Sports

Harper Exchanged Jerseys with Stan Musial Before He Died

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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo presents Bryce Harper his All-Star jersey during a ceremony before a game against the Colorado Rockies at Nationals Park.  (credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo presents Bryce Harper his All-Star jersey during a ceremony before a game against the Colorado Rockies at Nationals Park. (credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Holden & Danny Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier
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Bryce Harper was one of the many Nationals stars to shine his light on NatsFest Saturday and pay a visit to 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny, where he shared the very enviable stories of being able to exchange words, and memorabilia, with some baseball legends.

With the acquisition of Denard Span, Harper – who played center field last season – is expected to shift to one of the corner outfield positions for the 2013 season. He was asked whether he’s been informed if he’ll be in left or right.

“I play center, sorry Denard,” Harper joked. “They haven’t really talked to me about it. I would think left field.”

One week prior to NatsFest, baseball suffered a devastating loss with the passing of one of the all-time greats in Stan Musial, at age 92. Although there was roughly 73 years between him and Harper, apparently there was a mutual admiration.

“He asked me for a jersey last year,” Harper said. “I was lucky enough to get one back from him. What a tough loss for the baseball world.”

Shocked by the revelation that a Hall of Famer – one of the most dominant hitters to ever play the game of baseball – would want the jersey of a 19-year-old kid, the guys asked Harper how a generational exchange of that magnitude was arranged, and what it must have felt like.

“They just said ‘Hey, we need a jersey signed’ and I said ‘Ok, to who?’ and they said (Musial) and …wow.”

Enough said.

Harper revealed he also had the opportunity to meet a more recent baseball icon, one perhaps more comparable to Harper’s introduction to Major League Baseball, in Ken Griffey Jr.

“It was this past year in Spring Training,” Harper said. “It was really cool to be able to ask him some questions about his first year in the big leagues and being up there at 19.”

“He said don’t change. Just do the things you do and make sure your team wins.”

He hasn’t yet, however, had the chance to meet another present-day icon; quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III.

“First of all, I like his socks,” Harper said. “Every Sunday, I wore his Adidas socks. I’d wear them to church. He can do everything Michael Vick can do and Tom Brady can do.”

Harper understood Griffin’s decision to push his knee to it’s absolute threshold in Washington’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

“He’s the captain of that team. I would have done the same thing,” Harper said. “He wanted that game so bad. If I’m in Game 5 of the division series and I’m trying to win this game, I’m playing with a broken hand or a broken arm or anything I can do to help my team.”

Per usual, Harper kept his personal goals for the upcoming baseball season closely guarded by putting team goals ahead of his own.

“I write down a certain amount of goals every single year and try to exceed that. Hopefully if I exceed those, we’re winning at the same time. I want to win.”

And in case you were wondering, two very specific words also left his mouth:

World Series.

Follow Holden & Danny on Twitter.

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