Monday, July 10, 2006

July 10th, 1967

Skinny Graham Dies

Would you believe, I mean really, would you, that there have been not one, but two Skinny Grahams in the history of Major League Baseball? This one--born Arthur Graham--was an outfielder for the Red Sox in the 30s for a handful of games while the other--born Kyle Graham--was a pitcher for the Braves and Tigers in the 20s. It was only that second bit of information that gives the second Graham's nickname any source of meaning.

To wit, the first Graham stood 6'2" and weighed 172 pounds. Although not perfect because it isn't really designed for elite athletes (who tend to have a fair bit of muscle)
Body Mass Index can give us some idea of a person's weight as it is compared to their height. The first Graham has a BMI of 20.8, putting him on the low end of the "normal" section. (One could argue he shouldn't be called "Skinny" then, but that's just splitting hairs.) The second Graham is listed at the same 172 pounds but a full seven inches shorter than 1920s Graham, at just 5'7". How, I wondered, could a man with a BMI of 25.4--just in the "overweight" section--possibly have earned a nickname like Skinny?

The answer is clear, of course: there were some cruel folk in the Boston media (or Red Sox rooting section) who, remembering the previous Graham decided to inflict the nickname on the more heavyset eponymous outfielder. After having some unsolved mysteries over the past few nights, I can sleep soundly knowing this one is worked out.

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