This Saturday would have been Billy Harris’ 80th birthday.
Harris was a Tri-Cities sports icon who passed away in May.
He spent many years in the Dodgers’ farm system — both Brooklyn and Los Angeles — and pitched for the big club for awhile.
He was a member of three halls of fame — the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame; the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame; and in 2006, he was inducted into the Central Washington Sports Hall of Fame. At 1 p.m. Saturday, Harris’ family and friends will gather at his former tavern, Billy’s Bull Pen (4128 W. Clearwater in Kennewick), and share memories of him as a baseball pitcher and person.
In addition, an independent filmmaker named Sam Bradley is hoping to get some of these stories on tape.
Bradley is making a baseball documentary on the 1952 Florida International League’s championship series.
Back during that period, minor league baseball was chock full of teams and leagues. The 1952 season in the Class B FIL was different.
The Miami Sun Sox, of whom Harris as a 20-year-old pitched for, won 104 games during the regular season. Harris himself had 25 wins, 12 shutouts and a 0.83 earned run average.
The Sun Sox’ cross-town rivals, the Miami Beach Flamingos, finished with 103 wins.
The two teams played a seven-game championship series that Miami would win.
Billy’s daughter, Gail Everett, is asking her father’s friends if they have any stories from those Miami days that he may have shared with them to either contact her at Geverett82@msn.com.
Or better yet, come to Billy’s Bull Pen and tell everyone there the story.
It may even make it into the documentary.
Either way, the chance to tell any Billy Harris story amongst friends will definitely mean a great time.