Nov 08

This Date in Washington Senators History – Happy Birthday Bucky Harris

November 8

1955 In a nine player swap that ultimately helps neither team in the long run, the Nats ship veterans Mickey Vernon, Bob Porterfield, Johnny Schmitz and Tom Umphett to Boston for youngsters Truman “Tex” Clevenger, Dick Bradowski, Al Curtis, Neil Chrisley and Karl Olson. For Vernon, it is the second time Washington trades the fan favorite. Vernon will have one final solid season with the Red Sox, garnering some MVP votes, before winding down his great career. Porterfield, former 22 game winner for Washington in 1954, would be out of baseball by 1960 and pitcher Schmitz and OF Umphett’s final seasons are in 1957. For the Senators, Clevenger’s 5 seasons in the Washington bullpen qualifies him as the best player the Sens received in this trade. Brodowski would appear in a grand total of 13 games over 2 seasons in Washington, 13 more than fellow hurler Curtis, who never reaches the majors. OF’s Olson and Chrisley rounded out the disappointing haul. Olson would be a reserve for one year, batting .246 with 22 RBI before being peddled off to Detroit in early 1958, while Chrisley played parts of 2 seasons in D.C., hitting a robust .215 in a part time role in 1958.

Senators Birthdays

Only one birthday to report this November 8th, but it is the birthday of the player/manager who guided the Senators to their only World Series Championship.

Stanley Raymond (Bucky) Harris B Nov. 8, 1896 D Nov. 8, 1977harris_bucky

Hall Of Famer Bucky Harris came to the Washington Senators in a trade with the Buffalo Bisons of the International League in late August of 1919. Playing in 8 games in his first major league season, Harris would hit .214.

Returning with the Senators in 1920, Harris would play 2nd base in 136 games and hit an even .300, his only season that he managed to reach the .300 mark.

Harris would anchor the Senators infield, playing in 140 games or more from 1921 through 1927.

Elevated to the role of player/manager in 1924 after the departure of Donie Bush (covered yesterday) the 27 year old Harris would guide the Senators to their first American League pennant and their only World Series victory. The following year, the Senators would again capture the American League pennant but would lose the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 7 games.

As a player, Harris would go 11 for 33, good for a .333 BA in the 1924 World Series, with 2 home runs, 7 RBI’s and 5 runs scored. Unfortunately he’d slip to a woeful .087 in 1925, going just 2 for 23 at the plate.

Harris would remain at the helm of the Senators through 1928 with the team finishing in 4th place in 1926, 3rd in 1927 and 4th again in 1928.

As a player, Harris would lead the American League in being hit by pitches from 1920 through 1922 (Ouch!) and sacrifice hits in 1924, 1925 and 1927.

After the 1928 season, Harris would be traded to the Detroit Tigers for Jack Warner. Harris would manage the Tigers from 1929 through 1933 and would play in 14 games in 1929 and 9 games in 1931. During his tenure as manager, the Tigers would never finish better than 5th.

1934 would find Harris managing the Boston Red Sox. The team would finish with a 76-76 record in 4th place.

Harris would return to Washington in 1935, serving as manager through 1942. During this reign, the best the Senators would do was a 4th place finish in 1936.

Harris would manage the Philadelphia Phillies in 1943, being fired with the team at 38-52, in 7th place in the National League.

In 1947, at the ripe old age of 50, Harris would be given the chance to manage again, this time with the New York Yankees. Harris would guide the Yankees to a 97-57 first place finish and a World Series victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1948, the Yankees would finish at 94-60, but that would be enough to drop them to 3rd place as the Cleveland Indians captured the American League pennant and the World Series crown.

1950 would find Harris in familiar surroundings-he’d be back in Washington for his 3rd go-round as Senators manager. Harris would manage the Senators from 1950 to 1954-unfortunately the best his teams would do would be to finish in 5th place in 1950, 1952 & 1953.

After the 1954 season, Harris was headed back to another familiar haunt, Detroit, where he’d guide the Tigers to 5th place finishes in 1955 & 1956, ending his managing career.

Bucky Harris biography at Baseball Library

“Bucky” Harris career record