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“Moonlight” Graham

Following a highly successful minor league career with the Charlotte Hornets of the North Carolina Baseball League, Archibald Wright Graham made his major league debut on June 29, 1905, with the New York Giants. It was the same day he retired from professional baseball. With a ten-run lead over the Brooklyn Dodgers after eight innings, Giants manager John McGraw made a defensive change, replacing George Brown with Archie “Moonlight” Graham in right field. In less than five minutes, three quick infield outs by the Dodgers ended the game, along with Graham’s only chance to face a big league pitcher.

While the Giants went on to defeat the Philadelphia Athletics four games to one in the 1905 World Series, Graham left baseball to fulfill his dream of becoming a medical doctor, eventually pursuing his life’s work in Chisholm, Minnesota, the year following the Great Chisholm Fire of 1908. “Doc” Graham spent his first six years practicing medicine at Chisholm’s Rood Hospital and the next 44 years as physician for the Chisholm schools, where he gained national recognition for his thirteen year study of children’s blood pressure, as well as the love and respect of the entire local community.

 

Moonlight Graham Doc Graham finally did get his time at bat in the 1989 motion picture Field of Dreams. Facing Chicago White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte (play by actor Steve Eastin), the young Archie Graham (Frank Whaley) drove in a run by slapping a sacrifice fly to right field. But earlier in the film when Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) commented that the baseball career and lifelong dream of Moonlight Graham (Burt Lancaster) had lasted only five minutes and would be considered a tragedy by many people, Doc Graham replied, “Son, if I’d only got to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy.”