By Chris Harms
“You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” – Jim Bouton
Baseball has been so instrumental to us here on the Farm that it only seems right we pay homage to it. Some things just go together, and the Harms Family and Baseball is one of them.
(And in case you didn’t know by now, we are more than a farm.)
Although we may not have the functioning “Baseball Barn” we once had, the game is still very much a major part in our daily lives. In fact, both my brother Casey and I serve as coaches for professional baseball organizations, him with the Pittsburgh Pirates and me with the San Francisco Giants.
My brother and I were destined to play baseball. Before we were even old enough to swing a bat, my grandfather spent a week at our house painting a mural on our bedroom wall depicting a scene from the legendary poem “Casey at the Bat.” The artwork spans from wall to wall, floor to ceiling, and is complete with his thumb print (as well as mine and Casey’s handprint) in the lower right. I’d spend hours lying on my bed, staring at the painting, playing out the scene in my head. It’s such a cool part of the house that I always make sure to show it to anyone who comes over for a visit.
My dad taught Casey and I how to play at a very early age, and when we were old enough, signed us up at Carmichael Little League where he would help coach our teams. Prior to his life as a father, teacher, and farmer, my dad was a baseball player. He played catcher all the way through junior college, where he went on to win a championship with Butte College before he conceded his dreams of making the major leagues and headed up to Washington to work on the Farm.
While my brother and I were at Del Campo High School, my dad took great care of the baseball fields. He’d spend hours mowing, maintaining, and manicuring both diamonds in the back of DC. He took such pride in those fields, and other than the occasional compliments from fellow parents, I never felt he truly got the recognition he deserved. He put the same care into “The Yard” that you now see in his yard. Of course, he would always find time to throw batting practice to me in the cages (which he helped build there). Not sure I missed a day hitting with him during my junior and senior year. Rain or shine, there was always a good chance you could count on us being there.
He eventually constructed a batting cage of our own on what is now the Farm, when I was a sophomore and my brother a senior. An ingenious design, the pitching machine would be stored in the garage (AKA the “Barn”), but with the cage set up on the driveway so that all we had to do was open the door and flip the switch whenever we wanted to hit. We’d often have friends over to hit, and on occasion, even host most of the team for batting practice sessions.
Casey and I would go on to play at Occidental College in Los Angeles and the Baseball Barn would be no more. However, its legacy will live on forever.
This shirt, a combination of art from grandpa, the game of baseball, and the Farm, symbolizes our deep love for the game and all the valuable lessons it has taught us over the years. Click here to shop now.
Your grandfather gave me my first teaching job at Paradise Elementary School. The staff he hired was exemplary to say the least. I played softball against your father and I can attest to his hitting ability. Ask him about playing the Kink Brothers, a group of hippies who loved competitive ball. I moved to Sac after the Camp Fire and have reunited with Ellis.
Your family has always been open and generous which I’m sure you can concur.
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