As you may have heard, Washington Nationals super prospect Bryce Harper will make his major league debut on Saturday night against Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers in the second game of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Harper, the number one overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, doesn't turn 20 years old until October 16, and was by far the youngest player in Triple A this season. In fact, with a hat tip to the Youngest Player feature on Minor League Central, there is currently only one player younger than Harper in Double A (Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar) and just one player younger than Harper in advanced Class A (Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert).
The Dodgers are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium this season, and in its history has seen its share of great young players. Harper on Saturday will become the 44th player under 20 years old to play at Dodger Stadium, and the 16th player under 20 to make his debut here.
|Players Under 20 Years Old At Dodger Stadium|
|Bryce Harper||Washington Nationals||Saturday**||19 years, 195 days||TBD|
|Justin Upton||Arizona Diamondbacks||8/3/07||19 years, 343 days||3|
|Adrian Beltre||Dodgers||6/24/98**||19 years, 78 days||49|
|Edgar Renteria||Florida Marlins||7/30/96||19 years, 358 days||3|
|Karim Garcia||Dodgers||9/2/95**||19 years, 308 days||6|
|Dwight Gooden||New York Mets||5/11/84||19 years, 177 days||1|
|Gilberto Reyes||Dodgers||6/22/83||19 years, 194 days||10|
|Jose Oquendo||St. Louis Cardinals||6/2/83||19 years, 333 days||4|
|Fernando Valenzuela||Dodgers||9/19/80**||19 years, 323 days||6|
|Brian Greer||San Diego Padres||9/13/77**||18 years, 122 days||1|
|Rod Gilbreath||Atlanta Braves||9/8/72||19 years, 350 days||1|
|Don Gullett||Cincinnati Reds||8/8/70||19 years, 214 days||3|
|Cesar Cedeno||Houston Astros||6/29/70||19 years, 124 days||7|
|Bobby Valentine||Dodgers||9/2/69**||19 years, 112 days||3|
|Ted Simmons||St. Louis Cardinals||9/21/68**||19 years, 43 days||1|
|Dusty Baker||Atlanta Braves||9/14/68||19 years, 72 days||1|
|Gary Nolan||Cincinnati Reds||4/20/67||18 years, 328 days||2|
|Bobby Tolan||St. Louis Cardinals||9/24/65||19 years, 309 days||1|
|Norm Miller||Houston Astros||9/11/65**||19 years, 218 days||1|
|Don Young||Chicago Cubs||9/9/65**||19 years, 326 days||1|
|Ken Henderson||San Francisco Giants||9/6/65||19 years, 83 days||2|
|Catfish Hunter||Kansas City A's||9/4/65^||19 years, 149 days||1|
|Jim Palmer||Baltimore Orioles||6/6/65||19 years, 234 days||2|
|Tom Egan||California Angels
||6/5/65^||18 years, 361 days||10|
|Skip Lockwood||Kansas City A's||5/7/65^||18 years, 263 days||1|
|Larry Dierker||Houston Astros||10/4/64||18 years, 12 days||5|
|Rick Wise||Philadelphia Phillies||9/17/64||19 years, 4 days||1|
|Willie Crawford||Dodgers||9/16/64**||18 years, 9 days||34|
|Wally Bunker||Baltimore Orioles||8/5/64^||19 years, 193 days||1|
|Tony Horton||Boston Red Sox||7/31/64^**||19 years, 238 days||5|
|Dave Duncan||Kansas City A's||6/26/64^||18 years, 274 days||1|
|Tony Conigliaro||Boston Red Sox||6/1/64^||19 years, 146 days||4|
|Jerry Hinsley||New York Mets||5/20/64||19 years, 41 days||1|
|Derrell Griffith||Dodgers||9/26/63**||19 years, 288 days||1|
|Tony LaRussa||Kansas City A's||5/26/63^||18 years, 234 days||4|
|Ed Kranepool||New York Mets||5/19/63||18 years, 192 days
|Dick Calmus||Dodgers||4/22/63**||19 years, 105 days||11|
|Chris Zachary||Houston Colt 45s
||4/21/63||19 years, 63 days||2|
|Rusty Staub||Houston Colt 45s||4/20/63||19 years, 19 days||8|
|Brock Davis||Houston Colt 45s||4/20/63||19 years, 183 days||4|
|Dick Simpson||Los Angeles Angels||9/21/62^**||19 years, 55 days||3|
|Ed Kirkpatrick||Los Angeles Angels||9/13/62^**||17 years, 340 days||57|
|Sam McDowell||Cleveland Indians||4/26/62^||19 years, 217 days||2|
|Joe Moeller||Dodgers||4/12/62**||19 years, 56 days||9|
|*Date of earliest game
Remember, the Angels played their home games at Dodger Stadium from 1962-1965, and the 1960s were a time when 18 and 19-year olds were given room to succeed. Former Halos outfielder and catcher Ed Kirkpatrick is the youngest to play at Dodger Stadium, at 17 years, 340 days in 1962.
A whopping 31 of the 43 players under 20 to play at Dodger Stadium did so in the first eight years of the stadium, including poor Don Young, who went 0-for-3 in his major league debut against Sandy Koufax on September 9, 1965. But Young had company, as his Cubs teammates combined to go 0-for-24, and the leadoff man Young didn't get a fourth plate appearance even though he played the entire game.
Here's a look at the 15 players under 20 to make their debut at Dodger Stadium, and how they fared, to see what Harper is up against:
|MLB Debuts Under 20 Years Old At Dodger Stadium|
|Totals||24||2||6||2||2 BB, 2B|
Of the 15 debuts, only three were pitchers. Valenzuela (three innings) and Calmus (one inning) each pitched scoreless ball, and while Moeller allowed three runs in four innings he picked up the first save by a Dodger at Dodger Stadium.
Of the remaining 12 debuts, just four of the position players started their MLB debut at Dodger Stadium: Adrian Beltre, Ted Simmons, Don Young, Tony Horton. Harper really is entering rarefied air.