Wood, Ken

Primary Position: Outfield
Birthplace: Lincolnton

First, Middle Names:  Kenneth Lanier
Date of Birth:  July 1, 1924      Date and Place of Death: Nov. 22, 2007, Myrtle Beach, SC
Burial: Cremated

High School: Paw Creek High School, Paw Creek, NC; Central High School, Charlotte, NC
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: R              Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-0, 200
Debut Year: 1948        Final Year: 1953    Years Played: 6
Teams and Years: St. Louis Browns, 1948-51; Boston Red Sox, 1952; Washington Senators, 1952-53

Career Summary
G           AB           H           R           RBI         HR        BA.       OBP.      SLG.      WAR
342     995       223       110      143        34         .224      .298      .393      -3.3

Ken Wood was a lumbering 200-pound outfielder with a cannon for an arm and a bit of lightning in his bat. Unfortunately, he had hands of stone. He was so dreadful in the field, in fact, that his teams would have been better off without him in the lineup.

Poor defense combine with a lackluster bat to give Wood the lowest Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, of any of the more than 400 North Carolina natives who have played in the major leagues. That’s an advanced statistic that attempts to summarize a player’s total contributions to his team – his hitting, pitching, running, fielding — by estimating how many games a team can be expected to win with the player in the lineup instead of an average player coming off the bench or called up from the minors. The player’s value to his team accumulates over the course of his career, and the resulting number is expressed in plus or minus games, which can be useful yardsticks to compare players of different eras.[1] Wood has a -3.3 lifetime WAR, meaning the teams he played for during a six-year career in the majors lost more than three games with him in the lineup instead of a substitute.

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Graham, Moonlight

Primary Position: Right field
Birthplace: Fayetteville

First, Last Names: Archibald Wright  Nicknames: Moonlight, Doc
Date of Birth:  Nov. 12, 1877 Date and Place of Death: Aug. 25, 1965, Chisholm, MN
Burial: Calvary Cemetery, Rochester, MN

High School: Davidson High School, Charlotte, NC
College: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; University of Maryland-Baltimore, Baltimore, MD

Bats: L             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 5-11, 170
Debut Year: 1905       Final Year: 1905          Years Played: 1
Team and Years: New York Giant, 1905

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
1          0          0          0          0          0          0          .000     .000     0.0

Few baseball fans have ever heard of Johnny O’Connor, Henry Stein, Eddie Hunter, Terry Lyons or any of the other 43 non-pitchers who played in one major-league game but never got a chance to hit. They were in the big leagues just long enough for that proverbial cup of coffee. Their dreams merely patted them on their heads. All but one were quickly forgotten. Because of a mysterious nickname, that exception has achieved baseball immortality.

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Cole, Stu

Position: Second base
Birthplace: Charlotte

First, Middle Names: Stewart Bryan
Date of Birth:  Feb. 7, 1966                           

Current Residence: Charlotte

High School: South Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte
College: University of North Carolina- Charlotte

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6.1, 175
Debut Year: 1991       Final Year: 1991          Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Kansas City Royals, 1991

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
9         7          1          1            0          0          .143       .333     .143       +0.1

Stu Cole’s baseball career probably didn’t turn out as he had hoped when the Kansas City Royals drafted him out of University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 1987. He didn’t become a big-league star. There were no dives at second base to save a World Series game, no dramatic homers in the ninth to win one, no film clips on ESPN. In fact, his major-league playing days were over almost as soon as they began: one month, one game started, one hit.

Yet, here he is all those years later, a respected elder in the game and a mentor to hundreds of young players. Cole celebrated 25 years with the Colorado Rockies’ organization in 2020. Most of that time was spent as a minor-league manager, but Cole has been a fixture in the third-base coaching box at Coors’ Field for eight years.

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Cooper, Pat

Primary Position: Pinch hitter
Birthplace: Albemarle

First, Middle Names: Ogre Patterson    

Date of Birth:  Nov. 26, 1917 Date and Place of Death: March 15, 1993, Charlotte
Burial: Sharon Memorial Park, Charlotte

High School: Albemarle High School 

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-3, 180
Debut Year: 1946       Final Year: 1947          Years Played: 2
Team and Years: Philadelphia Athletics, 1946-47

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
14        16        4          0          3          0          .250     .250     .375     0.0

A faded black-and-white photograph in a book about the baseball teams that textile mills in North Carolina sponsored through much of the 20th century shows a group of men – mostly men, anyway – posing with bats and balls and in dirty uniforms with “Knitters” embroided on their chests. They are the Wiscasset Knitters of 1935. Wiscasset Mills Co. was one of three textile factories in Albemarle at the time.

Pat Cooper is standing in the back row. He was just 18, a senior at the local high school. He had grown up in Stanly County and was part of Elijah and Ella Cooper’s large family.  The Knitters were Cooper’s first stop on an almost 20-year career in organized baseball. Most of that time would be spent in the minor leagues or on industrial teams in North Carolina’s Piedmont.

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Campbell, Paul

Primary Position: First Base
Birthplace: Paw Creek

First, Middle Names: Paul McLaughlin  

Date of Birth:  Sept. 1, 1917   Date and Place of Death: June 22, 2006, Charlotte, NC
Burial: Forest Lawn West Cemetery, Charlotte

High School: Paw Creek High School 
College: Brevard College, Brevard, NC

Bats: L             Throws: L        Height and Weight: 5-10, 185
Debut Year: 1941       Final Year: 1950          Years Played: 6
Teams and Years: Boston Red Sox, 1941-42, 1946; Detroit Tigers, 1948-50

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
204   380    97       61        41        4         .255     .308     .358     -0.9

A long career in the major leagues requires skill, of course, but a bit of luck sometimes doesn’t hurt. Paul Campbell was a bit short on the hitting skills expected of first basemen, and he had the awful luck of playing on the same teams with some big-hitting ones.

Though he was a part-time player for six years, Campbell lasted more than 50 years in professional baseball as a minor-league manager and coach, a front-office executive and a scout.

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