June 11, 2007
Atlanta -- Cairo's Willie Harris has a unique position in the game of baseball.
Harris says, "You have great players in the league: Bonds, Sheffield, Torii Hunter. A bunch of great name guys, and I wish I could hit the ball like them, but unfortunately I can't. But none of those guys can say they're from the birthplace of Jackie Robinson other than myself."
Harris is the only player to make it to the major leagues from Cairo other than the Hall of Famer Robinson, and says playing close to home has been very beneficial this season.
"It's just like I'm playing back home," says Harris. "I can see my family at any time. My mom, they can come up anytime they want. If we have a day off I can shoot home and get a home-cooked meal at my granny's house. It's just so much better being here."
Harris has played in over 400 games at the major league level, won a World Series championship with the White Sox in 2005, but says playing for the Braves may be his most impressive accomplishment to the fans back in Cairo.
"If we're talking about my high school coaches, I think winning the World Series is better," says Harris. "If we're talking about family, I think being here in Atlanta and playing for the Braves, the team my entire family grew up watching, I think that's more impressive."
Harris was called up from AAA Richmond in late April, and has been tearing it up since then, currently batting a scorching .398.
Harris says, "It's starting to heat up outside. You know I'm a Georgia boy, hopefully I can stay hot with the heat."
Harris' batting average in 35 games with the Braves is about 150 points higher than his career average.