside Edge. Steve was a graduate of Emmaus High School ('78) and received his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Moravian College ('82)
Most importantly, Steve was a father to his daughters Harmony and Mary, a son to Sylvia and Neil, a brother to Dr. Anthony Moyer, and a fiancée to Rev. Samantha Drennan, and his former wife Michelle is also among those who will carry on the most cherished memories of him. Steve was an active member of Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church, where he was a Sunday School teacher.
Please donate to Steve’s GoFundMe Memorial Home Run campaign to provide support for his daughters here.
[caption id="attachment_264091" align="alignright" width="186"] Father's Day: Steve and Mary[/caption]
Here are some of the fondest, unfiltered memories of Steve Moyer from a few of his close friends in the industry and his fiancée.
Must-Reads on Steve Moyer: The outpouring of emotions from some of his dearest chums in the industry are essentials straight from their hearts.
Peter Kreutzer (Rotoman and Publisher of the annual Fantasy Baseball Guide) on Steve Moyer – “Steve suggested we include a broad range of fantasy voices in the Guide, and helped me to draw those voices in. I’d always been shy about the fantasy industry, a phrase that is particularly ludicrous on Oscar night, but Steve in real and important ways introduced me to people I already knew from LABR and Tout, and helped forge friendships with them that have become a central part of my life. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that, but with Steve’s help I did.”
Read the full memorial tribute piece here at Rock Remnants.
Lawr Michaels (Creative Sports) - “But, since Steve was such a music junkie, as I got into the car to drive back to my hotel last night, I plugged in my shuffle and wondered just what song Spotify would deliver as the tune to contemplate the passing of Steve Moyer, and amazingly–and somewhat eerily–Elton John’s Funeral for a Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding came on.”
Read more of Lawr’s emotional ode to Steve Moyer here at Rock Remnants.
Also, an additional piece from Lawr on Steve here.
Brian Walton (Creative Sports and The Cardinal Nation) - Crushing loss of a long-time friend. Last saw Steve a few weeks back demonstrating his company's pitch-tracking technology to #stlcards staff on the back fields in Jupiter. A baseballer, fantasy leader and rock-n-roller through and through. Steve Moyer will be greatly missed.
Brian Feldman (Tout Wars auctioneer): I met Steve at First Pitch Arizona almost 20 years ago and was intrigued by his contrarian viewpoints. We had great conversations, and I liked him because he could speak intelligently on a number of non-baseball topics like music, politics and business. In 2005 I was invited to participate as an owner in the XFL and went up against him every fall in our auction. Even though almost everyone knew his roster creation style, he regularly made what the rest of us would consider to be odd picks that almost ALWAYS panned out in the long run. His ability to pick up minor leaguers at the very beginning of their career was uncanny, and he wasn’t afraid to dip into foreign markets, colleges or even high schools to draft an interesting player.
I also interacted with him every spring as the auctioneer for Tout Wars. As auctioneer, I have a unique viewpoint in that I can watch all bidders at the same time, and over the years have been able to pick up many of their auction ‘tells’. With Steve, it was always the “Moyer Roll”; he would sit absolutely still, and then before entering his last minute bid would roll his shoulder forward before shooting his arm straight up, very high, while announcing his bid. When that shoulder started to move, there was a Moyer bid coming.
Perhaps most important, to me personally, was that Steve was the only guy who ever offered me a job in the industry. In 2004, he asked me to come on board as Sales Director for Baseball Info Solutions. I was flattered, and thought long and hard about it, but as I'd just had my third child and the salary offered was less than half of what I was making, I regretfully had to decline. I was always grateful to Steve for the offer.
Ron Shandler (The Baseball Forecaster, Baseball HQ Founder): In some ways, Steve had multiple personalities. He was a fierce fantasy league competitor, playing the curmudgeon, naysaying rules and situations he found unfavorable to his best interests. He could be both aloof and pompous, but his approach to the game was usually contrarian. So I found it somewhat easy to trade with him because we had such different opinions on players. In the deals we pulled off, each of us perceived we had fleeced the other. Our last trade, this past January in the XFL - I sent him, the contender, Daniel Murphy; he sent me, the rebuilder, Ryan McMahon.
As a speaker at our First Pitch events, Steve managed to impart pearls of wisdom with a style that was both irreverent and edgy. But he kept attendees fully engaged. We once ran a "cage match" debate at First Pitch Arizona, and Steve went full out to play the part, pulling off his shirt at the podium to reveal a fake sword tattoo on his chest. He had so much fun at these performances - so did we.
[caption id="attachment_264092" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Steve Moyer in a "cage match" debate at First Pitch as Lenny Melnick looks on. Photo courtesy of Doug Dennis[/caption]
About once every year or so, our paths would cross somewhere in the country and we'd meet for a meal. I saw Steve's softer side and we always shared details of our personal lives. We never had much in common music-wise, but he was sincerely interested in hearing that I had recently joined two bands, and he peppered me with questions. He talked ceaselessly about his daughters, Harmony and Mary Lou, with great affection, and was pretty badly beaten down after his divorce. When we last met, at lunch in Florida back in January, he was so happy. "You're not going to believe it," he said, "I am engaged to a pastor!" And he saw things finally turning around for him.
