Two GM’s talking baseball Sunday morning on MLB radio was fascinating. Listening to former GM Jim Bowden talk about the Phillies deals with GM Matt Klentak was the most interesting baseball conversation I have heard in a long time.
What I most remember from the conversation was Bowden’s observation after the interview concluded. He basically said that Manny Machado is what he is, a great player but Harper has the upside to get even better than he is. If Harper is able to make adjustments to his swing and stays healthy will be the keys to his success. Bowden also added that it is 50/50 that he will be productive in the back end of his contract citing Joey Votto and Robinson Cano who have been productive and Pujols and Griffey both of whom declined late into their long term contracts.
Then, I checked the twitter feed on Harper and saw his first batting practice at Spectrum Field. Watch HERE.
The Harper press conference yesterday was one of the best that I have watched in baseball. Harper was composed and thoughtful. He sounded like a real clubhouse leader. Watch HERE.
An interesting part of the press conference was how he came about wearing the No. 3. He was a Yankees fan as a youngster and would want to wear No. 7 for Mickey Mantle but deferred to Maikel Franco, the current Phillies player wearing No. 7. Harper took No.3 because of family tradition, a number worn by his father and brother.
I have a different take. No. 3 was worn by the Yankees Babe Ruth when numbers were first used in the major leagues in the early 1930’s. Ruth played 15 years for the Yankees and was considered the greatest player of all time. Harper is under contract to the Phillies for 13 years. With Bowden predicting a tremendous up side for Bryce, No. 3 will someday be retired by the Phillies as a number of one of its greatest players in team history. See my Hartland model of Babe Ruth with his No. 3 and Harper first wearing No.3 at Saturday’s press conference below: