TAMPA – David Harris is far from the first in his family to play pro ball, and that’s given him the boost to make a name in this game.
The Toronto Blue Jays infield prospect is the grandson of a former Negro league player and the son of a former player, coach, and scout within the minor leagues of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago White Sox.
Harris, 23, has always been supported by his father, Michael, but baseball is something he’s always wanted to be a part of for himself.
“He was definitely one of those guys that definitely pushed me to play this game,” said Harris, sitting at a picnic table in the shade at the Bobby Mattick Complex. “But I have to love it for myself, that’s the most important thing.”
Harris, the 2013 Great American Conference MVP at Southern Arkansas University, is a great admirer of his father and spent time in the off-season helping him with the Houston Miracles youth baseball program.
“He’s still involved to this day,” said Harris. “He’s a hard worker and that’s something that he loves and enjoys doing. Helping kids out and, of course, bringing the Christian life. Our thing is Christian first, baseball second.”
Harris’s hard working style has had a lot of influence from his father and he’s always wanted to follow in his footsteps, but the Houston native doesn’t intend on stopping there.
“That was something that I felt was destined,” said Harris. “Not just because my dad played, or anything like that, it’s just something in my heart.
“That something was my goal and to push forward to, not just (to be drafted), and not just to play in the big leagues, but to be an all-star.”
Last season, Harris, a former NJCAA Junior College World Series champion, split time between the Vancouver Canadians and the Lansing Lugnuts, hitting .258 with 64 hits, 33 RBIs, 6 home runs and .303 OBP in 64 games played.
Since being drafted in the 36th round in 2013, Harris has moved from low- to mid-A and expects to play at the double-A level this season, but he knows there’s a lot of work ahead of him.
“Not one day is promised,” said Harris. “Why not give it your all every single day so you can compete as hard as you can for your team and whatever happens, happens.
“I believe if you put the work in, the chips will fall where they’re supposed to.”
Follow — @Mitch_Sanderson