HOUSTON – Rice University baseball may have the neatest lineup cards in their sport. Each is a work of art written by longtime manager and former draftsman Wayne Graham.
In Reckling Park, winning has a catch.
“You don’t survive if you don’t win,” said Rice baseball Coach Wayne Graham.
Graham owns 1,000 wins and enough championships to cover his right field wall.
“He cares a lot about the little things,” said Michael Aquino, an outfielder.
Still, his penmanship seems to leave deeper impressions on players.
“It’s perfect every day,” Aquino said.
“It’s just very impressive that he takes so much time,” said John Clay Reeves, a catcher. “You see so many coaches come in and just write (a lineup card) real quick and make Xs and do things. But, coach definitely puts a lot of effort into it.”
“I just kinda got into the habit of doing that, and plus I had a fifth-grade teacher who said if your handwriting isn’t legible, I’m going to flunk you,” Graham said.
Each lineup card is a work of art. All are slowly printed by hand, perfectly spaced and styled without tools. It’s a craft decades old that Graham learned to survive.
“In the world I played professional baseball in, the only people that didn’t work in the off-season were the stars,” Graham said. “Even good major league players had to get a job because nobody made any money. It’s hard to believe, but it was true. So, I had drafting skills.”
Those skills resonate with players.
“He likes to relate it to caring about the small things in baseball,” Aquino said.
“That sounds simple, but in practice, it’s very difficult,” Graham said.
His guys love it because, as long as Rice wins the right way, coach is happy.