In the novel, Maniac Magee, Mr. Grayson's first name is Earl. Grayson used to play in the Minor Leagues, which back during his day and age was a big deal for a person of color. He was told by his team mates that all new players are treated to a free meal at a certain restaurant in town. Grayson goes and eats a huge meal....then finds out that the team had lied to him. He ended up having to wash dishes to pay for his meal and ended up missing his first game.