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Bryce Harper continues march toward teenage home run record

September 15, 2012|By Dan Loumena
  • Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, 19, is congratulated by third base coach Bo Porter after hitting his 19th home run of the season Friday night in Atlanta.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, 19, is congratulated by third base… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )

Bryce Harper, the 19-year-old rookie outfielder for the Washington Nationals, continues his march toward the record for the most home runs in a season by a teenager in the major leagues after hitting his 19th on Friday night.

Harper, possibly the most-hyped player to come along since Ken Griffey Jr. more than two decades ago, drove in the Nationals' only run in a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves with a homer into the left-field stands in the sixth inning.

The opposite-field shot moved him into second place overall and No. 1 all-time among National Leaguers, ahead of New York Giants slugger Mel Ott, who hit 18 homers as a 19-year-old in 1928, his third season in the majors.

Harper, who gave up his senior season of high school to play at the junior college level, trails only Tony Conigliaro, who hit 24 home runs as a 19-year-old rookie with the Boston Red Sox in 1964.

Conigliaro, who was 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, finished with a .290 batting average and drove in 52 runs in 117 games before breaking an arm late in the season. Conigliaro, who would later play for the Angels, was best known for getting beaned with a pitch in 1967 and missing the entire 1968 season. He played only eight seasons as he struggled to return to form.

Ott, who was only 5-9 and 170 pounds, batted .322 with 77 RBIs in 124 games. He went on to hit 511 home runs in a 22-year career.

Harper, who is 6-3 and 215, has batted .265 with 50 RBIs in 124 games this season.


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