Daniel Peter Graves (born August 7, 1973) is a Vietnamese-born American former Major League Baseball pitcher. Born to a Vietnamese mother and an American serviceman father, he is the only Vietnam-born player in the history of the major leagues and one of the few American players of Vietnamese descent. Graves pitched for most of his career for the Cincinnati Reds, where he was team's saves leader each year from 1999–2004, except for 2003 when he was a starting pitcher.
|Born: August 7, 1973|
Saigon, South Vietnam
|July 13, 1996, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 9, 2006, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Earned run average||4.05|
|Career highlights and awards|
He played college baseball at the University of Miami.
Graves was born in Saigon to Thao and Jim Graves, a U.S. Army sergeant, during the Vietnam War. The family fled the country when Graves was 14 months old after they learned of the impending fall of Saigon. After settling in the United States, Graves and his brother, Frank, spoke Vietnamese until teasing from classmates caused them to abandon the language.
High school and collegeEdit
Graves's family moved to the U.S. when he was fourteen months old. He graduated from Brandon High School in Brandon, Florida and was awarded a baseball scholarship to the University of Miami. As a right-handed relief pitcher for the school as a junior, he posted a 0.89 earned run average and led collegiate baseball with a school-record 21 saves.
Major League BaseballEdit
Graves was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the fourth round of the 1994 Major League Baseball draft. Two days after being drafted, he tore his ACL during the College World Series. After a year of rehabilitation, he was named Cleveland's top minor league pitcher of 1995, and was in the major leagues a year later. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in July 1997.
In his first nine seasons with Cleveland and Cincinnati, Graves compiled a 40–42 record as a pitcher with 406 strikeouts, a 3.89 ERA, and 172 saves in 755.2 innings. He is the only player ever to have more than one season in which all his hits were home runs. This happened in 2000 and 2001, with one homer each.
In 2003, Graves was converted into a starter. He went 4–14 as a starter in 26 starts.
In 2004, Graves was again used as a closer. On April 16, 2004, Graves gave up a milestone and game tying home run to Sammy Sosa in the bottom of the ninth inning. The game ended two pitches later, with Graves allowing a walk off home run to Moisés Alou. Graves went on to save 41 games in the 2004 season.
The 2005 season did not start well for Graves. He struggled, posting a 7.36 ERA through 20 games. Fans in Cincinnati took notice and consistently booed Graves, leading up to a May 23 incident when Graves made an obscene hand gesture to a fan that leaned in the dugout after being called a "gook" while getting taken out of the game by Reds manager Dave Miley. Graves was quickly released by the Reds after the incident. He was later signed as a free agent by the New York Mets on June 11, 2005.
After putting up a 5.89 ERA with the Mets, he was designated for assignment on August 23, 2005. He cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Norfolk on August 26, but was called back up to the Mets when rosters expanded. Graves was 0–2 with an 18.00 ERA in five games with Norfolk.
On December 19, 2005, Graves signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians. He pitched well in spring training, earning a spot in the Indian bullpen, but was designated for assignment on May 12, 2006 after he opened the season with a 2–1 record and 5.79 ERA in 13 relief appearances.
Graves signed a minor league deal with the Rockies on December 19, 2006. He was released during Spring training in March 2007 prior to the season. During the 2007 season, Graves was on the roster of the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, leading the league in saves.
Graves later signed with the Minnesota Twins on March 30, 2008, and played for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings most of the year. He became a free agent at the end of the season and signed a minor league contract with the Houston Astros in January 2009. He was released by the Astros on March 25, 2009.
Graves is married with two children and has three children from a previous marriage.
- Ocker, Sheldon (March 6, 2006). "Baseball takes Graves family back to Vietnam". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-04-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Graves made obscene hand gesture toward fan
- Graves released by Reds after poor outing, gesture
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2014-04-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Danny Graves". kffl.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
- Here’s who will lead this year’s Opening Day parade
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Vietnamese American Pitcher a Man for All Seasons
- Danny Graves official website
- Reds: Graves is still just a big kid
- National Public Radio story about Graves "Bringing Baseball to Vietnam" – audio archive