June 25, 2005

HE LEFT HIS MARK:

Kinsella character actually played 100 years ago (Associated Press, 6/24/05)

[O]n June 29, 1905 -- exactly 100 years ago on Wednesday -- Archibald Wright Graham made his lone appearance in the majors.

He never got to hit. Instead, he was left on deck. A late substitute in a lopsided 11-1 win, he played only two innings and there's no proof he ever touched the ball.

"Graham went to right field for New York" was his only mention in the local Evening Telegram's play-by-play account. And, just that fast, the 28-year-old rookie described in the sporting press as being "quick as a flash of moonlight" was gone.

No wonder it took quite a while for his story to get around -- and for author W.P. Kinsella to make Graham such a part of the poetry and romance that celebrate the lore and lure of baseball.

More than a decade after Graham died in 1965, the prize-winning author was leafing through the Baseball Encyclopedia that his father-in-law had given him for Christmas a few days earlier. Among the listings for every player and their lifetime stats, Kinsella came across something that stopped him.

"I found this entry for Moonlight Graham. How could anyone come up with that nickname? He played one game but did not get to bat. I was intrigued, and I made a note that I intended to write something about him," he said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 25, 2005 11:17 PM
Comments

The obvious pun about the "mark" is nearly irresistible, but I gather Mr. Graham was not an obnoxious man.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 25, 2005 11:31 PM

So did he become a doctor?

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 26, 2005 8:49 AM

read the story.

Posted by: oj at June 26, 2005 8:53 AM

Burt Lancaster's portrayal of Doc Graham is my favorite part of "Field of Dreams."

Posted by: Foos at June 26, 2005 11:58 AM
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