I saw a photo of him in an old school MU sweatshirt sitting at the Cavs/Knicks game. It got me thinking if I was the school, I’d find a way to help him get his remaining credits so he can get his degree and be in our HOF. Maybe it’s been discussed before. I’m betting it has? Either way, good to see him. One of my favorite NBA players ever and not just because he went to MU and likely ate at Phan Shin on his recruiting trip.
He is my favorite Miami athlete of all time, and second only to Pete Rose as my favorite athlete of all time.
We agree to disagree about Pete. In 1985, I was a young lad and one Sunday morning, my family was having brunch at Perkin’s on Montgomery Road. Next door was a Porsche dealership. We were outside waiting for our table when in drove Pete in his red 911 Carara. My brother and I were so excited we asked dad if he could walk us over and get an autograph. When we did, he told us to F off. He said: “I don’t sign for free.” And my dad said “Mr. Rose, these are kids.” And he told my dad to F off.
Pete is no hero. Harp though is like ten men.
I’m sorry to hear that he treated you that way. Certainly his personal life leaves a lot to be desired, but he was my sports hero when I was a kid. I think most people feel the same way that you do about him.
I have several Pete stories, starting when his sister worked in my father’s dry cleaning business when she was in high school. But the best is my encounter with him at a national sporting goods trade show. I worked for a supplier in the industry for nearly 30 years and each year we attended and displayed our product at both of the large national shows. One year I saw that Pete would be signing autographs one afternoon at the Mizuno booth. I have a friend who vehemently hates Pete and I decided to get his autograph for her as a gag.
At the appointed hour I got in the line that had formed at the Mizuno booth. As I got closer to the table where Pete sat I could see that many people talked to him but he never looked up. There was a guy seated to his left who would slide a 4X6 card with Pete’s photo (in a Phillies uniform) to him. Pete would sign the card and slide it forward for the autograph seeker to pick up. A co-worker had come with me and I said to him “I’m going to get him to look up.”
When my turn came I said “Pete, I’ll bet we’re the only Western Hills grads in the building.” Without looking up he says “Bet we’re not” and slid my card to me. I could have been a classmate, a friend, an old neighbor, he didn’t care enough to raise his head.
He is his own worst enemy. That’s a shame.
That’s why I love Harp. Despite the fact that at one point in his life he was equally as famous, he seems like he never lost his grounding. I saw a great video of him working with kids at a basketball clinic a while back. Lemme see if I can find it.
MANY years ago I sat down with his Mom (work-related benefits). Ron was early in his Miami career at the time.
While I was talking to the coaches in the locker room post game, Ron picked our elementary aged son up and carried him around the locker room introducing him to other players. I am not certain who was smiling most, our son, Ron or me.
Rose is one guy I didn’t meet during my 16 seasons around the show. I am eternally grateful I never had the encounter. I heard numerous accounts from both ball players and fans about his consistent crude arrogance.
Several superstars I met were complete gentlemen - Drysdale, DiMaggio, Mays, Winfield and Spahn to name a few. Even Billy Martin, who had a fiery rep, was pleasant in social conversation around the yard and out in town.
Rose was in a league all his own.
That’s what I’m talking about! Harp is a HOF person let’s get him into our doggone HOF already. There has to be a way. Been too long.
Some former “old-time” Reds I dealt with who were worthy of bonding with were Vada Pinson, Bill Plummer, George Foster, Gary Nolan, and Milt Wilcox - and Sparky. Vada and Plum were exceptional human beings. Plum is still living. I never met Johnny Bench. Not all were superstars but all contributed mightily to the success of Cincinnati.
As to Harper, why not have the Board of Trustees award him with an Honorary Degree from Miami. There is a process for that:
Robe him up and get it done. Honorary degree and HOF recognition.
We finally have the program heading in the right direction again. Now would be a great time. Schedule a big name local like an X, UC, or UD for the occasion and pack the house. I’d fly back to see that kind of party.