Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012 Moonlight Graham Awards

Each year Watching Durham Bulls Baseball recognizes the hitter and pitcher who has spent the least amount of time in a Durham Bulls uniform. The award is named in honor of North Carolinian Archibald “Moonlight” Graham who famously played only two innings for the New York Giants in 1905, never coming to bat.

We have just a few criteria for selection: Not considered are players who come through on a rehab assignment, played only in postseason (did not apply this year, obviously), or (for the pitcher) a position player thrown to the wolves at the end of a game.

The 2012 Winners

 Infielder Robby Price

Robby Price came up from the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs and played second base in the last two games of the season (Sep 2 and 3) at Knight Stadium against Charlotte. He did well at the plate with 3 hits (all singles) in 6 ABs. Price is 24 years old and out of the University of Kansas (his home town). He doesn’t show up in the top prospect lists that I’ve seen. After ending the season with the Bulls he went over to Montgomery to lend a hand in their playoff games. He has never played at the DBAP. At a guess he will start 2013 with the Montgomery Biscuits. Stats. Box Scores.

Left-Handed Relief Pitcher Jim Patterson

On September 3rd, at Knight Stadium, Patterson came on in relief for Lance Pendleton and pitched 3 ⅓ innings. It was a rainy day and the game was called after seven innings. 2 hits, 4 Ks, no runs scored, pretty good. Prior to that game Mr. Patterson had also been with the Charlotte Stone Crabs where the 23 year old had a decent season. Left-handed relief pitchers are always in short supply. We could see him in 2013. Stats. Box Score.

Congratulations to Robby and Jim! Good luck in 2013!  

About Moonlight Graham

Archibald “Moonlight” Graham achieved lasting fame as a character in the W.P. Kinsella novel, Shoeless Joe, and then became even more famous when he was played by Burt Lancaster (and Frank Whaley) in the Kevin Costner film, Field of Dreams. As a ballplayer he played two innings in the major leagues as a right fielder for the New York Giants in 1905. He never came to bat. You can look it up. He did, however, go on to a career as a well-loved physician in Chisholm, Minnesota.

Of interest to us is that he was a North Carolina native (born in Fayetteville, grew up in Charlotte); graduated from UNC (where he played baseball); and was the older brother to UNC President and US Senator Frank Porter Graham. If you find him an intriguing character, the Wikipedia article is a good start. There’s a nice NBC piece done on him a few years ago. And then there’s a terrific book by Fayetteville writer (and Bulls fan) Brett Friedlander and Robert Reisling, Chasing Moonlight. Copies of the book are in the Wake County Library system, Amazon, and I found my copy at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.

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