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  1. #1
    Tripping on the Podium 4dogknight's Avatar
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    Jul 2003

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    Thought he was just a fictional character in a far fetched movie? Not so see below.

    A glimmer of 'Moonlight': Graham in bigs 100 years ago

    "Even a century later, there's still a mystique in the ol' Moonlight. Archibald Wright Graham only played one game in the big leagues, and it was a glimmer at best. He never got to bat, and was simply a defensive replacement in right field.

    "Two glorious innings in the garden," the New York Evening Telegram reported then.

    Hard to believe how that brief stint for the New York Giants on June 29, 1905 — exactly 100 years ago Wednesday, at a ballfield in Brooklyn — became such a part of baseball lore.

    Brought back to life by author W.P. Kinsella in his novel Shoeless Joe that was adapted into the movie Field of Dreams, just the mere mention of his name evokes something magical."

    "The Minnesota Twins plan to recognize him on Moonlight Graham Day before they play Kansas City at the Metrodome on Wednesday afternoon. The first 10,000 fans will receive a Moonlight card and clips from the film will be shown on the scoreboard.

    Graham spent more than a half-century as a doctor in Chisholm, Minn., with Lancaster playing the Doc role in the movie. Graham also will be honored in the place where he made his lone appearance in the majors.

    The Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League will pay tribute to Graham before their game against New Jersey. A man dressed up as Graham will come through the center-field fence and step to the plate.

    "I'm not sure if we got the smoke machine yet that we're looking for," Cyclones general manager Steve Cohen said.

    Graham's story came to light mostly as a stroke of luck. Shortly after he got the Baseball Encyclopedia as a Christmas gift from his father-in-law, Kinsella was thumbing through and came across a curious listing.

    "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," Kinsella said last week.

    Kinsella's 1982 novel and the popular movie seven years later led to a renaissance for Graham — he was described as "quick as a flash of moonlight" as a rookie. "

    "Accorsi said that when he first saw Field of Dreams, he had no idea that Moonlight Graham was the same man he'd interviewed a quarter-century earlier.

    "I didn't make the connection because he never used his nickname," he said.

    In 1993, Accorsi was going through his mother's attic in Hershey, Pa., looking for an article he'd written that related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. There in a box, he found the newspaper clipping on his story on Graham and a picture.

    "I knew it was him and it sent shivers through me," Accorsi said. "I felt like I'd really linked to some historical figure."


  2. #2
    On the Ice Mathman's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks so much for the article. I never knew that "Doc" in Field of Dreams was based on an actual person. What an interesting bit of baseball/movie lore!


  3. #3
    Tripping on the Podium 4dogknight's Avatar
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    Mathman, I recommend the W P Kinsella book "Shoeless Joe".
    It's available on Amazon in paperback format.

    I remember my dad talking about Shoeless Joe and the "Black Sox"; dad thought he got a bad deal. And on the north side of town, I won't even mention what my dad had to say about Wrigley's treatment of the Cubbies.

    I know dad didn't see Moonlight Graham play but I think he would have approved of him.


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