Sunday, September 20, 2009

1981 Donruss, Dan Graham

#233 Dan Graham

When I went to the Orioles game last week, Ryan, from the Great Orioles Autograph Project, had this card for me. He gave it to me after we went through the alumni signing line while we were heading along the concourse to the visiting team dugout. My first thought when I saw this card was "sweet, another signed '81 Donruss card!". My next thought was "who is Dan Graham?". I had never heard of him and I don't think that I even have this card.

Since we were still walking along the concourse, I flipped the card over to see what Donruss had to say about him on the back. That is one of the neat things about the '81 Donruss set. The stats take up very little of the back. The rest of the space is dominated by the players career highlights that are broken down by season. The first highlight on his card says "(Dan) broke into the majors in spectactular fashion, finishing 4th on Orioles in HR despite sharing catching duties with Rick Dempsey". That sounded pretty impressive to me- a rookie catcher hitting 15 homers in only 86 games. Whay hadn't I heard of this guy, again?

It turns out that Dan had a sophomore slump the following year where he only hit .176 with 5 home runs and 11 RBI. He spent the next season in AAA and called it quits after that.

It kind of makes me wonder. If Dan were playing today and had the same stats that he had when he played, would he still have called it quits? There are certainly more opportunites today with four more teams and their influx of minor league affiliates, not to mention all of the independent teams that are out there. Or, maybe Dan wanted to put the degree that he had earned from La Verne College to use. Who knows?

Thanks Ryan!

'81 Donruss Tracker: 30/100

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