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Pippins Honor “Hunky” Shaw – Yakima’s Own “Moonlight” Graham

Courtesy: Yakima Valley Pippins

With the delivery of their inaugural pocket schedules for the upcoming 2014 baseball season, the Yakima Valley Pippins took time to honor the first big leaguer to ever come out of the Yakima Valley.

On the backside of the schedules, fans are encouraged to find Pippins swag in the “Hunky” Shaw Team Store and they provide some insight as to why that name was designated.

Royal N. “Hunky” Shaw was born in Yakima in 1884.  He attended the University of Washington and missed becoming the first person from Washington State to ever break into the Major Leagues by just days.  He is the first to do so from the U of W and from Yakima as well.

As it turns out, Shaw’s time was brief as he got just one at-bat before being sent back to the minors.  Shaw’s plate appearance came as a member of the 1908 Pittsburgh Pirates, featuring Hall of Fame shortstop Rogers Hornsby.  In his one chance to show what he had, Shaw struck out, never to return to the big leagues again.  A regular “Moonlight” Graham, if you will.

Graham was an actual player immortalized by the legendary actor Burt Lancaster in the baseball flick “Field Of Dreams.”  In the movie, Graham, who became a successful small town doctor, laments his “cup of coffee” in the Major Leagues where he only played one half inning and never got the chance to step-up to the plate.

Like Graham, Yakima native Shaw went on to become a successful businessman himself, opening a sporting goods store that stood for many years.  He also was the first team executive of the 1937 Yakima Pippins of the Western International League – the first-ever pro baseball team in Yakima.

Shaw died in 1969 and is buried in Terrace Heights.

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