Submitted by BTGrimes on Mon, 06/29/2015 - 9:00am
The real story of "Moonlight" Graham
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - It's the stuff of legend, except it's true. In the late innings of a game played today in baseball history (June 29, 1905), Archibald "Moonlight" Graham made his major league debut in right field for the New York Giants. They were playing the Brooklyn Superbas (today's Los Angeles Dodgers). The game ended a couple innings later with the Giants winning 11-1. Graham did not come to bat. He never got another chance.
"Moonlight" Graham was sent down to the minors after the game. He decided that at the age of 28 he had spent enough time in the minors. Rather than report to the Giants farm team, again, he called it a career. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham came oh so close to batting in a major league game, but it was not to be, until Hollywood came calling long after his death.
"Moonlight" Graham was a key character in the movie, Field of Dreams. The film was fiction, but the "Moonlight" Graham part, played by Burt Lancaster, was real. Well, most of it was real. Graham really did become a doctor in Chisholm, Minnesota, but the part about a young Archie Graham, played by Frank Whaley, living out his dream by coming to bat against the re-incarnated Black Sox remains a dream.
"Moonlight" Graham had a distinctly short, and let's be honest, insignificant, stint in the major leagues, until author W. P. Kinsella came across his statistics:
Archibald Moonlight Graham: Batting record
Kinsella was intrigued about a man who came so close to living out his dream that he put the character in his book of fiction, Shoeless Joe, which the movie, "Field of Dreams" is based on. Unfortunately, Archibald "Moonlight" Graham never found out how well known he became. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native died in Chisholm in 1965.
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Submitted by BTGrimes on Sat, 06/27/2015 - 9:00am
A Fleeting Star
David Clyde wasn't the first presumed star whose glow faded too soon, but it was sad because many believe Clyde was hyped and rushed to the majors amid tremendous publicity to get fannies in the seats. He has since said the issue for him wasn't so much talent, as confidence. He had talent, but was never given the opportunity to build up major league confidence.
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Submitted by BTGrimes on Fri, 06/26/2015 - 9:00am
In the not too distant future, Gehrig would be terrorizing opposing American League teams while playing for the New York Yankees. And he would hit a bunch of grand slam home runs, 23 to be exact (he and Alex Rodriguez are tied for the career lead as of this writing). He also finished with a lifetime .340 average, 1,995 RBI and 493 home runs hitting after Babe Ruth. Gehrig would hold the record for the most consecutive games played (2,130) until broken by Cal Ripken in 1995.
Sadly, while still in his 30's the player known as the Iron Horse would succumb to the debilitating and deadly disease that carries his name.
This baseball history story about Lou Gerhrig is brought to you TODAY in BASEBALL.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Thu, 06/25/2015 - 10:00am
In with a Bang
Yes, Bobby Bonds was Barry Bonds' father. Barry's stats outshine his father's, but Bobby was no slouch himself. He was a 5-tool player - run, catch, throw, hit and hit for power. Five times he hit 30 home runs and stole 30 bases. Five times he had 90 or more RBI. His best all-around year was probably 1970 when he hit .302, 26 home runs, 78 runs batted in, which is not phenomenal, but he also had 134 runs scored and a .375 on base percentage.
Despite some excellent numbers, Bobby just didn't seem to quite meet expectations - which were high. His longest stint was with the same team his son finished his career with - the Giants, but he bounced around; having also spent time with the Yankees, Angels, White Sox, Rangers, Cardinals, Indians and Cubs.
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Submitted by BTGrimes on Wed, 06/24/2015 - 2:47pm
'Stormin' Gorman Returns
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN | JUNE 24, 1983 - More than 46,000 fans squeezed into Milwaukee County Stadium on this date in 1983, most of them there to see the other team's centerfielder. In an outpouring of affection rarely shown pampered, high-salaried pro athletes - especially from the opposing team - Milwaukee Brewers' fans showed their appreciation for one of their most beloved players, Gorman Thomas. He had been traded to the Cleveland Indians 18 days earlier. Fans were furious that he was no longer a Brewer.
Early in his career fans were often furious that Thomas was a Brewer. He had a low batting average and struck out a lot. During the 5-season span from 1974 - '78, Thomas was up and down from the big team to the minors, spending the entire '77 season at Spokane. His break out year was 1978 when he hit 32 home runs and drove in 86 runs. During the 5 seasons from ‘78 to ‘82, Thomas averaged 35 home runs and 98 runs batted in, and was a key part of the Brewers' 1982, and only, World Series team. Thomas also turned out to be an excellent centerfielder.
It was as much Thomas' persona and early failures as his slugging that endeared him to Brewer fans. He was the epitome of Milwaukee - a tough looking, but easy-going, lunch pail carrying, mutton chopped throwback who could have been any one of thousands of working stiffs in this blue collar town if he wasn't a major league baseball player.
Thomas was as devastated by the 1983 trade from the Brewers as the fans were infuriated. It brought him to tears, but he got a chance to finish his career as a Brewer in 1986. ‘Stormin' Gorman Thomas was inducted into the Brewer Walk of Fame in 2004.
This baseball history story about Gorman Thomas is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.