Opinion

Navy veteran’s journey to become Major League pitcher captivates fans

Major League pitcher Mitch Harris is a major league inspiration.

The 29-year-old St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher graduated from the Naval Academy and earned the rank of Navy lieutenant on his way to becoming a Major League pitcher — and the first graduate of the Naval Academy in 94 years to appear in an MLB game.

Along the way his story has captivated baseball fans nationwide.

According to MLB.com, strangers express gratitude for his service when they see him, his teammates follow him onto the field after the national anthem and fellow Navy sailors have sent notes congratulating him on his success.

“I knew it was going to be hyped up and a big deal, but I didn’t realize how big, I guess,” Harris told MLB.com. ”Again, I love the story. It’s a part of who I am. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to go out and perform well.”

Harris was called up to the majors after an injury to centerfielder Peter Bourjos and started with a bang, recording seven scoreless outings and obtaining the first ever Major League win by a Naval Academy graduate.

Although there is no guarantee, because relievers can be called in to pitch on any day, Harris is excited about the possibility of pitching on Memorial Day.

“It’s a good day to remember what other people are doing while we’re here in a free country,” he said.

“You have a lot of people who are serving overseas and defending us everywhere. It’s definitely a day that is special, hopefully to everybody.”

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Carmine Sabia

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