Had he lived, Joey Moore would be 19 now, a young man in his prime. Instead, he will always be 9 in the memories of those who loved him -- a fun-loving, athletically gifted child who played sports with heart and excelled in school and Boy Scouts.

Joey died in a July 27, 2001, car accident. His death left his family and the Danville community shocked and bereaved, and more than 1,000 mourners attended his funeral.

"My parents (Joe and Jeri Moore) have done so much to help have the memory of Joey live on forever," Meghan Moore, Joey's 23-year-old sister, said in an email. "Joey was a member of Del Amigo Swim Team and each summer they honor two deserving members of the team who best show qualities of teamwork and compassion with the Joey Moore Award.

"Joey was also on the Danville Little League 9-year-old all-star team, and each summer there is a baseball tournament in his memory. My parents attend every game, throw out the first pitch of each game, and personally hand out the trophies at the end of the weekend," she said.

I spoke with Joe Moore about the Joey Moore Memorial tournament, which just finished its eighth year.

"There aren't that many tournaments for 9-year-old all-star teams," he said. "We had 12 entrants this year and it's only the second time that a Danville team has won it."

Competing teams are usually from the Tri-Valley area (District 57), encompassing Little League teams from Livermore through Alamo, he said.

"My brother lived and breathed baseball -- including his Little League teams, his all-star teams and, of course, his beloved Oakland Athletics," Meghan said. "The tournament is to help continue Joey's love for baseball and to help these 9-year-olds to learn to love the game he loved. Also for parents to cherish their kids because they can be taken in a second."

The Moore children, including George, 21, a student at UC Santa Barbara, and Riley, 14, an entering freshman at San Ramon Valley High School, all attended St. Isidore's Catholic School in Danville. Meghan is pursuing her graduate degree at UC San Francisco.

"We actually grew up across from St. Isidore's, where the parking lot is now," Meghan told me. "The baseball field there is dedicated to Joey. Each summer on July 13, Joey's birthday, we have a baseball game with all of Joey's friends. The kids are getting bigger and bigger and the field seems smaller and smaller. This will be the 10th annual birthday party with Joey's friends, but with no Joey."

Some of his friends hope to become neurologists to help patients like Joey, who died from brain trauma, she said.

Joey also played CYO basketball, Mustang Soccer and T-Bird football, and liked to play golf with his grandpa on weekends. Along with Dave and Jenny Goldman, close friends of the family, the Moores sponsor an annual preseason basketball jamboree in Joey's honor.

Joe, who grew up in Oakland, has lived in Danville since 1974. He graduated from Cal State Hayward and met Jeri, who was a UC Berkeley student at the time, at a party in the Oakland hills. They married in 1985. He retired as managing partner of Armanino McKenna LLP, a CPA firm based in San Ramon, at the end of 2004, but continues to work there as a senior tax specialist.

Joe said he hopes the family can continue the traditions already in place in memory of Joey in coming years. "Seeing the love of baseball on each little 9-year-old face helps us remember that Joey is watching over all of us," Meghan said.

And because Joey was an organ donor, some nine or 10 recipients received a second chance at healthier, happier lives with their loved ones.

See this article on the Bay Area News Group Web site