Harris’ Miracles Baseball Academy teaches youngsters about more than just baseball
Whatever is going on in David Harris’ life, he knows he has a place to go to work on his swing.
His father started and operates Miracles Baseball Academy, a Christian-based, nonprofit organization in Houston.
“It is place to go to get a lot of work in,” the Navarro sophomore said. “Having my dad and David Clyde there, it’s like a home. I can go there anytime I want. I have a key. Say it’s 12 o’clock at night, I can go and get some work in.
“I’ve learned you’ve got to be hungry for the sport. I’ve learned you’ve got to be attentive, aggressive and animal-like.”
Mike Harris started Miracles Baseball Academy in 1999 after demands of a potential front office job in the major leagues led to his divorce.
He played professional baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox organizations and reached Class AAA before a back injury ended his career in 1986.
He was a three-time minor league All-Star.
Mike remained in baseball after his playing career, becoming a pro scout in 1993 for two years, then landed a coaching job in the minor leagues.
He was being groomed for a front office job with the St. Louis Cardinals, but Harris realized he needed to get out of professional baseball to save his marriage.
“I resigned because I was losing my family,” he said. “When I resigned I had a lot of close friends that said, ‘Mike, you’re an idiot. Where you are going with all your credentials, you’re right in there,’ but I had to do what God wanted me to do.
“It was a heart- (and) gut-wrenching decision. I didn’t want to do it, but I listened to my elders and various others. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had a vision and Miracle Baseball came out of it.”
Since then, more than 250 players in the program have gone on to play college baseball, 11 have made the professional ranks and three have seen time in the major leagues.
After being divorced for four years, Harris, who is a licensed youth minister with a degree in pastoral studies, remarried his wife of 16 years. Now, they are marriage counselors at two churches and to friends around the country.
The academy is also doing well.
It has an indoor baseball and softball facility and conducts 20-plus camps and clinics each year. It produces several fall and summer teams from ages 12 to 18.
“Our mission statement is creating miracles in life through character development in baseball and softball,” Mike said. “Our motto is developing you better to be your best both on and off the field.”
Former major league pitcher Clyde coaches one of the under-18 teams and is heavily involved with the academy. Clyde went from high school to the major leagues and was dubbed the next Sandy Koufax.
Although families have to pay to receive Miracle Academy instruction, the Academy offers sponsorships for those in need. Donations are accepted for sponsorship programs and are tax-deductible.
“We do have sponsors for kids that can’t afford it,” Mike Harris said. “We have one kid, mom is a school teacher and dad is unemployed. We have two or three of those. It’s not just minority kids.”
Players in the academy don’t just practice and play games, they participate in Christian training and do community service work. For example, they’ve helped with hurricane relief efforts.
The academy helped David become a college player. He has signed to play at NCAA Division I Lamar (Texas) University next season, along with another Miracles Academy product, Jonathan Dziedzic and Navarro teammate Garrett Autrey.
“He’s learned the more wood you put on the fire, the more the fire burns,” Mike said. “He would give it his all, he would give up other things so he can swing the wood one day.”