Brett Friedlander at the Museum of the Cape Fear

  • Museum of the Cape Fear 801 Arsenal Avenue Fayetteville, NC, 28305 United States

Chasing Moonlight

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.

For more information, contact:

Museum of the Cape Fear
801 Arsenal Avenue
Fayetteville, NC 28305
(910)486-1330
museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov