Vic Harris (utility player)
March 27, 1950 |
Los Angeles, California
|July 21, 1972, for the Texas Rangers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 5, 1980, for the Milwaukee Brewers|
|Runs batted in||121|
Victor Lanier Harris (born March 27, 1950 in Los Angeles, California) is a former Major League Baseball player. He played all or part of eight seasons in the majors between 1972 and 1980. He also played three seasons in Japan for the Kintetsu Buffaloes from 1981 until 1983.
Harris was drafted in the first round of the secondary phase of the 1970 Major League Baseball Draft by the Oakland Athletics. In July 1972 he was traded to the Texas Rangers, and made his major league debut for them the following day. He spent the rest of the season as the Rangers' regular second baseman, replacing Lenny Randle. Harris went his first 35 at-bats without a base hit, the major league record for most consecutive at-bats at the beginning of a career by a position player without a base hit.
The following season, 1973, the Rangers moved Harris to center field, replacing Joe Lovitto. In his first, and what would prove to be only, season as a regular, Harris batted .249 with 8 home runs. That offseason, Harris and Bill Madlock were traded to the Chicago Cubs for future Hall-of-Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins.
Harris started the 1974 season back at second base, where he was the starter for most of the first half of the season. However, after hitting just .195 in 62 games, Harris season was ended midway through due to knee surgery. He was replaced by Dave Rosello and Billy Grabarkewitz. Harris spent 1975 on the Cubs' bench, being used mostly as a pinch hitter and batting .179. That winter, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder Mick Kelleher.
Harris spent the next three seasons with the Cardinals and then the San Francisco Giants, serving as a utilityman, playing all three outfield positions along with second base, third base, and shortstop 1978. He was signed to a minor league contract by the Milwaukee Brewers. After a season back in the minors, Harris played in 34 games for the Brewers in 1980 to close out his major league career.
Harris became a free agent after the 1980 season, and for 1981 he signed with the Buffaloes. That season, he batted .268 with 22 home runs and 74 RBI, all of which would have been MLB career highs. The following season, while he batted .272, his power declined, and Harris totaled just 9 home runs and 35 RBI. After another decline the following season with injuries and a .198 average, Harris' Japanese career was done. He played one final season with the Louisville Redbirds in the Cardinals' organization before retiring.
Harris wound up playing 579 games in the majors, and was a true utilityman. He played at least 27 games at six different positions, with the largest number, 212, coming at second base.