George Harney

From BR Bullpen

George Arthur Harney

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

George Harney had a high peak in the Negro Leagues as a pitcher and briefly managed as well. He was noted for his spitball. [1]

Harney was 0-2 with a 12.15 ERA in his debut for the Chicago American Giants in 1923. [2] He beat the Detroit Tigers that year, though, beating Hooks Dauss, 8-6 and fanning Bobby Veach and Harry Heilmann with two on in the 9th. [3]

In 1924, he became a regular member of the rotation and went 11-3 with a 3.39 ERA (105 ERA+) and three shutouts. He also hit .224/.283/.327. He tied Bill Drake for 3rd in the Negro National League in wins, behind Bullet Rogan and Sam Streeter. He tied Juan Padrón and Bill Foster for the most whitewashes in the NNL. He had a 7-5, 3.63 record in 1925 but his ERA+ improved to 119.

The Alabama native formed a stellar 1-2 punch with Foster in 1926, going 12-6 with 3 saves and a 1.91 ERA (197 ERA+) while Foster was at 13-4, 1.63. Harney also hit .346/.382/.519 for 159 OPS+. He tied Chet Brewer and Rogan for 5th in the NNL in wins, was 7th with 67 K (between Webster McDonald and Bill McCall), ranked 2nd to Foster in ERA (.28 ahead of #3 Brewer), was second to Foster in ERA+ and tied for 2nd in saves (one shy of José Méndez). He was 4th in Wins Above Replacement behind Hall-of-Famers Foster, Mule Suttles and Turkey Stearnes. He was 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA in the playoffs. In the 1926 Negro World Series, he was 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA against the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, beating Red Grier in a 7-6 slugfest and losing a 3-0 pitching duel to Rats Henderson in which neither allowed a run through seven.

The right-hander was not as dominant in 1927 but still formed a dominant staff with Foster, McDonald, Reuben Curry and Willie Powell. He was 8-9 with 4 saves and a 2.64 ERA (122 ERA+) though his offense was way down at .125/.140/.161. He was 7th in WHIP, between William Bell and Streeter. He also was 3rd in K:BB ratio (3.25:1) behind Satchel Paige and Rogan, and 1st in saves (one ahead of Rogan). He was 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA in the playoffs. He again faced the Bacharach Giants in the finals. In game 3 of the 1927 Negro World Series, he tossed a four-hit whitewash and he turned in solid relief in a game 6 tie. He lost game 7 as his defense let him down but the American Giants won the Series. He finished 1-1, 1.31 for the Series; only 3 of the 8 runs scored off him were earned.

Harney faded in 1928 (8-8, Sv, 4.07 ERA, 79 ERA+) though he hit .311. He also managed the American Giants part of the year, going 18-19 after taking over for Dave Malarcher. He did not pitch in the 1929 NNL but was with Chicago that October against the AL All-Stars and got a 7-6 win over George Uhle with 3 2/3 shutout innings of relief for Double Duty Radcliffe, shutting down a team that had Heilmann, Charlie Gehringer and Heinie Manush most notably. He also went 1 for 2 with a RBI. [4]

Turning 40 in 1930, he was 1-2 with a 3.43 ERAS (138 ERA+) in little action, then went 0-1 with a 14.63 ERA in even less time in 1931.

Overall, he had gone 53-40 with 9 saves in 137 games in the Negro Leagues, completing 50 of 81 starts. He had a 3.26 ERA (107 ERA+) and hit .238/.278/.301, not bad for a moundsman.

Sources[edit]

  1. The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley, pg. 357
  2. Seamheads.com (this is the source for all Negro League stats cited in this bio)
  3. The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway, pg. 183
  4. ibid., pg. 252-253