Thursday, January 6, 2011
#709) DANNY GRAVES
Danny Graves joined the New York Mets when he was signed as a free agent on June 11, 2005. He had been released by the Cincinnati Reds following a slow start and unfortunate incident with some angry fans. Graves was the first Vietnamese born major-league player. A racial reference was made and Danny responded from the dugout with an obscene gesture. "Obviously, I overreacted, jumped the gun,' Graves later offered. "But in the heat of the moment it was just a natural response. I've never had that said to me in my professional career." The Mets contract came just days following a workout for the team at Shea Stadium. "We think it is a low risk deal with a big upside," said general manager Omar Minaya.
The former two-time All-Star closer for the Reds made his New York debut on June 14th throwing a scoreless inning of relief. "I went from a team that wasn't a contender to a championship atmosphere," Danny said. "If I never come in as a closer again, that'll be okay. I've had a lot of saves. I'm happy to do anything they ask me to do here."
Graves struggled to regain a consistency from the bullpen. Concerns came from a decreased velocity in his pitches. "I still feel like I am close," Danny said at the time. "It's pretty discouraging." His ERA was at 5.89 when the Mets chose to designate him for assignment on August 23rd. The right-hander cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk.
He returned to the New York when rosters expanded in September. Ending the 2005 season with a combined 20 appearances and 5.75 ERA. The Cleveland Indians signed Graves as a free agent on December 19, 2005.
In January of 2006, Major League Baseball in conjunction with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund brought several players to dedicate the first baseball field in Vietnam. The goodwill tour was to showcase the sport in a place it was unknown. Accompanied by his mother, Danny Graves made his first trip back to the country of his birth. "This, honestly, is the most fun I've had in a long time with baseball," he was quoted. "These kids are great. It's just so much fun to be out here and I'm really, really excited."
After his active pitching career, Danny continued his desire to coach young players as the pitching instructor at Xtreme Speed Performance Center in Texas.
Danny Graves signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to Xtreme Speed Performance Center on January 6, 2011.