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B.C.-born major-league pitcher Rich Harden headed to Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Former Oakland Athletic ranks sixth all-time among Canadian big league pitchers
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Rich Harden’s 949 strikeouts and 17.9 WAR rank sixth all-time among Canadian big league pitchers. (Courtesy of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame)

Victoria-born pitcher Rich Harden will soon be in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Harden will be inducted in St. Marys, Ont. on June 17.

“I was at a loss for words,” said Harden. “I am proud and honoured to have my name added to a list that includes so many great people who have had such a positive impact on baseball in Canada. I’m so grateful to all the people who helped and supported me along the way.”

Harden played in the Layritz Little League and with the Victoria Mariners of the BC Premier Baseball League before being drafted in the 38th round of the 1999 MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners. He declined to sign with the Mariners and entered the draft again in 2000. The Oakland Athletics drafted Harden in the 17th round.

Before signing with Oakland, he had an impressive season with Central Arizona College, going 11-2 and striking out 127 batters.

Harden began his professional career with the Class A Short Season Vancouver Canadians in 2001 and finished with a 3.39 ERA. He improved the following season, coming away with a 2.94 ERA in 28 starts between High-A and Double-A.

July 21, 2003 was Harden’s major league debut, where he allowed only one run and four hits in seven innings, leading the Athletics to 6-1 win against the Kansas City Royals.

Harden later played for the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers and finished with a 59-38 record and a 3.76 ERA in 170 appearances in the majors. His 949 strikeouts and 17.9 WAR rank sixth all-time among Canadian big league pitchers.

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