University president enthralled to join White Sox
After announcing his retirement from Xavier University at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 academic year, Father Michael Graham, president, announced last week that he would take up a new venture upon retiring —baseball.
Graham announced in a statement that he had a deal in place to sign with the Chicago White Sox organization where he would report to Double-A and suit up for the Birmingham Barons.
A minor league deal signed over a year before a player can actually appear in a game is unprecedented, but the White Sox were thrilled to land someone of Graham’s caliber for their organization.
“It’s not often that a veteran of Fr. Graham’s character becomes available, and we know that he’s the type of guy we want in our organization going forward,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a press release that was posted to the team’s Wattpad.
Hahn was unconcerned about Graham not being on the same workout regimen as the current White Sox farmhands.
“With the MLB and MiLB seasons currently suspended for the foreseeable future, there’s nothing that our guys are doing that Fr. Graham isn’t. We’re very confident that he’ll be ready for next year,” Hahn said.
Don Logan, who owns the Barons, was excited about the potential for attendance increases with Graham joining the team.
“This is far and away the most notable person we’ve had come from another profession to play baseball. I can’t think of anyone else we’ve ever had play for us in Birmingham who could potentially have the same effect on attendance as Fr. Graham might. The name value he brings
to the team will have a bigger impact on our bottom line than any player we’ve ever had,” he said.
Many people were surprised that the San Diego Padres didn’t sign Graham, because of their religious history. Their team name literally translates to “priests” or “chaplains.”
The Padres were “too busy trying to come up with a new way to not reveal his players’ injury histories to potential trading partners and didn’t have enough time to scout the free agent market,” a source told the Newswire (His real name is Nuke LaLoosh).
He said the potential is there for them to make a trade for Graham in the future, as long as they only have to give up a pitcher with elbow issues that would not be disclosed to the White Sox beforehand.
White Sox scouts believe Graham will only make a short pit stop in Birmingham before either being promoted directly to the White Sox or have a brief stint with the Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights.
Regardless, the plan is that Graham will be in the majors and make a profound impact on the White Sox attempt to win the pennant by next September.