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Friday, November 5, 2021

Kenny Graves had high hopes as pro, but teenage arm problems returned; Saw two seasons, made AAA

Looking back in 1991, Kenny Graves traced his arm pain back to youth baseball, when he threw curveballs, He told his hometown Hattiesburg American. Then, as he went 13-2 one year in high school, he knew he over-used it. 

As a professional - and as a catcher - the pain grew too much and, after two seasons, an unsuccessful surgery and an unsuccessful cortisone shot, he retired, The American wrote.

"After all that, they said 'we can give you another shot.' I talked to my parents and they left it up to me . I refused it," Graves recounted to The American. "And I didn't want another surgery. Maybe it would have helped, but I didn't feel it was best for me."

Graves played both of his two seasons in the Mets system. He even saw brief looks at AA Jackson and AAA Tidewater. But his career ended with that arm trouble.

Graves' career began in 1989, taken by the Mets in the 33rd round of the draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi. Graves was also sometimes credited by his given first name, Steven Graves.

At Southern Miss, Graves hit a February 1988 pinch-hit game-winning two-run home run on a final-out full count, The American wrote.

"I knew the fastball was coming' I could read the pitcher the way he was holding it behind his back," Graves told The American afterward.

Graves started with the Mets at single-A Columbia. He hit .169 over 22 games. 

He then started 1990 at high-A St. Lucie. He saw 42 games and hit .213. He also saw four games at AA Jackson - in his home state - and went 2 for 12. At AAA Tidewater, the catcher saw three games and went 2 for 8. 

Graves then underwent his arm surgery and returned for spring 1991, but his career concluded there.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,774
Made the Majors:1,276-33.8%
Never Made Majors:2,498-66.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:525
10+ Seasons in the Minors:313

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