Lum Harris with the Baltimore Orioles in 1955
January 17, 1915|
New Castle, Alabama
|Died: November 11, 1996
Pell City, Alabama
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 19, 1941 for the Philadelphia Athletics|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 11, 1947 for the Washington Senators|
|Earned run average||4.16|
Born in the village of New Castle, Alabama, his playing career began with the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in 1937. His catcher that season was Paul Richards, who in 1938 became Atlanta's player-manager. Richards and Harris would form a decades-long association in baseball at the minor and Major League levels.
The 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), 185 lb (84 kg) Harris compiled a 35–63 record with a 4.16 earned-run average in 151 American League games with the Philadelphia Athletics and (briefly) Washington Senators from 1941–47. The remainder of his Major League career would be spent working in tandem with Richards, initially as a coach with the Chicago White Sox (1951–54), Baltimore Orioles (1955–61), and Houston Colt .45s (1962–64). In each case he worked under Richards, who was either his manager, general manager, or (in Baltimore from 1955–58) both. Despite his playing background, Harris was never a pitching coach; he usually served as a third-base coach.
Manager of Astros and Braves
In 1965, Harris was promoted by Richards to manager of the newly rechristened Houston Astros, serving for the team's debut season in the Astrodome. Harris was replaced by Grady Hatton after Houston went 65–97 to finish ninth in the ten-team National League. It was actually his second Major League managerial post: he had briefly managed Baltimore in September 1961 when Richards resigned to take the front office reins of the expansion franchise in Houston.
The Astros fired Richards after the 1965 season as well, and he became the vice president for baseball operations (in effect, general manager) of the Atlanta Braves during the middle of the 1966 campaign. Harris rejoined Richards in 1967 as skipper of Triple-A Richmond, and, then, from 1968 to the middle of the 1972 season, as manager of the big-league Braves. Harris led Atlanta to the first-ever National League West Division championship in 1969 (the franchise's first postseason berth since losing the 1958 World Series as the Milwaukee Braves), but his Braves lost the National League Championship Series to the eventual world champion New York Mets.
When the Braves slumped in ensuing years, Richards was fired during the 1972 season, on June 1, and Harris was replaced on August 6, 1972, as manager by former Braves' third baseman Eddie Mathews. Harris' final managerial record was 466–488 (.488).