The 1989 Project Day 6 – Greg W. Harris

1989 Donruss the Rookies

Greg Harris was a September 1988 call-up for the Padres after a solid but not spectacular year with AAA Las Vegas (9-5, 4.11 ERA, 1.409 WHIP). He debuted in relief on 9/19/88, pitching 2 innings and giving up 2 runs, then got his first start on 9/26. He pitched a complete game, giving up 4 hits and striking out 11. His debut was greeted with relatively little fanfare, however, and he wasn’t regarded as much of a prospect, having been drafted in the 10th round in 1985.

1989 Score Rookie and Traded

During Spring Training 1989, he was rumored as part of a package to be sent to Atlanta for Dale Murphy. The package would have included Harris, Sandy Alomar Jr., and John Kruk. Can you imagine what the NL East would have looked like with Kruk on the Braves? Anyway, Harris came into Spring Training with very little chance to make the rotation and was, in fact, regarded as an unknown, but impressed the hell out of the Padres brass, making the team out of camp. He would pitch mainly in relief in 1989, throwing a 2.60 ERA with a 1.170 WHIP.  Most of his starts were outstanding, with a few 7K outings under his belt by the end of the year.  This would have been about the time I became aware of him. I had very little idea that he had been so unheralded, and figured he had come to the Padres as a star. It was a surprise to learn all of this, in retrospect.

1989 Upper Deck High Numbers

1989 was a preview of what his career would look like for the early years. From 1990-1991, his ERA hovered between the aforementioned 2.60 and 2.23 for 1991, the year he was converted to a starter. He averaged somewhere around seven strikeouts an inning during that period, too. 1991 was also when it started to fall apart. He started suffering a sore elbow on April 22nd, and was out of the game until July 4th. When he returned, he pitched fairly well for the first few starts, but then he started giving up more and more runs. He did make it through the rest of the year, though.  Harris would again miss time in 1992, missing 15 days of early June with an injury that I can’t source, but he injured his finger in the first game back, June 22nd, and wouldn’t return until August, at which point his ERAs ballooned up and stayed in the 4.00+ range.

He did not get injured in 1993, but it was clear he was no longer the same pitcher. On July 26th, the Padres shipped him and Bruce Hurst to the Rockies for Andy Ashby, Brad Ausmus, and Doug Bochtler. The Padres had officially thrown in the towel, and they did it at the right time. He only hung around for another two seasons, and would be 14-34 with a 5.64 ERA and 82 ERA+. He was cooked.

I wasn’t able to find a picture of him in a Twins uniform, but here he is in a Rockies uniform, arguing…something.

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