Last Sunday, Okeechobee’s Kutter Crawford became the 2nd alumni from OHS to pitch in the Major Leagues. The first was 1982 Graduate Gene Harris. Harris pitched in the majors in parts of six seasons from 1989 to 1995 for the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles.
After playing just one year of high school football for the Brahmans, Harris was offered a scholarship to play both football and baseball at Tulane University. When he got there, he was told to focus on football for the first two seasons. He wasn’t able to play baseball until his junior season. Harris pitched well enough to get drafted by the Montreal Expos.
Harris’s major league debut was against the New York Mets in 1989 and he retired the side in order.
When Harris heard that Crawford was making his MLB debut making him just the 2nd player from Okeechobee to do so, Harris said he felt very proud and was rooting for him. He also said that if Crawford continues to trust in his pitches, listens to his coaches and his catcher that he will do well.
Harris named Barry Bonds as the scariest hitter he faced and that his most memorable moment was being a member of the Baltimore Orioles the year Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-games played streak in September of 1995.
Harris now lives in the Ft Lauderdale area and coaches at a baseball academy.
Listen to the interview by clicking the link below. Harris talks about his career as well as his time at Okeechobee High School.