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Harrison Bader

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Harrison Joseph Bader

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Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Harrison Bader starred at the University of Florida and played for the Gators in the 2015 College World Series. He was taken in the 3rd round of the 2015 amateur draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bader made his big league debut on July 25, 2017, starting in center field against the Colorado Rockies. He went 1 for 4, his first major league hit being a double to lead off the 9th inning against Jake McGee. He scored the winning run in a 3-2 win when Jedd Gyorko hit a short sacrifice fly. He had been called up before the game when starting center fielder Dexter Fowler had been placed on the disabled list. Bader put up a fine batting line of .264/.334/.422 in 138 games in 2018, regressing sharply to a .205/.314/.366 line with stints in Triple A in 2019.

In January 2022, finding himself with some free time during the 2021-2022 lockout and with the local school system under pressure due to a surge in COVID-19 cases among teachers, he worked as a substitute teacher at Meramec Elementary School in Clayton, MO, teaching physical education. He explained that he got the job through a friend who had a connection with the district superintendent, and that he would not have been qualified to teach any other subject, but felt comfortable working with kids in the school gym. On May 10th that season, he hit the first inside-the-park homer by a Cardinals player in over 20 years, off Kyle Bradish of the Baltimore Orioles. The last Cardinals player to hit one had been Fernando Vina, back in 2001, and the last to hit one at home had been Vince Coleman in 1985. He hit .256 in 72 games for the Cards, with 5 homers and 21 RBIs, then on August 7th was traded to the New York Yankees in return for P Jordan Montgomery. He was on the injured list at the time and only appeared in 14 games for his new team until the end of the season, hitting .217 with no homers. But then, out of nowhere, he was his team's best hitter in the postseason, delivering 5 homers in 9 games, scoring 8 runs while driving in 6, while going 10 for 30 at the plate. His production easily outpaced that of Aaron Judge, who had set a new American League record with 62 homers during the regular season.

He was scheduled to be the Yankees' starting centerfielder when the 2023 season began, but he missed all of April with an injury, then after a decent first month, missed another three weeks in June. The Yankees were struggling by then and while he played regularly in July and August, he could not recapture the magic of the previous October. He was placed on waivers at the end of the month, principally to give the Yankees an opportunity to see what young phenom Jasson Dominguez could do at the major league level, and was immediately claimed by the Cincinnati Reds, who were hanging at the edges of the postseason race. He was hitting .240 in 84 games, with 7 homers and 37 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 75. He couldn't get his bat going with the Reds, though, hitting just .161 in 14 games. He became a free agent at the end of the season, and on January 4, 2024, reports came out that the New York Mets had signed him to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million. He had been a college teammate of Mets star Pete Alonso.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Betelhem Ashame: "You Bader believe it: Yanks' late acquisition homers again: After playing just 14 games following trade, center fielder is making Yankees history in ALDS", mlb.com, October 17, 2022. [1]
  • Jeff Jones (Belleville News-Democrat): "School kids show up to class to find this St. Louis Cardinals star as their substitute", Yahoo! News, January 16, 2022. [2]
  • Mike Petriello: "The best outfielder you don't know enough about: Bader has added more fielding value than any other OF defender", mlb.com, August 14, 2018. [3]
  • Joe Trezza and Andrew Simon: "Mets agree to deal with former Gold Glover Bader", mlb.com, January 4, 2024. [4]

Related Sites[edit]