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Victoria's Rich Harden to join Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame


Victoria man Rich Harden, a former major league starting pitcher mostly known for playing for the Oakland A’s, will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this year.

"It’s crazy," Harden says about getting the call that he was going to be inducted. "I thought about it before and thought maybe sometime it might happen, but to actually get that call, it’s surreal."

Throughout his career, the hard-throwing right-hander gave opposing batters headaches with his pitching arsenal and was known for his strike outs. He also had stints with the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.

Harden graduated from Claremont Secondary School in Saanich, B.C., and was a product of the Layritz Little League. He then honed his pitching skills with the Victoria Mariners of the B.C. Premier Baseball League.

Harden says he had a great experience growing up in Victoria and playing baseball.

"I just really enjoyed playing the game and having fun and I'm so fortunate to have that as a kid," he told CTV News.

He’d like to thank all the family, friends, teachers and coaches who helped him along his journey to the big leagues.

"I got to play a game for a living. It’s pretty crazy that I got to do that, but along the way there’s so many people who supported me and helped me," he said. 

On a baseball scholarship, Harden headed south and attended Central Arizona College where he led all Division 1 pitchers and was selected All Conference.

He was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 1999 MLB Draft in the 38th round but Harden declined to sign. The next year he re-entered the draft and was selected in the 17th round by the Oakland A’s and later signed with the club in May 2001.

Harden aced his way through the minor league ranks and made his professional debut on July 21, 2003, in a win against the Kanas City Royals.

He was a prominent fixture in the A’s rotation for several years before being traded to the Chicago Cubs in July 2008. Injuries plagued his major league career and Harden's final two seasons were with the Texas Rangers in 2010 before ending his career back with the A’s in 2011.

Harden finished with nine major seasons, had a 59-38 record with a 3.76 earned run average (ERA) in 170 appearances. His 949 strikeouts and 17.9 wins above replacement (WAR) places him sixth among Canada's big league pitchers of all time.

Harden will be inducted with former Montreal Expos pitcher Denis Boucher, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jesse Barfield and long-time Manitoba baseball coach Joe Wiwchar into the hall of fame this year.

The 2023 class will be inducted at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Marys, Ont., on June 17.

Harden's full biography can be found at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame website.

Today, Harden lives in Minnesota with his family where he's coaching his son's team as well as volunteering his time hosting pitching clinics and lessons for different teams and organizations.

"It’s nice to be able to pass that down to these kids and grow that love for the game," he said. Top Stories

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