Countdown To Pitchers And Catchers: #11 Toby Harrah
Mike B. | On 09, Feb 2012
Today continues our countdown to the start of Indians pitchers and catchers reporting to Goodyear, Arizona on February 20. We’ll count down the days, profiling a former Indian who wore the corresponding number. Some players will be memorable, others just our favorites and some, the only one we could find who wore that number. Today, we chronicle the career of Toby Harrah.
By Mike Brandyberry
In what was an above average career, Toby Harrah seemed to have several exceptional moments through his 17 year tour as a Major League Baseball player.
Harrah attended Elgin High School, near Marion, Ohio and was signed by scout Tony Lucadello for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1966. Lucadello scouted, who was based out of Fostoria, Ohio, scouted northwest Ohio and thought he had found another star. Harrah was working in a factory after high school when he signed.
During his progression through the minor leagues, Harrah was acquired by the Washington Senators. He debuted in 1969 in Washington before becoming the starting shortstop in 1971. The organization moved from Washington to become the Texas Rangers while Harrah developed into a quality ballplayer. He was an all-star for the Rangers in 1972, 1975 and 1976. He hit over 20 home runs in both 1974 and 1975.
While a member of the Rangers Harrah achieve two strange baseball feats. On June 25, 1976, Harrah played an entire doubleheader without taking a single infield chance. While playing shortstop, he never touched the ball for 18 innings of live play. A year later, on August 27, 1977, Harrah helped achieve another strange feat when he and Bump Wills hit back-to-back inside the park home runs. Both feats are the only of its kind in baseball history.
Harrah was traded to the Tribe in December 1978 for third baseman Buddy Bell. Harrah would move from shortstop to third base with the Indians and continue a stellar career. Harrah would again hit 20+ home runs in 1979 and 1982 with the Tribe. In 1982, he played in all 162 games, hit a career high .304 and was an all-star. It was his best year as a professional.
In February 1984, Harrah was traded to the New York Yankees for George Frazier and Otis Nixon. After a season, he was traded back to the Texas Rangers for Billy Sample, where he played out the final two seasons of his career. Harrah retired after the 1986 season with 195 career home runs, a .264 average and a four time all-star. He was the last baseball player to retire who had played for the Washington Senators.
Photo: Topps Baseball Cards