Net 54 Vintage Baseball Card Forum
Hello to all visitors! Please visit the NEW Net54 board at www.Net54baseball.com You can directly contact the moderator here if you have any questions or comments. Enjoy!
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Top of page | Bottom of page | Main Index  

Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008 at 3:29 PM
Rhett Yeakley  (Login rhettmyeakley)

I have been around this hobby for a long time and this was new to me, so I figured I would share with the collective. I have always liked the 1902-10 W601 Sporting Life Team Composites, as they are rare opportunities to see players of whom cards were never made.

I picked up the 1907 Scranton BBC W601 a few weeks ago and was thrilled to find a young man known to most of us through the epic baseball movie "Field of Dreams." The player was Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, who just as was said in the movie played in the majors but never had an official at bat. He would later quit professional baseball and become the town Doctor in a small Minnesota town for the rest of his life, earning the respect of nearly everyone who would come to know him.

I was unaware of any items that could even loosely be described as "baseball cards" or anything included in the ACC that included Graham up until now. He plyed for the Scranton Minors off-and-on from 1905-1908 (one of the nearly baseball card free eras) and was one of their usual outfielders.

Anyways, I thought there would be some interest among those in the hobby that really love the history of the game. Below are some pictures, there is some staining, but it isn't as bad as the large picture makes it seem(as can be seen in the close up photo).

I have not yet decided what I will do with the piece, but may just keep it.

-Rhett

Large photo of whole piece:


Close up of Archibald "Moonlight" Graham

 
 Respond to this message   
AuthorReply
Anthony S.
(Login boboinnes)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 3:35 PM 

That's incredibly cool. Thanks for sharing. He looks nothing like Burt Lancaster.

 
 

boxingcardman
(Login boxingcardman)

Great piece

July 5 2008, 3:37 PM 

Nice to see something not related to money on here. Old Doc Graham must be looking down today pleased as can be that he is remembered by baseball fans who never even met him.

Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc

 
 
Jodi Birkholm
(Login JBirkholm)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 3:47 PM 

Oddly enough, his signature brings incredible money. Although he died in 1965, there are precious few holographic examples in existence. I understand that Kinsella (and Lancaster) created an endearing character, but to me it's silly to base memorabilia value on a fictitious persona, even if some of the facts are indeed true. Then again, there would be no market for items dealing with Calamity Jane and other historical figures whose legends are mired in falsehood if this were the case.

 
 
Rhett Yeakley
(Login rhettmyeakley)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 3:59 PM 

Jodi, to be honest I don't find it odd in the least bit. History (and certainly baseball history) is full of similar examples. Does it really make sense that people collect and pay thousands on players like Fred McMullin, Hap Felsh, Swede Risberg, etc? Maybe not to some, but they are novelties in and of themselves. I for one would rather have his signature than 50 other players who had similar death dates but wouldn't mean that much to me. To each his own I guess.
-Rhett

 
 

boxingcardman
(Login boxingcardman)

Jodi

July 5 2008, 4:03 PM 

I think part of the allure of autographs of historical figures, even historical figures whose stories have been mythologized, is that it allows you to prove that they really did exist. Having an autograph from a Wyatt Earp or Calamity Jane is no less puzzling than having one of Cary Grant or Marilyn Monroe. All represent an effort to touch something tangible that belonged to an exceptional member of the human race, one who has achieved practical immortality.

Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc

 
 
Jodi Birkholm
(Login JBirkholm)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 4:18 PM 

Sorry, perhaps I should have added that I understand and appreciate the allure of a McMullin or a Charlie Faust. These men actually played a role in the history of the game, and that is the reason why they are remembered. Graham is only remembered and revered due to W.P. Kinsella needing a character with a great name to fit his storyline. It is the character that is loved, not the actual person. Ergo, I find it silly that people would shell out four figures to own something signed by a semi-fictitious individual. Just to show my hypocrisy, I'll happily buy any authentic Graham signatures at decent rates to add a few bits to my savings account!

***To add some backbone to my position, there was a WWII-era player named Lawrence "Crash" Davis, whose name was used for a fictional character in Bull Durham . Despite the cult status of the film, his autograph carries no premium.***

 
 
Jodi Birkholm
(Login JBirkholm)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 4:29 PM 

Adam,

I should add that I wholeheartedly agree with your eloquent comments, and hope that the above response clarifies my views.

 
 

john/z28jd
(Login z28jd)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 4:31 PM 

I always find great interest in players who only appeared in one game in the majors,especially if it happened awhile ago. One of my favorite personal autographs I have is from a guy named Ty Pickup who died back in 1974. He played just one game for the Phillies in 1918 and had a 1.000 avg,1 hit in 1 AB. Gotta love the name and that batting average! Usually if you search hard enough you'll find a cool story behind why a guy played just one game,sometimes all you need to see is the stats and its obvious

 
 
Rhett Yeakley
(Login rhettmyeakley)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 4:31 PM 

