If you are a fan of the film Field of Dreams (or the original story Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella) then you are going to love this story. "Moonlight" Graham is a real character; his story is true. He only made one appearance in the big leagues, and Archibald Graham did go on to be a doctor, thus known as Doc Graham. The sweetest thing about this story is that hundreds of residents from Doc Graham’s hometown of Chisholm, Minn., will come to today’s Twins game by the busload to honor the 100th anniversary of his one big league at-bat. How cool is that?
From today’s Star Tribune: "There is indeed enough magic to transform a small town’s long-buried doctor into a famous literary and cinematic figure. There is enough magic to resurrect him simply for his poetic nickname and obscure moment in baseball, and then immortalize him for a lifetime of kindness that almost no one knew outside the little mining town he loved."
What’s really sweet is that the character of a newspaper editor in the film, who wrote about Doc Graham’s contributions off the field in an obituary in 1965 is also a real character. Her name is Veda Ponikvar and she’s 85 years old. In fact, the words she wrote about Doc Graham are the same as those included in the film.
"There were times when children could not afford eyeglasses or milk or clothing because of the economic upheavals, strikes and depressions. Yet no child was ever denied these essentials because in the background there was a benevolent, understanding Doctor Graham. Without a word, without any fanfare or publicity, the glasses or the milk or the ticket to the ball game found their way into the child’s pocket."
Veda Ponikvar will be on the mound today to throw out the first pitch. I love that. I love the Twins for doing that. And I have a new appreciation for the film and the book.