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Children / Colorado Livin'

Rockies’ Mora a five-tool player off the field with quintuplets

Melvin Mora wanted a boy. He had escaped the violence that claimed his father’s life in Venezuela to make it in the big leagues, and he had found love in his wife, Gisel, and stepdaughter, Tatiana. But he wanted a boy.

“We wanted a boy so we could have a boy and a girl,” Mora said. “Isn’t that what everyone wants, a boy and a girl?”

What Mora wanted and what he got . . . Well, let’s just say he got more than he asked for. On July 28, 2001, Gisel Mora, a petite woman who stands 5-feet-4, gave birth to quintuplets.

More the merrier, meet Mora the merrier.

They’ve become baseball’s version of the Brady Bunch. The roll call starts with the oldest, Genesis, followed by Christian, Rebekah, Matthew and the youngest, Jada.

Gisel underwent fertility treatment because she anticipated difficulty in getting pregnant.

“All it took was one round,” Gisel said. “They didn’t think it was going to be that effective that quickly and that many.”

Tatiana is 13, and her brothers and sisters are 8. It makes for a heartwarming family portrait, but don’t be deceived. There were several months of stress and anxiety after the kids arrived 2 1/2 months premature at weights varying from 1 pound, 2 ounces to barely 2 pounds.

“We talk about it every day, how fortunate we are,” said Melvin. “We gave them names from the Bible to honor God. For some reason, he chose to give us five. I said, ‘OK, thank you, God.’ It helps me stay strong, knowing I have to keep going for my family.”

To know what the love of a family means to Mora, you have to know how he grew up in Agua Negra, Venezuela, a poverty-stricken village near Caracas. Violence is a way of life in Mora’s homeland. To wit: At 7, he witnessed his father, Jose, being murdered by a man who mistook him for someone else.

Having used his baseball skills to escape, Mora wanted stability for his new family. That’s why he asked for and received a no-trade clause from the Baltimore Orioles before moving on to the Rockies.

The family lives year-round in a seven-bedroom, 12,000-square-foot home in the Baltimore suburb of Fallston, Md. Only the Moras could have a 12,000-square-foot home and have kids sharing two bedrooms.

“We wanted to stay in one place,” Mora said. “It’s easier for me than it is for my wife. I’m gone a lot. I’m very involved in their lives, but she has to do most of the work.”

Gisel is a hands-on mother, but she had to hire a nanny in the early years. Now she has a new nanny of sorts: Tatiana, whose unofficial title is head kid.

“I’m the boss, but sometimes they try to be the boss of me,” Tatiana said. “I never get bored, I can tell you that. I help my mom put them to sleep and make sure they take showers and stuff like that.

“I was little when they were born. When I found out my mom was going to have quintuplets, I thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t think you could have that many babies.’ ”

The kids are typical 8-year-olds. Baseball, gymnastics, softball, piano lessons . . . You name it, they’re involved in it. And, of course, there are all the requisite techno-gadgets around the house.

“It’s been an interesting life,” Gisel said. “We’re very busy, very busy. It can be a challenge, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Their greatest challenge is behind them. Ask Melvin if he ever stops to think about the future, about how many grandchildren he’s going to have, and he laughs.

“No, I’m just trying to raise them,” he said.

There was a time when the Moras feared none of the kids would be born. Early in her pregnancy, after being told by doctors to expect twins, Gisel was rushed to a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hospital after experiencing massive bleeding.

It was then, when doctors performed an ultrasound, that she discovered she was going to have quintuplets. She wanted to tell her husband the news, but Melvin was nowhere to be found.

So where was he?

“It was raining that day,” said Melvin. “I was in the parking lot praying. I thought we had lost two babies.”

Instead, he had gained three. Little did he know it, though, when he returned to the emergency room in a panic.

“I thought we might lose twins, and I saw my wife in the hallway laughing,” said Melvin. “I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ Then the nurse congratulated me five times. I didn’t know whether to laugh or smile or what.”

Life has been full of laughs and smiles ever since. And worries and fear and all kinds of other emotions.

In the midst of his life-altering experience, Mora emerged as a star with the Orioles, making the 2003 and 2005 American League all-star teams and hitting .340 in 2004. So now it’s on to the Rockies, where at 38 he projects as a key utility player.

Gisel and the kids were in Tucson last week. It was then, in a new time and new town with a new team, that she experienced a memorable moment of reflection.

“We were out to dinner, and the kids wouldn’t stop talking,” she said. “They were going on and on, just being kids, and Melvin sat back and looked at me. I knew, at that moment, we were thinking the same thing. We were thinking we’re very blessed.”

Jim Armstrong: 303-954-1269 or [email protected]

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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1 Comment

  1. As a former Marylander, anyone who played for the O’s AND now the Rockies is OK in my book. But seriously, thanks for sharing their amazing story!

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