Old Timers induct Graham and Moore
Mar 09, 2014 | 542 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Two more inductees into the Cleveland Recreational Departments Old Timers Hall of Fame have been announced.

Phyllis Graham for basketball and Ben Saunders Moore will be joining C. Reginald “Reggie” Law, Johnny Baker, Avery Johnson Sr., Dale Woodard, Ray Haulk, Earl Rowan, Charles H. Evans Sr. and Chuck Condo as Old Timers inductees.

The banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. on March 14 at the Museum Center at Five Points.

Tickets for the banquet may be puchased at the City of Cleveland Parks and Recreation office, 160 Second St., in the Municipal Building Annex for $25 each. Tickets should be purchased by March 11. For information, call 479-4129.

Phyllis Graham

Graham is a graduate of College Hill School and from the era of 6-on-6 girls’ basketball.

As an eighth-grader with no intentions of making the varsity team, she quickly moved into a starting position. Because the schools were segregated at the time, competition was limited to other surrounding black schools like Howard High, Booker T. Washington, and Athens. Graham was known for her shooting abilities on the forward side of the court.

“She was a baller,” former teammates agree.

After high school, she married and from marriage she has four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She has lived in several states in the U.S. and spent three years in Germany.

She returned to Cleveland in 1974. She retired from Maytag (now Whirlpool) in 2004 after 28 years of service.

She is a member of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church and once served as an usher. Her favorite Scripture is Psalms 100.

She enjoys gardening and shopping. She is the neighbor you can borrow a cup of sugar from or who will feed you when you’re hungry.

Graham, now at the age of 75, enjoys many sports, but basketball is her passion. She is an avid fan of the UT Lady Vols and former coach Pat Summit. Her advice to children is to “work hard to ‘Live Your Dream.’ Don’t let ‘no’ be an obstacle, let it be a trial.”

In her era, trophies and scholarships where limited, if in existence, so to be nominated for the city of Cleveland Old Timers Hall of Fame for girls basketball is an honor, she stated.

Ben Saunders Moore

Moore, born in Cleveland to Mary Callaway and Joe S. Moore, attended Arnold Elementary School and Bradley Central High School.

He played center for Bradley Central’s football team. He first made the varsity team his freshman year, when he played on the second team.

His uncle, Bill Moore, a senior tackle who was only four years older, was a second-teamer along with his nephew that year.

Moore played all four years of high school at center and was proud to have two great coaches, Milburn Waller and Frank Ditmore.

He remembers the 1945 and 1946 seasons as their best. He maintained great friendships to this day with former teammates Claude Simpson (guard), Ray Owenby (tackle) and Bobby Butler (tailback). Moore’s father, Joe S. Moore, was also a football player at Bradley Central back in his day.

Moore graduated from high school in spring 1947 on a Friday, and was enrolled in classes the following Monday at the University of Chattanooga.

While attending school there, the center for the Chattanooga football team was injured and Moore was sought out by Coach Scrappy Moore as a replacement; but Moore declined the offer and instead focused on his studies and put football behind him. He was also offered a full scholarship to Memphis State by former Tennessee Coach Ralph Hatley. Once more, he turned the offer down to focus on his studies.

He moved to Memphis to attend the University of Tennessee Pharmacy School and after one semester , married his high school sweetheart, Mary White Moore.

While attending school, he was able to support his new family with a job at D.T. Morris Pharmacy, and the $2 an hour wage made it the best job in town.

After graduating with a bachelor’s in pharmacy in 1950, Moore and Mary returned to Cleveland, where he owned and operated many pharmacies with his father. He served as the president of the Tennessee State Board of Pharmacy in 1968.

Moore remembers his years on the Bradley Central football team fondly.

“It really meant something to be on that team. It was a time when Friday night football was everything. The whole town came out, there wasn’t TV and only a couple of movie theaters. Friday nights at the games were it.”

Even though he walked away from organized sports, he never lost his competitive spirit.

Moore has been an integral part of business development in Bradley County for more than 50 years. His achievements, seen all over town, include the development of Bradley Medical Center in 1960, the Cleveland Mall in 1971, bringing the first Walmart store to town and the recent addition of Target and Cleveland Town Center, to name just a few.

Moore has split his time between Cleveland and South Florida, where he considers himself a farmer. He has two sons, Joe S. Moore of Cleveland and Ben Moore of Marco Island, Fla., six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.