Sailors prospect Harry Ford gives back to the community

SEATTLE — Harry Ford is already showing maturity beyond his years, both on and off the field, after just one professional season in the Mariners farm system.

At the end of the 2022 season, the 19-year-old wide receiver, ranked Seattle’s No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was awarded the Alvin Davis “Mr. Mariner,” awarded annually to the minor league player who best exemplifies exemplary playing and leadership skills at the ballpark and in the community. Davis serves as a special assignment instructor for the club and still has an imprint, especially on its minor leaguers.

And with the backdrop of Thanksgiving this week, Ford had a thoughtful perspective.

“It was amazing, awesome,” Ford said. “Just being around Alvin Davis all year, and getting to know the type of person and the type of character he has and his values ​​and beliefs are – being compared to someone like that is an absolute honour.”

Ford has spent every Saturday for the past few weeks at the Mariners high performance camp with his Minor League teammates spearheading local charity efforts near the club’s spring training facility in Arizona. Some days it’s hitting the road at the nearby food bank. Others travel to baseball events to observe, coach or play with children with special needs.

During the regular season at Low-A Modesto, Ford and his teammates hosted the local Little League Challenger program, which supports people with physical and intellectual challenges.

“It’s just about doing what we can to let people know we care about them,” Ford said. “We want to see other people succeed than ourselves, and that’s something that’s been very important to the Mariners as a total group.”

Seattle’s 2021 first-round pick with the No. 12 overall pick, Ford had one of the most productive seasons in the system in 22, slashing .274 / .425 / .438 (.863 OPS) with 11 homers, 23 doubles, four triples, 89 runs scored, 65 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 104 games, all in Modesto. His .425 on-base percentage was the 10th-highest among all minor full-season players this season.

At 5-foot-10, 200 pounds and in a prime position, he was also touted as the club’s most athletic prospect. The Mariners have plenty to dream about in what could be a rapid rise to the Majors. But just as much, Ford is grounded in its efforts to give back.

“Playing on a team and knowing how much teamwork comes into play, I think it’s just something that’s been instilled in all of us, from our childhood since our childhood, that it’s important to give back to the community,” Ford said.

The Atlanta-area native credits his mother, Deborah, for inspiring him to fit into the community. His family hosted four foreign students during his teenage years — one from Germany and Argentina and two from Brazil — and he graduated from North Cobb High School (Kennesaw, Georgia), which has a 67% minority enrollment, according to Public. School review.

Such eclectic environments have allowed Ford to appreciate people from all walks of life – which can be especially important in baseball and has come to the fore this season.

“The love of baseball was something a little different, the moment that really brought us all together,” Ford said. “I’ve made some friends that I know will last a lifetime and I have such a close bond with those guys which is just amazing. It’s a truly amazing experience day in and day out.

Ford received the Mr. Mariner award, but he is quick to thank his teammates for their efforts, as well as Davis for leading the way and Dan Wilson, a special assistant in player development and member of the Mariners Hall of Fame. , which leads many of these community efforts.

“During the season, I think our job is really to encourage guys to do that,” Wilson said. “Encourage as many guys as possible to get involved, and it usually works out really, really well.”

As the Mariners emerge from their rebuild and enter a competitive window — with plenty more talent, like Ford, on the way — preparing them for the big leagues isn’t just about what they’ll see on the field, but also how they can help away from it.

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