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Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams' Doc Graham

Brett Friedlander and Robert Reising

John F. Blair, Publisher
978-0-89587-415-3
$12.95 paperback
5 x 8    
236 pages
Dr. Bobby Brown, foreword
April 2011

A single line of type in the Baseball Encyclopedia. One major league game. A career batting average of .000.

But the name—Moonlight Graham—suggested a hidden story. So did the circumstances. A North Carolina native, Graham lived out his life in one of the coldest places in North America, as if he'd been exiled.

"Let's get up and go to Chisholm, Minnesota," author W. P. Kinsella told his wife, "and find out about him."

And so began the ascent of Dr. Archibald W. "Moonlight" Graham from baseball footnote to cultural icon. In the novel Shoeless Joe, Kinsella described a selfless doctor who quit baseball to serve a remote mining community. His readers were intrigued. So were Kevin Costner and Burt Lancaster, who played Graham inField of Dreams, the adaptation of Kinsella's novel. For millions, Graham became a symbol of broken dreams and second chances.

In Chasing Moonlight, Brett Friedlander and Robert Reising prove that truth is more interesting than fiction. The real-life Moonlight Graham didn't play just a half-inning for John McGraw's New York Giants, as depicted in Field of Dreams. Neither did he retire from baseball after his lone major league appearance. Rather, he became a fan favorite during a noteworthy professional career, all the while juggling baseball with medical residencies.

Graham's life apart from baseball was just as eventful. He was a physician who sat with patients through epidemics and wrote a blood pressure study that was required reading at medical schools worldwide. But he was also a failed inventor and small-town character who built perpetual-motion machines and filled his home with tennis balls and empty oatmeal boxes.

W.P. Kinsella rescued Moonlight Graham from the scrap heap. Field of Dreamsmade him famous. Now, Chasing Moonlight establishes him as a man. The good doctor would be pleased.

Awards:

  • 2009 Foreword Reviews' Book of the Year Award
  • 2010 Benjamin Franklin Award - Finalist in Recreation/Sports
  • 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) - Bronze in Biography
  • 2009 Finalist for the CASEY Award Best Baseball Book of the Year

Praise:

"Chasing Moonlight is an inspirational story that shows there's more to life than just swinging a bat. It's awesome, baby!" —Dick Vitale, ESPN college basketball analyst and Tampa Bay Rays season ticket holder
"If you—like me—wondered what the real story of Moonlight Graham was while watching Field of Dreams, here is the answer to all your questions. You will be happy that you took the time to learn the truth about the at-bat that never came and the rest of a fascinating life." —John Feinstein, author, sportswriter, and sports commentator
"I'm so happy that Brett Friedlander and Bob Reising wrote this book, because when I did my research on Doc Graham for Shoeless Joe, I simply made up what I didn't know. That's the good thing about being a fiction writer. But you can't do that with a biography. I was so excited to read Chasing Moonlight, because now I know the rest of Doc's story." —W. P. Kinsella, author of Shoeless Joe
"Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams' Doc Graham is the biography of the American baseball legend and doctor Archibald W. 'Moonlight' Graham, the real-life inspiration for the novel Shoeless Joe and its movie adaptation Field of Dreams. Unlike his portrayal in the movie, the real-life Moonlight Graham had a remarkable career in professional baseball, all the while pursuing medical residencies. Just as in the movie though, Graham eventually quit baseball to pursue medicine. In the course of his life and career, he treated patients of epidemics, wrote a study on blood pressure that became required reading worldwide at medical schools, and served a remote community. A well-rounded portrayal of a truly remarkable man of both sports and medicine, Chasing Moonlight is highly recommended." —Midwest Book Review