Jodi, I understand where you are coming from BUT Graham is not a fictitious person. He was a major leaguer and later became a beloved person in his city of Chisholm, MN and was the town Doctor for nearly 60 years. While it was due to the Kinsella book and the later Costner film that brought him from obscurity to a nearly house-hold name, nonetheless he is now a well known part of baseball (and American) history. I see no difference between him and other "novelties" of the game like Faust. Faust merely had a strange life and suffered from mental/behavioral problems, as did Marty Bergen (a gruesome story there), but all these people are what help give the game of baseball some character (although I hope nothing like what Bergen did ever happens again, and wish it never had)
-Rhett

 
 
Jodi Birkholm
(Login JBirkholm)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 4:43 PM 

Rhett,

I understand and am fully aware of Graham's real-life persona. To reiterate, he did nothing in life, baseball career or otherwise, to make his signature so valuable. Kinsella's fictionalized treatment of him is what catapulted the value. Faust's zany antics and McMullin's role in baseball's biggest scandal are such that their autographs are fully deserving of carrying the premium that they do (actually, there aren't any Faust sigs out there as far as I know, but that's not the point). Just because I don't necessarily agree with the premium attached does not mean that I fail to understand why .

John,

Funny you should mention one-gamers! I also avidly collected them! My favorite is a guy named Icehouse Wilson, who made his lone big league appearance with the A.L. champion 1934 Tigers.



    
This message has been edited by JBirkholm on Jul 5, 2008 4:44 PM


 
 
Rhett Yeakley
(Login rhettmyeakley)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 4:46 PM 

Jodi, He wasn't chosen at random by Kinsella. Regardless, I am hijacking my own thread as this shouldn't have become a debate as to why anyone would care about Archibald Graham.
-Rhett

 
 
Jodi Birkholm
(Login JBirkholm)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 4:50 PM 

Yes, I suppose I am to blame for the hijack. Not to take away from your discovery, which is indeed a great find, but this discussion has been far more interesting (to me, at least) than the usual, "Wow, cool piece!". (No sarcasm intended)

 
 

MVSNYC
(Login mvsnyc)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 5:11 PM 

i'll jump in here...

i TOTALLY understand the interest, premium and allure of any moonlight graham memorabilia. it is without debate that he is now part of our vernacular due to kinsella & field of dreams...but his story is compelling and it is not fiction, his one game in the majors DID happen...and he DID go on to become an important figure in a small town.

his is a very "romantic" story, made even MORE romantic thru the lines delivered by burt lancaster.


i'd love to have a piece of his memorabila...Rhett- great piece, BTW...


p.s. on a similar note, i just found out about a player named Roy Gleason. he played only a few games in late 1963 on the championship LA dodger team, mostly as a pinch-runner...BUT, in ONE of those games, he did get ONE official at bat...he got a double.

i am excited to say that just acquired his game used bat.

edited becasue i can't spell...


    
This message has been edited by mvsnyc on Jul 5, 2008 5:13 PM


 
 
Rawn Hill
(Login carrigansghost)

Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 6:01 PM 

I recently visited Jimmy Mains' grave along with his father W. E. Mains who played with many of the 1800's greats. I find it rather intriguing to find out about those that only made one appearance in the "show". Those W.E. Mains bats have a great feel to them.

Rawn

 
 
Rhett Yeakley
(Login rhettmyeakley)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 6:23 PM 

Here's a 1898 Cameo Pepsin Willard Mains. He is among the best minor league players of all time. He was also born, raised, and died in Maine (one of my favorite places I've lived--at least 2 seasons of the year were nice!)
-Rhett

 
 
Leslie Westbrook
(Login presenttense)

My opinion...

July 5 2008, 6:40 PM 

...is that a player that only had a few (or less) at bats deserves some attention just for making it to the Majors. That said, I don't believe an autograph of that individual is worth much monetarily simply for that reason. But, for whatever "mythological" reasons, if a person's identity takes shape as a modern-day character, then why not celebrate the person that gave rise to that character?

I posted a few months back about a T206 common that I bought (very cheap) on Ebay that contained a hand-written signature and address on the back. After ALOT of research and some help from Net54 I learned that I had a card that was written on--if not owned--by Charles Kelly (played in two games before 1900 with Philadelphia). Kelly signed and wrote his address on the back of the card. I will never sell it or trade it. It is a highlight of my collection because of its uniqueness and history.

I don't know if this really contributes a whole lot to this thread's topic, but it's my couple of cents.


P.S.
*****If anyone has the Charles Kelly N172 (in any grade or condition) available for trade or sale, please let me know. As far as I know, that's the only card he's pictured on.*******

 
 

Brian
(Login three25hits)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 11:22 PM 

Rhett, thanks for sharing. What a remarkable find.


 
 
Matt
(Login MSW1)

Re: Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 5 2008, 11:41 PM 

Rhett - that is fantastic!!

 
 

Chris Counts
(Login ccmcnutt)

Exciting New Discovery: Archibald "Moonlight" Graham item (Field of Dreams)

July 6 2008, 12:01 AM 

Rhett,

That's a wonderful piece ... As far as I'm concerned, Moonlight Graham is a truly compelling figure in baseball history ... I would imagine he also shows up in a few of the team pictures featured in those Reach or Spalding guides from that era ...

 
 
 
< Previous Page 1 2 Next >
  Respond to this message   
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Top of page | Bottom of page | Main Index