Baseball’s Opening Day is Sunday, March 31. Back in college, I’d spend Opening Day hanging out in front of the Frank Porter Graham Student Union at UNC. (Truthfully, that’s what I’d do most days I was in college.) I learned a bit about Frank Porter Graham while I was in school there—how he was a progressive far ahead of his time, and how his brief career as a United States senator ended after one of the nastiest election campaigns ever, one in which his opponent printed flyers with the headline, “White People, Wake Up.”
It wasn’t until I started working at Blair that I learned about Frank’s brother Doc Graham. Somehow, I managed to avoid ever seeing Field of Dreams, in which the great Burt Lancaster, in his final movie role, portrays Doc Graham, a former baseball player whose entire big-league career totaled half an inning. Chasing Moonlight tells the story of Doc Graham. It’s a great story for spring, when thoughts turn to rebirth. The book is mostly about Graham’s career away from baseball. When his dream of being a major-league ball player didn’t work, he pursued a degree in medicine. He ended up having a long and productive career as a pediatrician in northern Minnesota, where he left a legacy of being a truly decent person, someone who made the world a better place.
So when you’re watching games or just pondering life, remember Moonlight Graham. Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you want, but there’s almost always another path you can take