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Where Are They Now: Brett Harker

 

Brett Harker was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. When he was two years old, his grandfather taught him how to play baseball, and from that point on he knew that was what he was meant to do. He can remember in grade school when he was a child and his teacher would ask him what do you want to do when he grew up, he always answered “A baseball player”. Harker said, “They would always give a big smile and say ‘that’s great but not many people get to play baseball for a living, so you should have a back-up plan.’” Well, the good news is they were wrong, he went after his dream, and now, according to Harker, “Thanks to the big man upstairs–I’m living it.”

DP-Please list any college/pro statistics of importance, awards won:

BH-Philadelphia Phillies 5th round draft pick in 2005, 2005 Lousville Slugger All-American, 2005 Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year, 2004-2005 First Team All-Southern Conference, All-time saves leader for a season (15) at the College of Charleston, All-time saves leader for a career (29) at the College of Charleston, All-time career saves leader for the Southern Conference (29), Went 5-0 with 15 saves (third in the country) in 2005, Three-time Pitcher of the Week in the Southern Conference, Southern Conference Pitcher of the month

DP-Please list any major high school accolades:

BH-All-State South Carolina 2002, North Carolina versus South Carolina all-star game MVP in 2002. All-Region 2002.

 

DP-What is your greatest high school thrill?

BH-My greatest thrill was the last high school game I ever got to pitch in. I couldn’t have written a better script. I played for Hillcrest High School and we were playing Mauldin High (our cross town rivals) in an elimination game in the playoffs. They had beaten us three times that year. I pitched a complete game and we beat Maudlin in front of the biggest crowd of the year. The best part was we sent them home for the season on their own field. 

DP-What is your greatest thrill, or two, beyond high school?

BH-My greatest thrill came in the last time I got to pitch against my cross-town rivals-The Citadel. It was my junior year at the College of Charleston; we were in the Southern Conference tournament in an elimination game against the Bulldogs. I was brought into the game with the lead in the top of the eighth to close out the game. Joe Riley Park was packed with about 5,000 people, and I got to beat the Bulldogs for one last time in front of all the Citadel Alumni. 

DP-Who are the three toughest hitters you faced in high school and the three toughest after high school?

BH-I can’t remember any exact names but my senior year in high school I felt like I couldn’t get anybody in Easley Green Waves line-up out.  The toughest hitters in college were some of the boys I faced in the LSU regional in 2004. Haufpair was one of the toughest hitters I have ever faced, and with their line-up you can’t let up for one hitter. 

DP-What was your toughest adjustment after high school?

BH-I had to learn real quick that a 91-92 MPH fastball didn’t mean all that much in college. You have to work DOWN in the zone and consistently throw another pitch for a strike to be successful. Ohh yeah, and not getting to hit anymore really sucked too!

DP-What is the biggest crowd you’ve ever performed in front of and where?

BH-It might be a tie between LSU and playing against the Orioles A-ball team, the Iron Birds. Both experiences were awesome.

DP-In one sentence, describe the experience of playing in a Regional at LSU.

BH-It was the incredible experience of my life, it still gives me goose bumps when I think back to it. 

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why?

BH-Coach Scott Foxhall, the pitching coach for the College of Charleston. He gets my vote for the pitching coach of the year. He always knows how to balance being your coach and someone that you can always come to with a problem. 

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a baseball player and why?

BH-John Smoltz, Not only is he my favorite pitcher ever, but the way he lives his life off the field give me great respect for the man. He is a strong Christian believer, and one of the few true class acts in baseball.

DP-Who is your favorite athlete (non-baseball)?

BH-Danny Marshall–All-time best field goal kicker for Furman.

DP-Who is your favorite MLB pitcher and position player and why?

BH-Smoltz, I don’t have a favorite hitter-I hate hitters. 

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team?

BH-Phillies, they write my checks!

DP-What is your favorite sport to play other than baseball?

BH-Tennis, Golf

DP-What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball?

BH-College Football!!!

DP-What goals do you have for yourself in and out of baseball?

BH-I want to be pitching in the Phillies bullpen in two years. With the exposure and resources of being a Big League player, I want to be able to impact kid’s life’s in a positive way (actually have good role models) and be able to spread the Gospel to them. 

DP-If you could have dinner with three people in history, who would they be and why?

BH-Joshua, because I think he is the biggest stud in The Bible. Albert Einstein, I’m sure that would be pretty interesting. My Grandpa, because he was the best man I ever knew.

DP-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

BH-I see myself being the closer for the Phillies, having my wife sitting in the box seats with my kids running around that park like they own the place.

DP-Your thoughts on what Diamond Prospects can do for kids in South Carolina versus when you came through the prep ranks?

BH-I’m happy to hear that there is a way to get players names out in South Carolina. I truly believe that South Carolina gets overlooked as a baseball powerhouse state. States like Florida, Texas and California get all the attention. Although the attention they receive is well-deserved, South Carolina has recently demanded a little respect for themselves. Just look at how many college teams we sent to a Regional last year – 6! More that any other state in the country. It must mean our high school kids are doing something right around here to have that much talent at the college level!

DP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice.

BH-Stick with it; if baseball is truly your passion and dream, don’t let anything but the lack of God-given talent stop you from playing this game. Work at it till you can’t move anymore, and when you get to that point go a little longer. Just remember if it were easy to do it wouldn’t be such an honor to get to the top. So bust your tail, and most of all, enjoy it because there will come a day when you got to hang up your spikes, so leave it all out on the field.

DP-Hark, Thanks a ton and good luck this year!

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