He is a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Navy Reserves and in your St. Louis Cardinals program guide his wears the number 40 . His name is Mitch Harris, the first graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to play a major league baseball game in almost 100 years when he pitched two scoreless innings in relief of an injured Adam Wainwright.
Mitch, 29, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 2008 amateur draft. Due to a 5-year commitment to the Navy he had to put any aspirations to play major league baseball on hold. During his time on active duty, Harris went on deployments to the Persian Gulf, Russia and drug operations in South America. During his time in the Navy, Mitch twice petitioned the Navy for his early released and was denied both times.
After his 5-year commitment was up Mitch Harris went into the Naval Reserves and he resumed his baseball career starting with the Cardinals short-season State College Spikes going 4-1 with a 0,81 ERA in 2013. In 2014, Mitch moved on to Advanced-A Palm Beach Cardinals pitching in 8 games before moving up to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. Harris did pitch in one Triple-A game for the Memphis Redbirds and then went to the Arizona Fall League. In 2015, Mitch was sent to the Memphis Redbirds and was eventually called up after posting 2 saves in four games with a 2.45 era.
The big moment came and the first batter Harris faced, Adam Lind, struck out. He was given the ball he used to strikeout Lind for a memento. Mitch finished the game with three strikeouts.
What a feel good story!!