One up on “Moonlight” Graham
DETROIT, MICHIGAN • Twenty-one year old Merritt Lovett came to bat for the Chicago White Sox on this date in 1933. He did not reach base. It would be “Mem” Lovett’s only major league at bat.
Lovett was at least one up on Archibald “Moonlight” Graham. Graham was the character Burt Lancaster played in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. Graham played one inning for the New York Giants on the last day of the 1904 season, but never came to bat. Rather than be sent down to the minors again, Graham quit professional baseball and went to medical school. He spent the rest of his life delivering babies and generally attending to the medical needs of the residents of Chisholm, Minnesota.
In Field of Dreams, the youthful Graham, played by Frank Whaley, was granted one at bat against major leaguers who appeared on a baseball diamond an Iowa farmer carved out of his corn field.
Most of Field of Dreams was fiction, based on the book Shoeless Joe by Ray Kinsella, but Moonlight Graham was a real live person. So was Merritt Lovett. He followed a similar path as Graham. He decided to do something to help others. Lovett, a native of Oak Park, Illinois and a University of Chicago graduate quit professional baseball not long after his only major league at-bat, and turned his attention to youngsters in his hometown. He spent a number of years running the Oak Park recreation department.
Merritt Lovett stats
Wednesday Journal, Oak Park, IL, October 27, 2004
Chicago Tribune, June 10, 2006, Mike Downey
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