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Crusading attorneys reunite at D-backs Fantasy Camp

Mississippi's Moore, Arizona's Woods part of historic tobacco lawsuit

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Back in 1996, Mike Moore and Grant Woods were a pair of state attorneys general who teamed up with others to fight 13 tobacco companies in a landmark lawsuit.

This week, the two are back together, this time to play baseball at the D-backs' 10th annual Fantasy Camp taking place at Salt River Fields.

As attorney general for the state of Mississippi, Moore was the first to file a lawsuit against those tobacco companies in 1994, insisting they reimburse his state for the costs it incurred in treating smoking-related illnesses.

"It was a lonely time," Moore said. "It took two years before I had five states signed on, and of course, the first five states were Democrat states and I needed Republican support."

So Moore flew to Arizona to meet with Woods, a Republican, about joining the cause.

"I came out here and begged," Moore said with a smile. "And he joined the tobacco case like a true champion, and the rest is history. Grant realized how much damage the tobacco companies had caused, especially with kids, plus they weren't telling the truth about their product. He jumped in there, and frankly, it helped change the whole case because it made it less of a partisan issue and more of a bipartisan issue."

The case was eventually settled for a record $246 billion.

"It was the largest settlement in world history," Moore said. "I know people focus on the money, but the most important part of it is we predicted that we would reduce smoking rates by getting the truth out about tobacco, but it's really done it dramatically. I mean, back then, 30 to 40 percent of the teens were smoking and now it's like 8 percent. And adult smoking was somewhere around 30 percent and now it's down to about 18 percent. So the number of lung cancers and heart diseases has fallen in this country, so you kind of sit back and go, 'We were part of something that saved a lot of lives.' So that's what you're proud of."

Moore, who grew up idolizing Mickey Mantle, is now in private practice working in dispute resolution and governmental relations. His work, both as attorney general and in private practice, has taken him to every state in the country.

Still well known in legal circles for his victory over the tobacco companies, Moore played himself in Michael Mann's 1999 film "The Insider," which is based on whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand.

Woods, who has been a regular participant at D-backs Fantasy Camp, called his old friend not that long ago and asked him to come join him at this year's camp.

Moore, though, told Woods that he hadn't played baseball since Little League and had only played a little softball here and there.

"He said it's like riding a bicycle," Moore said. "So I came out here and, well, it's not exactly like riding a bicycle, but it's fun. This is a great experience."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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