In this series, I look at my first team set: 1991 Topps. This was the set I started my baseball card collection with.
My older brother was a big reason that I got into both of my major hobbies. He listened to bands like Metallica, Faith No More, Danzig, Alice in Chains, Megadeth, and White Zombie at a time when I was beginning to discover my own musical tastes. These bands were instrumental in me becoming a big metalhead, which I have continued to this day, even though he grew out of them. He also collected baseball cards for a few years prior to me getting into them. He got back into them as I was getting involved.
My first several packs were all 1991 Topps. My first two packs yielded Dennis Lamp, Tom Bolton, and Dana Kiecker. Even though I knew with 15 cards in a pack, I was not going to be getting Red Sox cards in every pack, it still bothered me that my third pack contained no Red Sox at all. Well my brother got the Harris card in the pack that he bought at the same time I bought mine. He offered to trade me his Harris for the checklist card I got in my pack. I never forgot that. We have had our problems over the years, but I still remember that day. It was my first ever trade.
Harris had a good year in 1990 as the third starter behind Roger Clemens and Mike Boddicker. He finished 13-9 with a 4.00 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 184.1 innings. It was the first year that he started more than half of the games he appeared in, starting 30 out of 34 games. For his first full season as a starter it was decent. He returned to the bullpen the next year.
Harris was one of my first unknown heroes, along with Jody Reed and Carlos Quintana, players that made an impact but were not superstars. I also always liked the fact that Harris was ambidextrous, like me.