December 23, 2004
December 23, 2004 Negro League Baseball News
Wilmer Harris passes away...
By Bert Orlitzky, NLBPA.com webmaster
It is with deep sadness that I must report the news that Wilmer Harris passed away on Thursday, December 23, 2004. Mr. Harris was a member of the NLBPA Board of Directors and one of five surviving members of the Negro League Philadelphia Stars.
Born in Philadelphia, he attended Central High School for Boys, graduating in 1941. He was captain of the school's baseball and basketball teams, and also played for the Passon Stars in the Fairmount Park League, which won four straight championships.
He joined the Philadelphia Stars in 1945 and played his first game against Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Monarchs before 40,000 fans at Yankee Stadium. Later that year, he struck out a rookie named Jackie Robinson, who was pinch-hitting for the Monarchs.
In 1946, pitching against the Newark (N.J.) Eagles, Harris struck out in order, with the bases loaded, three of the Negro League's greatest hitters - Larry Doby, Monte Pearson and Monte Irvin - at Connie Mack Stadium.
In 1947, after the Major League season was over, he played for the Jackie Robinson All-Stars, composed of Robinson and other stars of the Negro League. He ended his career with the Stars in 1952, with a career total of 120 wins and 45 losses. He also played winter baseball in the late '40s and early '50s in Panama, Venezuela and Santo Domingo.
Please keep Wilmer and his family in your prayers. He was loved by so many and made a real difference in the world. He will be sorely missed!