February 12, 2007 12:00 PM

He plays hunky FBI profiler Derek Morgan on CBS’s hit Criminal Minds, but Shemar Moore also has a softer side. “I bake,” says the Oakland native. “My specialty is cookies.” Other surprising Moore facts: He can ride a unicycle, and (thanks to his early career as a catalogue model) “I have pictures of me in hot pants that I hope never resurface,” he says.

After Moore moved on from his dream of being a Major League pitcher (he got a baseball scholarship to the University of Santa Clara), his looks helped him go from modeling to acting, landing him a role on The Young and the Restless in 1994. But it’s his Minds gig that lets him show off his acting chops. “‘How does it feel to be a sex symbol?’ Those were the questions I’d get [when I was on Y&R],” says Moore, 36. “I’m not hearing those anymore.”

Now the question is: When will Moore settle down? Currently single, he says he “can’t wait to be a dad—but I don’t have anyone I’m ready to bring home to Momma.”

And Mom’s approval is key: Moore’s mother, Marilyn, who raised him on her own, has been battling multiple sclerosis for eight years. “She’s always been superwoman,” he says. “But now she’s found her kryptonite.” Last year Moore joined up for a long-distance bicycle trek to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Says Moore: “It was a challenge: ‘Can you ride 100 miles for MS?’ and my answer was: ‘I’d run 100 miles for my mom!'”

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