20 Seasons Highlights Countdown: James Harris Makes History
In 2022, the Washington Wild Things are celebrating their 20th Frontier League season. The team will be celebrating in numerous ways Opening Weekend, beyond that and in several other ways. As part of our celebration, we're counting down some of the historical highlights the organization and team has seen occur over the first 19 seasons of Wild Things' baseball in the league.
The countdown isn't in any specific order in terms of importance, but it's time we visit some of the best on-field moments, significant historical accomplishments, records, traditions and more.
Today, we begin the countdown by dialing it back to May 17, 2018, a night on which history was made at Wild Things Park by outfielder James Harris. That night, in game one of a doubleheader, Harris became the first Wild Thing to ever hit for the cycle.
It's one of the most rare feats for a baseball player in the history of the game. In order to hit for the cycle, a player needs to hit a single, a double, a triple and a home run in the same game, in any order. The feat has only been accomplished 334 times in the history of Major League Baseball dating back to the first in 1882. It's been done several times in the Frontier League, but not even as common as that. Schaumburg's Matt McGarry did it early in 2021. When Harris did it in 2018, it was the first one in the league in nearly two years.
Harris, the first former first-round pick to ever play for the Wild Things, was hitting .353 with two homers and seven RBI in the first four games of the season entering play that night.
He continued his hot start with a solo shot to lead off the home side of the first inning to even the contest at one apiece. He singled in the second inning and came around to score on a two-run single by outfielder Roman Collins. Harris roped a bases-clearing triple in his next at-bat, which gave Washington a 7-2 lead. James completed the cycle in the fifth inning and his fourth at-bat of the night by doubling to left-center field. He would steal third before scoring as part of a three-run frame.
Harris spoke to the Washington Observer-Reporter that night:
“You never go into a game hoping you can hit for the cycle,” Harris said. “I was just happy I was able to put together some at-bats to score us some runs.”
Harris went on to win the league's Morgan Burkhart Award for the league's MVP at the end of the 2018 season. In 94 games, Harris slashed .305/.389/.529 with 22 doubles, eight triples, 16 home runs and 64 RBI. He also stole 26 bases that season.
The highlights from the cycle are on our Twitter page (@WashWildThings), if you want to check them out.
Our countdown will continue Wednesday, as we continue to visit the biggest moments and things in Wild Things' history leading up to the 20th season of baseball in the Frontier League for Washington. Stay tuned!