Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come”

on October 28, 2012

Annie Kinsella: If you build what, who will come?
Ray Kinsella: He didn’t say.
……
Ray Kinsella: I think I know what “If you build it, he will come” means.
Annie Kinsella: Ooh… why do I not think this is such a good thing?
Ray Kinsella: I think it means that if I build a baseball field out there that Shoeless Joe Jackson will get to come back and play ball again.
Annie Kinsella: [staring in disbelief] You’re kidding.
Ray Kinsella: Huh-uh.

The “Field of Dreams.”  (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097351/)  It’s a fictional story that includes real historical baseball characters (Shoeless Joe Jackson and Moonlight Graham, for example).  The book from which Field of Dreams was adapted is called “Shoeless Joe”, written by W.P. Kinsella. (I’m going to read it, now that I know.)

Shoeless Joe’s real name was Joseph Jefferson Jackson, and he got his nickname because he once ran bases in his socks, thanks to blisters on his feet.

In 1919, a scandal (allegedly accepted a bribe, along with 7 others, to throw the World Series) got him banned from playing Major League Baseball (forever), but many of his records still stand! (Apparently, even Babe Ruth claimed to follow the technique that Shoeless Joe used for hitting).  In 1921, Shoeless Joe was acquitted (evidence seems to point to the fact that he was accused without cause), but because of his tarnished name, he still was banned from baseball.. Despite the many, many records that he set, he is still on Major League Baseball’s “ineligible” list and so far, cannot be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame…  Sad story…no wonder W.P. Kinsella wanted to give him another chance…

After Shoeless Joe left his professional baseball career, he moved to Greenville SC. where he’d lived as a child.  As I was reading his story (just now), I was thinking: I wished I had’ve known he was in Greenville sooner – I could’ve gone to see his memorial while I was there visiting my Grampa years ago (my Grampa lived in the neighboring town of Easley)… and then I started thinking… that sounds kind of familiar…so I went through some old pictures, and sure enough! look what I found! (He’s wearing shoes…)

Moonlight Graham’s real name is Dr. Archibald Wright Graham. In the movie, he is also a doctor, and lives outside of the field, but is given the opportunity to come play inside the field, too.  In real life, he did play right fielder for the New York Giants, from the bottom of the 8th inning, to the bottom of the 9th inning, one game. He never got to bat. It was his only game in the Major Leagues.

He completed his medical degree and became a doctor in Chisholm MN for 50 years.  The movie includes this quote:

Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within… y-you came this close. It would KILL some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they’d consider it a tragedy.
Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham: Son, if I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes… now that would have been a tragedy.

I’m not sure if he said anything like that in real life, but I bet he at least felt it!  He was an actual Do-Gooder. For example, one expression of his Do-Goodness was that – not only did he serve as a doctor as his career, he also worked free of charge, helping children of the miners come get fitted for glasses (which were donated), on Saturdays.

He passed away in 1965 and his buried in Rochester MN.  (Wished I had’ve known THAT earlier, since we were just in Rochester –see this past Sunday’s blog – October 28th). His legacy of helping people continues – there is still a scholarship set up in his name in Chisholm.

So – the Field! You can actually visit there – it’s a real baseball field – maybe not exactly how the movie portrays it…then again – maybe it is! I’m not the one who’s going to confirm or deny someone’s “dream”, that is for sure.  You can go there….and see for yourself.
(http://www.fieldofdreamsmoviesite.com/)

While there,

  • you can sit in the bleachers and watch a game;
  • you can play in the game if you want;
  • and/or you can “disappear” into the corn, if you want.  (For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, this is not a creepy disappearing-into-the-corn like some other movies – it’s not scary.)

    Ray Kinsella: This is my corn. You people are guests in my corn.

    It was ridiculously hot the day we were there, so we opted for walking in the corn and watching other people playing baseball.  As it was, it was a long, long way out to the edge of the cornfield, too. (I’m telling you – it was hot! we had to stop 1/2 way across the outfield and give the puppies water!)

In the movie, Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham says, “We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening. Back then I thought, “Well, there’ll be other days”. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.”

Daisy, stopping to smell the roses…I mean lilies

Maybe that’s true. I mean, there’ll be other days- but not another day, just like today. THAT is why it’s important to pull over on the side of the road and look at things we’re passing by! A “stop and smell the roses” sort of thing.

That is why we went out of our way to go to the Toy Train Barn, and that is why, even though we arrived after they closed, they let us in anyway.

Wednesday – Toy Train Barn.

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One response to “Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come”

  1. Shannan says:

    They built it and we did come! And it was FUN!

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