Harris McGalliard

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Andrew Harris McGalliard
(Bucky Harris)

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Harris McGalliard, also known as Bucky Harris in Japan, was an American catcher in Nippon Professional Baseball. He was one of the first foreign professional players in Japan, playing for Nagoya in 1936. He would also play for the Eagles (1937-1938).

Minor Leagues[edit]

The 1931 Los Angeles Nippons, McGalliard is in the top row third from the left.

After attending the University of Southern California, McGalliard embarked on a minor league career in the late 1920s. However he soon came to the conclusion that he was not headed for the Major Leagues. He then joined the Los Angeles Nippons, a Nisei club. In 1931, the team traveled to Japan were they compiled a 20-5 record versus collegiate and corporate teams.

In 1935, McGalliard and the Nippons played against the Tokyo Giants on April 30. The Japanese club won 14 to 3 behind the pitching of Eiji Sawamura. It was at this game that McGalliard met Atsushi Kono, a former pitcher for Waseda University, who was traveling with the Giants on their tour.

Coming to Japan[edit]

When the Japanese Professional Baseball League was founded in 1936, Atsushi Kono, now the Nagoya general manager, inquired of Sotaro Suzuki of the Yomiuri Shimbun about any foreign players that he might recommend signing. Suzuki recommended McGalliard to Kono (Suzuki had also accompanied the touring Giants to the United States).

Harris McGaillard throwing

First Game[edit]

On April 29, 1936 McGalliard was the Nagoya's starting catcher in the first Japan Professional Baseball League game held between Nagoya and Dai Tokyo at Koshien Stadium. In doing so he became the first foreign pro player in the history of the league (Yoshio Takahashi, a Nisei infielder from Hawaii, also started the game for Nagoya but due to his heritage is generally not considered a foreign player). McGalliard had two hits in a 8 to 5 victory for Nagoya, with Hawaiian Herb North earning a relief win.

Japanese Career[edit]

McGalliard ended up playing in Japan for six seasons over the next three years (the first three years of the JPBL had two seasons per year). In the 1936, he had a line of 327/368/423 in 39 games. Prior to the 1937 Spring season he moved to the newly formed Eagles, founded by Kono. There he stayed for the remainder of his Japanese career. In the 1937 Fall season McGalliard won the MVP award with a 310/370/430 line in 200 at bats; of his 62 hits, 17 were doubles. The next season (1938 Spring) he had his best season, leading the league in homeruns with 6, and had a line of 324/369/504. In the 1938 Fall season, his last, McGalliard had a line of 320/385/490. Overall, in his three years in Japan, McGalliard had a line of 309/371/440 in 180 games; with 13 home runs, 103 RBI, 70 walks, 41 strikeouts, and 220 hits in 711 at bats. He also pitched 3 relief innings of shutout ball in 1936 giving up 2 hits and striking out 3.

Post-Japan[edit]

After the 1938 Fall season, McGalliard returned to the United States, leaving Japan on November 22, 1938, to be there for the birth of his child. It is also speculated that he left due to increasing tensions between Japan and the United States. A few years later, following the outbreak of World War II, McGalliard’s knowledge of Japan would be noticed by the United States Army, who needed interrogators for Japanese prisoners-of-war. After going to Army Intelligence School at the University of Michigan, McGalliard headed of to Leyte in the Philippines.

The following is an excerpt from "His Career Was Made in Japan," a piece by Dave Distel of the Los Angeles Times:

Bucky started interviewing one prisoner and suddenly a look of recognition came over the prisoner's face. "You're Bucky Harris, aren't you?" the prisoner asked. Bucky Harris McGalliard brightened. He recognized the prisoner as a catcher he had once played against. Much of the interviewing, thereafter, was done by the prisoners, who were interested in the Scotsman who had once been the best baseball player in their country.

The captured catcher was likely former Tokyo Kyojin backstop Tamotsu Uchibori.

Following the war, McGalliard owned a masonry contracting business in Orange County and retired to Westminster, CA. He died in 1978 at Sunrise Hospital, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Trivia[edit]

  • McGalliard was called "Bucky Harris" (not to be confused with Baseball Hall of Fame infielder and manager Stanley "Bucky" Harris) because the Japanese could not say his name McGalliard
  • He learned to speak some Japanese and would sing songs in the language while catching to confuse opposing batters
  • He created a unique trick play in which the pitcher runs toward a base upon throwing the ball.
  • Quote: "Over there I was a big shot, [laughs] over here I was nothing"

Related Sites[edit]