Tuesday, February 11, 2014

#642 - Terry Harmon

Next up is Terry Harmon, who looks a little glum at Shea Terry had nine Topps cards during his career and in seven of them – he had a big smile in ’73 and kind of one in ’77 – he was super serious. His at bats and his average declined a bit in ’73 so maybe that explains the expression on his card; but his defense was at its norm high achievement-wise. If he had any forecasting abilities when this photo was shot, his look to the very near future may have caused some concern. In ’74 each of the three positions occupied by Terry were handled by regulars – Dave Cash at second; Larry Bowa at short, and Mike Schmidt at third – who each played in every game in ’74. Poor Terry saw action in only 26 innings that year as a result and he would never get over 100 at bats in a season again. Still, he put in a pretty good run for an infield back-up guy and he would use that acquired profile to leverage a longer run elsewhere once done. He just wasn’t up to putting his TV face on any of his cards yet.

Terry Harmon, like the subject of the last post, was born and raised in Ohio and then attended college there. Unlike Chuck Brinkman, though, Terry has a more fully-bodied bio. A big three sport athlete in his Toledo high school, he went to Ohio University after he graduated in ’62 and his first varsity baseball year in ’64 hit .420 followed by a .378 in ’65, both years leading his team to conference titles. The Phillies then drafted him following his junior year, but on the advice of his college coach Terry held out for more money and that summer hit .322 while playing for a local semi-pro team. He signed shortly thereafter and looked pretty good the next year as he kicked off with a .289 season in A ball while playing shortstop. He remained at that level and position the next year where his average slipped to .241 but his OBA wasn’t too bad at .342 and he snuck in a couple defensive innings in Philly that summer. In ’68 he moved up to Triple A where he added some work at second and raised his average to .257 but missed over two months to a separated shoulder. But he did good enough to get promoted for good – except for a short stint in autumn IL ball in ’69.

By the late Sixties the Phillies had descended to the bottom half of the new NL East division. Dick Allen was still smacking the crap out of the ball but nobody else was and Philadelphia was looking to replace its aging – and troubled – stars with some home grown new blood. Veteran shortstop Bobby Wine had just been sent to Montreal when Harmon was called up to spell new kid Don Money at short and older guy Cookie Rojas at second. Terry turned in some nice D at both positions his rookie year and did OK at the plate for a middle infielder back then. Then in ’70 the infild got younger as Money was moved to third and Rojas was sent to St. Louis to make way for rookies Larry Bowa and Denny Doyle, respectively. Bowa was always an innings hog so Terry’s plate time declined a bunch as he continued to play mostly at short. But the next year between the trade of veteran utility guy Tony Taylor to Detroit and the tendency of Doyle to be a bit less sturdy than his successor – Cash – at second, Terry got a lot more at bats as his primary position moved to second. That season he set a record with 18 chances there in one game. In ’72 he amped things up by adding 80 points to his average and turned in a real nice .372 OBA which may explain that big smile on his ’73 card. After the step back in ’73 offensively and the 15 at bat season the next year he got more work in ’75 when Bowa was hurt for a brief spell, though his average stayed below .200. In ’76 he hit .295 in 61 at bats and in ’77 moved back to filling in at second after Cash left to go to Montreal as a free agent. That was Terry’s final season and he finished with a .233 average. He scored a run as a pinch runner in his only post-season appearance and hit .259 in the minors.

As noted above Harmon remained in front of the camera as a pitch guy for various products, first on the big Philly Prism cable channel and then went national on QVC, where he specialized in selling jewelry. He’s been retired in southern Jersey for a couple years now.

Again we get another batch of star bullets with defensive props. It looks like Terry could have had another one for his excellent college stats. Hunting in central and southern Jersey back in the Seventies must have been a little nasty.

Watergate is all done so all that’s left is the hook-up:

1. Harmon and Dick Allen ’67, 69, and ’75-’76 Phillies;
2. Allen and Chuck Brinkman ’72 to ’74 White Sox.

Winter break is up and so is a team card so the next post won’t be for a bit.

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