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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Best Baseball Movie Ever

"Field of Dreams," of course. It was the best... and it was also one of Kevin Costner's three movies about baseball. (Can you name the other two?)

A key character in the film was Archie, 'Moonlight' Graham, played by Burt Lancaster. (I just found out that Graham was a real person!) The film didn't get everything right--like his meeting with fictional characters Ray Kinsella and Terrance Mann in 1972. The real 'Moonlight' died in 1965--poetic license, they call it. 'Moonlight' Graham did OK for himself though, in depiction and real life.

He was well known and highly respected as a kind and benevolent physician from Chishelm, Minn... just like in the movie. He really did play minor league baseball (in Charlotte and Scranton every summer from 1902 until 1908) and once, played a few games with the New York Giants against the Brooklyn team that later became the Dodgers. He always desired to be a doctor first, a baseball player second. He moved to Minnesota for his health. He had a lung condition and he wanted to live where the air was clean.

I learned all this from a synopsis of a biography soon to be released, "Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams Doc Graham," by Brett Friedlander and Robert Reising. I'll no doubt give it a look.

Kevin Costner's other two baseball movies? "Bull Durham" (another classic) and "For the Love of the Game." And no, ladies, his is not bare-butt naked in either of those. You have to see "Dances With Wolves" for that.

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