Archibald Wright “Moonlight” Graham (November 10 1879 – August 25 1965) was an American professional baseball player who appeared as a right fielder in a single major league game for the New York Giants on June 29, 1905.
His story was popularized by “Shoeless Joe,” a novel by W. P. Kinsella, and the subsequent 1989 film, “Field of Dreams.”
On June 29, the Giants were the visiting team against Brooklyn. For the bottom of the eighth inning, Graham was sent in to play right field, replacing George Browne. In the top of the ninth inning, Graham was on deck (scheduled to be the next batter) when his teammate Claude Elliott flied out resulting in the third and final out. Graham played the bottom of the ninth in right field but never came to bat, and that game turned out to be his only appearance in the major leagues.
“Moonlight” Graham got his nickname because the sum total of his career was that singular fleeting moment, which passed by too quickly. Technically, I guess he played one game at MLB level, But he never had the chance to bat and never even touched the ball. He would never again play in the majors, but since he was recorded on an umpire’s ‘batting order’ list, technically he played MLB.
How incredibly sad. I pulled out my baseball encyclopedia to verify his career and yes he is there. He had his moment in the moonlight, it passed and left him with no compassion or mercy. He has been forever marked in baseball as someone “who might have been”.
Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, went to college and became a physician. In the movie “Field of Dreams”, Graham (Burt Lancaster) declares this– “You know we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.”
Often, there is just a short window of time to respond to God’s grace. We think we can just put it off, and later make a decisive decision. But this moment maybe all you have.
“At the right time I heard your prayers.
On the day of salvation I helped you.” (Isaiah 49:8)
I tell you that the “right time” is now, and the “day of salvation” is now.“
2 Corinthians 6:2, NCV
For some reason we think somehow we have arrived and life will always be this way. But the only sure thing, the one solid definite fact, is the love of God for our souls. That is the only thing that will stay with us. Our circumstances are always changing. But perhaps we need to be faithful in this singular moment. I think “Moonlight” Graham would agree.
Here’s a link worth following: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05176/528257.stm
- For baseball’s one-hit wonders, the magic can last a lifetime (sacbee.com)
- Pause Like Moonlight (blurtblog.net)