A Cup of Coffee: 10 Short Baseball Careers

From SABR member Graham Womack at Baseball Past and Present on May 2:

1. Moonlight Graham: This was probably the first name I knew on this list, seeing as Graham comes up in Field of Dreams. The author of the book that inspired the film noticed Graham in The Baseball Encyclopedia and wrote of how he played one game for the New York Giants in 1905 and later became a doctor in Chisholm, Minnesota. The filmmakers changed the game date to 1922, with Graham quitting baseball immediately thereafter because he “couldn’t bear the thought of another year in the minors.” In real life, Graham hit .329 back in the bushes in 1906 and played two more years before going to Chisholm in 1909.

2. Aloysius Travers: Ty Cobb attacked a fan in the stands one day in 1912 and was suspended indefinitely by American League president Ban Johnson. The rest of the Detroit Tigers struck in solidarity, and to avoid forfeiting the next game, Tiger management used replacement players. Travers, a seminary student, suffered the worst complete game loss in baseball history, allowing 24 runs, still a record. Interestingly, for having a one-game career, he accounted for -2.1 Wins Above Replacement, which might also be a record, if an illogical one. Travers remains the only Catholic priest to play in the majors.

Read the full article here: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2011/05/02/game-bigs-10-short-baseball-careers/

Originally published: May 3, 2011. Last Updated: May 3, 2011.