Right-hander Billy Harris caught the eye of big league scouts when he led the Dieppe Junior Cardinals to a Maritime championship in 1949 and the Moncton Legionnaires to a senior title the following year.
Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, the Canuck hurler notched 18 wins and recorded a 2.19 ERA for the Class D Valdosta Dodgers in his inaugural professional campaign. He would top that the next season, when he won 25 games, tossed 12 shutouts and registered a miniscule 0.83 ERA for the Class B Miami Sun Sox. His success continued in 1953 when he authored a perfect game for the Double-A Mobile Bears.
In 1954, he debuted with the Triple-A Montreal Royals. Trapped in the pitching-rich Dodgers system behind legends like Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Don Newcombe, Harris had little opportunity to shine at the major league level. After recording 16 wins with Montreal in 1957, the determined Maritimer was called up and made his first big league start on September 27 of that year. Throwing to the legendary Roy Campanella, Harris held the Phillies to three runs in seven innings but still recorded the loss. Harris would return to the minors in 1958 and for most of 1959, before making his second and final major league appearance with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In all, Harris pitched for 15 professional seasons and amassed 174 wins and 1,373 strikeouts. Of all Canadians that have pitched in the big leagues, Harris ranks first in minor league career shutouts (45), second in strikeouts, third in wins, and fifth in games pitched (436) and innings pitched (2,461). For his efforts, he was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. Billy passed away May 27, 2011.
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