Characters

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Abner Bluestein
Abner Bluestein is the hard-nosed business partner of Mark, Ray Kinsella's brother-in-law, who wants to evict Ray from his farm.

Archie Graham
Archie Graham, also known as Moonlight Graham, is based on a real person who played once for the New York Giants in 1905. He appears in the novel in two forms. First, he is an old man, Doc Graham, a doctor in the small Minnesota town of Chisholm. Ray meets him in a magical episode of time travel that takes him back to the year 1955 when Graham is seventy-five years old. Doc Graham has some eccentric habits, such as chewing paper and spitting it out, but he is a good-hearted man who is loved and respected in his community, where he takes care of all who seek his assistance. He tells Ray that he got his nickname one night when, after a minor league game, he went outside the motel for a walk, dressed in his baseball uniform. A teammate spotted him, and he was Moonlight Graham ever after. Graham also appears in the novel as a young man dressed in a baseball uniform who travels from Minnesota to Iowa with Salinger and Ray in search of a game to play. He ends up playing on Ray's fantasy field and thus gets the chance to bat in the major leagues.

Gypsy
Gypsy is the girlfriend of Richard Kinsella. She works in the change booth at the carnival. She is tough but also kind and wise, and she has an open heart that enables her to perceive all the baseball games taking place in Ray's magic field.

Shoeless Joe Jackson
Shoeless Joe Jackson was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His career with the Chicago White Sox ended in 1920 when he admitted to being involved in a plot to throw the 1919 World Series. He was banned from the game for life. In the novel, Ray believes that although Shoeless Joe may have accepted money from gamblers, he did not deliberately throw the series but was the victim of greedy baseball owners. Shoeless Joe is one of Ray's heroes, and he is the first baseball player to appear on Ray's baseball field. Shoeless Joe is presented not only as a legendary baseball player but also as a man who loved the game and who would have played just for food money. He tells Ray that being banned for life was the equivalent of having part of himself amputated.

Annie Kinsella
Annie Kinsella is Ray Kinsella's red-haired, twenty-four-year-old wife. She is pretty, full of life and good humor, and very loving. She always supports her husband and encourages him to fulfill his dreams, never once reproaching him for being impractical, even as their debts mount.

Johnny Kinsella
Johnny Kinsella is Ray's father. He served in World War I and was gassed at Passchendaele, after which he settled in Chicago and became a White Sox fan. He also played semi-pro baseball in Florida and California before marrying and settling in Montana. At the time of the story, he has been dead for twenty years. He and his son Ray appear to have been close, and he instilled his love of baseball into Ray. Shoeless Joe was his hero. Johnny Kinsella appears in the novel as a young man, playing catcher in games at Ray's baseball park. At first, Ray does not know how to approach him, but later he does so, and he realizes that he can talk with his father about many things.

Karin Kinsella
Karin Kinsella is Ray's five-year-old daughter. Like her...

(This entire section contains 1483 words.)

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father, she is gifted with imagination and has no trouble seeing the baseball games that take place in the cornfield at the farm.

Ray Kinsella
Ray Kinsella is the narrator of the story. He was raised in Montana, and his father passed on to him a love of baseball. Ray later moved to Iowa to study, and he fell in love with the state and decided to stay. He married Annie, the daughter of his landlady. Unable to find congenial work, Ray took a job as a life insurance salesman, which he hated. Then, Annie suggested that they rent and later buy a farm. Although he has little expertise in farming and machinery of any kind baffles him, Ray takes great pride in the farm. However, times are such that it is very hard for a small farmer to flourish, and he falls badly into debt. Impractical in matters of money, he makes almost no effort to right his finances. His wife's family dislikes him, and he has equally negative feelings about them. Ray also dislikes organized religion, big business, and people in authority who do not use their authority well.

Whatever his shortcomings in practical life, Ray is gifted with imagination, an open heart, and the ability to conceive a great dream and work at it until it comes true. When he hears the mysterious voice saying, "If you build it, he will come," he immediately understands what it means and sets about building the baseball field. He is also motivated by a desire to rekindle the enthusiasm for baseball of his favorite writer J. D. Salinger and to heal Salinger's pain. Ray drives a thousand miles cross-country to make this happen. In the end, Ray is vindicated. His dreams come true because of the depths of his own belief in them. He also becomes the agent whereby the dreams of others can be fulfilled, but in this he realizes that he is only playing his part in some larger plan, the origins of which he does not speculate about. Ultimately, what is most important to Ray is not baseball but love of family and friends.

Richard Kinsella
Richard Kinsella is Ray's twin brother. He and Ray have not seen each other since the morning of their sixteenth birthday. On that day, Richard quarreled with their father and walked out of the house. No one in the family has seen or heard of him since, until one day he shows up at Ray's farm. It transpires that he works with a traveling carnival that has stopped in Iowa City. Richard is at first unable to see what happens in the baseball cornfield, but he asks Ray to teach him how to do it. Eventually, Richard is able to perceive and speak to their father.

Mark
Mark is a professor at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and Ray's brother-in-law. His area of expertise is the corn weevil. He is also a businessman and, with his partner, Bluestein, owns apartment blocks and several thousand acres of farmland. Practical and with an interest in the latest technology, Mark is the opposite of Ray, the dreamer. Mark wants to buy Ray's farm so he can modernize it, and he pursues his goal ruthlessly, only to be foiled at the end by Salinger's creative ideas for how Ray can pay off his debts.

Moonlight
See Archie Graham

J. D. Salinger
J. D. Salinger is the real-life reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye. In the novel, Salinger is presented as a kind man with a sense of humor, although since he no longer writes and publishes, he is also denying himself his greatest talent. When he is waylaid by Ray at his home, he agrees to accompany him to the Red Sox game in Boston. Then he joins Ray in his research into Moonlight Graham's life in Minnesota and also goes to Iowa to see for himself the baseball field where Shoeless Joe and the other famous players perform. As a writer with a developed imagination, Salinger is well able to perceive everything that takes place on Ray's baseball park. When he receives an invitation to accompany the players beyond the baseball park into a world beyond ordinary reality, Salinger promises Ray that he will resume his writing career.

Eddie Scissons
Eddie Scissons is a very old man whom Ray befriends several years before the story begins. Ray rents and later buys Eddie's farm. Eddie lives at the Bishop Cridge Friendship Center in Iowa City and claims to be the oldest living Chicago Cub. He has many stories to tell about baseball and claims to have followed the Cubs for eighty years. They have been his whole life, and he wants to be buried in his Chicago Cubs uniform. It transpires, however, that Eddie has been lying. He never played for the Cubs. The best he could manage was to play part-time, for one year, for a Class D team in Montana. Eddie eventually gets his wish when, as Kid Scissons, he pitches for the Chicago Cubs on Ray's baseball park. But he performs poorly and is devastated by the experience. Although he gets what he wants, it does not make him happy. However, when Eddie dies, his wish to be buried in his Cubs uniform is honored.

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