Vic Harris (outfielder)

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Vic Harris
Outfielder / Manager
Born: (1905-06-10)June 10, 1905
Pensacola, Florida
Died: February 13, 1980(1980-02-13) (aged 74)
San Fernando, California
Batted: Left Threw: Right
Professional debut
1923 for the Cleveland Tate Stars
Last professional appearance
1947 for the Homestead Grays
Negro league statistics
Batting average .287
Home runs 26
Runs scored 365
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Elander Victor Harris (June 10, 1905 – February 23, 1978) was a strong-hitting outfielder and a successful manager in the Negro Leagues. Listed at 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), 168 lb., Harris batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

Career[edit]

A native of Pensacola, Florida, Harris moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1914 and played baseball at the local YMCA. He started his professional career shortly after his 18th birthday, playing for the Cleveland Tate Stars in 1923 and the Cleveland Browns in 1924,[1] before start a long association with the Homestead Grays in 1925 which lasted 23 years. At this time, Homestead were not a member of any established league as the team rarely played other top black squads in those years and so statistics are limited, but when the Grays did, they often showed themselves to be a superior team.

When Homestead joined the Eastern Colored League in 1928, Harris hit an anemic .204 average before the league folded, but he improved significantly in 1929, batting .350 in the high-offense American Negro League. In 1933 he hit .321 with Homestead, and .384 for the 1934 Pittsburgh Crawfords. The 1935 season brought Harris back to Homestead. He hit .342, as his eight home runs tied for fifth in the league and were even with Hall of Fame slugger Turkey Stearnes. A year later, he hit .315.

Harris managed the Grays during their years in league play, between 1935 and 1948, and piloted Homestead to eight pennants. He guided his team to six consecutive pennants from 1937 through 1942; in 1945 and 1948, and led the 1948 team to the Negro League World Series championship. The 1943 and 1944 NLWS titles came under Candy Jim Taylor. In 1938, when Homestead dominated the league and won the first half with an .813 winning percentage, Harris led his team with a .380 batting average. He also played in six East-West All-Star games between 1933 and 1947, and managed the East team eight times, four more than Oscar Charleston, the next-most-frequent manager.

In the waning days of the Negro Leagues, Harris coached for the 1949 Baltimore Elite Giants and managed the 1950 Birmingham Black Barons. Additionally, he played winter baseball in the Cuban League and managed Santurce in the Puerto Rican League from 1947-1950.

Available statistics indicate that Harris hit .306 (791-for-2583), and his teams posted a 382-328 mark in regular season play and a 10-10 mark during post-season play. An excellent motivator, he was well liked and respected by his players.

Harris died in San Fernando, California, at the age of 72. He was considered in the 2006 Hall of Fame balloting.

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