Steve emailed me on Thursday morning of March 1 at 11:22am, apparently hours before he'd be gone. He apologized for being unable to attend a spring training outing in Florida later this month.
Unfortunately it doesn't look like the timing is going to line up for me. I was in Florida a lot since I saw you, Ron, but I'm leaving for AZ today and won't be back until Wednesday night. It's unlikely that I'll be back in Florida before TOUT. Not impossible, but unlikely. I would not count on me.
I'll be keeping that note as his way of saying good-bye.
More from Peter Kreutzer: Not to drag you too far into the annals of mortality, but informationally this is a little important.
My friend Steve Moyer died (earlier this month). He was a good guy, but he also did some notable things that might be overlooked.
He and I created the Fantasy Baseball Guide together. He worked at Rotowire in 2001, when they were Guide partners.
He didn't invent Picks and Pans, that was me, but he encouraged me to get wide industry participation. Good idea. And I think it was his idea to sort the sections by name, alphabetically, rather than position.
All the so-called industry involvement over the years is because Steve encouraged me not to be a wallflower, but to talk to everyone else and become friends. That was a great gift to me. Hello Arizona Fall League!
Steve named Rock Remnants, which is mostly why an informal irregular conversation among friends on email about rock 'n' roll, and it became a public thing.
He invented Baseball Info Solutions. He pitched John Dewan and Bill James, who had previously invented the public source box score, with creating higher level analytics from public sourcing. Dewan and James bought in and we have a source of pitch-level data from an alternate source other than MLBAM, and have had it for a good many years now. That's important. If you're not a baseball fan, you have no reason to care, but if you do, Steve is King. He was that important.
Steve also invented the Bill James Handbook, which took the Baseball Register franchise and turned BIS info into a much better and more useful and informative baseball information must, available by November 1. Like clockwork. Those BIS guys who put it together were hauling, all month long, but they (and Steve) knew how important that deadline was.
He was a name not often in the news, but Steve Moyer dented a lot of lives. That's a really good thing.
Gene McCaffrey (Wise Guy Baseball): I didn’t know Steve except as a byline on the STATS, Inc. website, not until LABR 1998. There I gave out copies of Wise Guy Baseball and about a week later I got an email from Steve praising me to the skies. I was nobody and I was thrilled and touched. The next year LABR was in Tampa, and as soon as John Menna and I arrived at the hotel there was Steve with John Coleman. We sat up drinking and talking into the wee hours, amazed at how much we had in common.
I’ve never quite understood the baseball/rock and roll connection that is the basis for our website, but no doubt it is a strong connection and we four are far from the only ones who feel it in our business.
That night was the first of many in the years since. As Lawr says, the annual trips to Phoenix and wherever LABR and Tout Wars were held were always highlights of the year. In the early 2000s at Tout Wars, Steve introduced me to Michael Salfino and Scott Pianowski. I knew Scott a little from the year when Tout Wars was held in Steve’s basement (I later heard people bitching about the lack of space but Johnny and I loved it). Steve said to us, “Gene is the best baseball writer and you two are the best football writers, so I thought you should know each other.” Since then the four of us would have dinner every year in New York, delighting in each other’s company. We would send emails to each other scorning the latest faddish nonsense/sloppy thinking that permeates our business. Steve was a master of the sarcastic and he railed with the best of them.
He loved heavy music, as you also know. Generic, who cares, just give him some loud guitars/bass/drums. Supershit 666. Turbonegro. Except for his odd love of country music, which just goes to show that you can never really pin anyone down.
The world is less fun and less interesting today. RIP Steve, and I hope we meet again in a better world. Until then you will not be forgotten, I promise you that.
Lenny Melnick (Tout Wars, LABR, longtime Fantasy Radio Host): In 1997 NL LABR, Steve Moyer threw out 17-game winner from Colorado, Kevin Ritz as his first bid, hoping people would spend on him. Nobody else bid on Ritz, and he got him for a dollar. He was stunned. To this day, it remains the most interesting bid I have seen in the history of LABR.
Four years ago in LABR, I wanted Cameron Maybin but I then found out he was hurt the day of the draft. I passed him up and Steve got him for 17 dollars. Later that season he traded me Jason Motte and Maybin for Javier Baez and Jason Hammel. Baez lost him a point overall in batting average and Hammel lost him a point in ERA. I won the league by two points! We would always laugh about it afterward.
He traded Maybin to me on a Saturday afternoon. That day Maybin was injured, and Steve offered to negate the deal. I declined, but that was who he was, he was a gentlemanly enough to make that offer.
Samantha Drennan, Steve's fiancee: Steve Moyer was the most honest and straightforward man I ever met. He was honest to the point where I would sometimes ask if he could NOT share every thought he had every minute of the day. But at some point, I realized that the flip side of Steve's rawness was loyalty and fidelity. This was someone I could trust. He might drive me crazy arguing the proper placement of the toilet paper roll, but he would never lie or be unfaithful. He was never ever anything but real and there will never be anyone who could replace him in my life. I will love him forever.
[caption id="attachment_264093" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Steve Moyer and Rev. Samantha Drennan[/caption]