The news hit me hard.

Billy Harris was more than one of New Brunswick’s greatest athletes. He was a small town kid – he never forgot the people, places and influences of his youth – who pitched in the major leagues and his character never changed.

His athletic achievements are legendary, but his sense of compassion, warmth and humility should be remembered equally with his powerful right arm and resilient attitude.

Harris, a man I called a close friend for more than 60 years, died at his home in Kennewick, Wash., Saturday morning. He was 80 years-old and the memory of his achievements and the way he handled success with grace and gratitude live on.

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