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The odd Yankees career of Joe Harris

Harris briefly played for the Yankees, and put up an extremely strange stat line in the process.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Joe Harris had a 10-year major league career, and a pretty decent one at that. He finished with a career OPS of .877. He received MVP votes in 1923 and 1924. The start of his career was rather strange, though.

After playing parts of three years in the minor leagues, Joe Harris signed with the Yankees on June 8, 1914. He played in his first major league game against the White Sox the very next day. Harris came off the bench to play left field for Jimmy Walsh, who had made one of four Yankees errors. At the plate, Harris would get two at-bats that day. He struck out in one and was hit by a pitch in the other.

The following day, the Yankees went to St. Louis to play the Browns, and Harris was put in the starting lineup. In his second appearance, Harris came to the plate four times. In three of his at-bats, he drew a walk. In the fourth, he reached on a sacrifice bunt, making it all the way to third before being pinch run for.

That would be the end of Harris’ Yankees career. Manager Frank Chance apparently wasn’t convinced, and the Yankees quickly got rid of him. Harris played two games for the Yankees. He got six plate appearances, put the ball in play once, and finished with a triple slash line of .000/.800/.000.

Those two games, wouldn’t quite be the end for Harris, however. That is slightly unfortunate, because had he never played again, he would have been the only player ever to finish with that weird triple slash.

Harris went back and played in the minor leagues before eventually returning to play for the Cleveland Indians in 1917. He put up solid numbers, playing 112 games that season.

After the 1917 season, he served in World War I, where he suffered a skull fracture and three broken ribs in an ambulance accident. However, he made it back and played 62 games with Cleveland in 1919.

The following season, Harris left the majors and joined an outlaw team in Franklin, Pennsylvania. He made more money than he would have with Cleveland, but he violated the reserve clause in his contract and was ineligible to play in the majors.

That caused Harris to miss out on a World Series title with Cleveland in 1920. He had to petition commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis to get back into the majors, and eventually did in 1922.

He went on to play another seven seasons with the Red Sox, Senators, Pirates, and Brooklyn Robins. He played in two World Series, losing to the Yankees in 1927 as a member of the Pirates.

Joe Harris had a pretty good career in baseball. Some weird things happened along the way, and it all started with a .000/.800/.000 batting line.