Bryce Harper, Outfielder, Washington DC
Reaching For The Top
Copywriter, T. Scharfenberg | Photographer, M. Krambs | Videographer, C. Wild
Since he was five or six years old, Bryce Harper has wanted to be a professional athlete. Harper talks about working hard with his hero, his dad.Now, at just 19 years old baseball's phenom has arrived.
In 2008 and 2009, while in high school, Harper generated major buzz by dominating the competition. His impressive stats and earth-shattering home runs have garnered national attention. At a 2009 home run derby in Tampa Bay, Bryce put on a show, hitting a bunch of dingers — including a monumental 502-foot bomb which was the longest ever hit at Tropicana Field. In hopes of entering the MLB draft, Bryce left high school early, earned his GED and went on to play junior college ball at the College of Southern Nevada where he hit .442 with 29 homers and 89 RBIs. Then, in June of 2010, the Nationals selected him first overall and subsequently signed him to a reported five-year, $9.9 million deal. Not bad for an 17-year old at the time, right?
His skills at such a young age have drawn comparisons to stars Ken Griffey, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, who were both drafted as teenagers. Along with comparisons to some of the biggest sports celebrities of all time comes an immense amount of media attention, pressure and hype. When asked about all this, Bryce says, "Right now the hype's pretty real. Nothing's really changed. It just keeps coming. The sky's the limit and I'm just going to keep going till I get to the top."
So far he's lived up to that hype, excelling at every level. Last year in the Arizona Fall League, Harper batted .333 with six homers in 93 at-bats. Now he'll be trying his hand in the big leagues, where he'll compete for a starting job in the Nationals' outfield. When it comes to the game of baseball, Bryce is extremely confident and he does things the right way. When talking about baseball, he discusses the aforementioned superstar by saying, "Baseball's always been fun. They called Ken Griffey, Jr. "The Kid" for a reason. He loved to smile, loved to play the game of baseball and had a blast doing it and everybody out there has to have a blast doing it."
We talked to Bryce at the end of 2011 at the Eastbay Cover shoot where he was decked out in Under Armour gear. In April of last year Bryce signed with Under Armour and is proud to be part of the UA family. When talking about the product he'll wear this year he says he really likes the lightweight Under Armour cleats, compression gear and batting gloves that wick away moisture. When asked what kids should look for when it comes to to gear, Bryce suggests finding baseball equipment that feels good. "Make sure you're comfortable and it looks good." He also mentioned some simple advice for young athletes, "Go out there have fun, play hard, try to be the best you can be."
Bryce gracing the cover of Eastbay is something that he thought of when he was a kid. He says, "I swear Eastbay had all the old-school stuff that was really comfortable. Eastbay had all the stuff that was good back in the day. Being able to further my relationship with Eastbay and being able to get on the cover is a great accomplishment and I'm very thankful for it. I think it's huge."
Look for the Bryce Harper issue of the Eastbay catalog to hit your mailbox soon. Check out Under Armour here at Eastbay and keep an eye out for Bryce on the field where he is expected reach the major leagues this season.
Bryce grew up playing basketball, baseball and football- and he loved all of them. He started dreaming of being a professional athlete, in any sport, by the age of six. The Washington Nationals made his dream come true in 2010, drafting him in the first round. But that doesn't mean he's stopped working. His new goal? "I really want to bring a world title to D.C. That's the biggest thing."
Latest Athlete Spotlights