Mizzou Baseball: RIP, Frank Graham (1920-2013)

The Savitar

Frank Graham pitched for Big 6 Champion Mizzou teams in the 1940s and remained a faithful Tiger Baseball fan throughout the years of the Big 7, Big 8, Big 12, and SEC.

Frank Graham passed away Friday at the age of 93.

Graham was a familiar face at Taylor Stadium for the past several years. As a long-time season ticket holder, he could frequently be seen in Section C, Row 5, Seat 1, cheering on his Tigers. In the last few seasons, I saw him fewer times as his age and the Simmons Field weather increasingly were at odds.

The last time I saw him at Simmons field was during the final Big 12 season in 2012. I was fortunate enough to talk to him, and to take a quick photo of him standing next to the bust of his former coach, John "Hi" Simmons.

Graham_jpg_medium

via SimmonsField.com

Graham was a right handed pitcher for the "Hi" Simmons' Tigers 1940 to 1942. He and his teammates won the Big Six conference title in '41 and '42.

He was always good for a few stories about Mizzou Baseball in the old days, including tales of John "Hi" Simmons, who had only been on the job for a couple of years prior to Graham's arrival.

Throwing out the first pitch before Saturday's game will be Frank Graham. A native of Fair Grove, Mo., Graham was a senior on the 1942 team. He pitched 31 innings in five games for the Tigers, compiling a 2-2 record. On April 24, 1942, Graham shut out Washington University (Mo.) as the Tigers cruised to a 10-0 win.

During WWII, Graham pitched for the Ft. Benning (Ga.) parachute school team. He pitched in a game against George "Red" Munger, three-time Major League Baseball All-Star and member of the 1946 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Behind Graham's pitching, Ft. Benning won, 3-1. mutigers.com 5/3/2002

In 100 Ages, a feature earlier this year, the Columbia Missourian presented an audio clip of Graham talking about his years as a ballplayer.

"I thought I was an old man when I got out of the service. Twenty-six. I'd lost about four years of good time for baseball to find out if I could make it (as a professional)." Columbia Missourian

But Frank Graham was more well known in the state of Missouri for other achievements. He was the long-time director of the 4-H club in Missouri, and was a Boone County Judge (now known as Commissioners) in the '80s and '90s.

He will be missed at Simmons Field. A tip of the cap to you, Mr. Graham.

Links:

Columbia Tribune: Frank Graham, 1920-2013

Columbia Missourian: Frank Graham worked as 4H leader, loved baseball

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