Chad Harville is the sad but very unoriginal story of an incredible talent that was just mercilessly ravaged by injuries.
After a stellar collegiate career with the University of Memphis, the Oakland Athletics selected Harville in the second round of the 1997 draft and scouts raved about his potential in the back end of a Major League bullpen.
Harville possessed two great weapons for a potential future closer: a plus fastball in the upper 90’s and a strong slider upper 80’s slider he could pair it with. Harville surged through the minors and made his big league debut with the A’s in 1999, but the results were lackluster and he quickly found himself back in Triple-A.
Unfortunately, along with poor performance, this is when Harville started to encounter his first battles with the injury bug.
During spring training in 2001, Harville suffered a strained rotator cuff that cost him quite a bit of time and some velocity on his fastball. However, during the rehab process, Harville began experimenting with his delivery and repertoire to make him more of a dynamic pitcher and the results were fantastic, as Baseball America recognized him as the third-best prospect in Oakland’s system.
Injuries once again came into play against Harville in 2002. He was finally healthy in 2003 but dealt with command issues that inflated his numbers. The Athletics finally cut ties with Harville early on in the 2004 season, as they traded him to the Houston Astros for Kirk Saarloos.
After spending the next 16 months with the Astros, Harville was sent to the Boston Red Sox, with whom he allowed five runs over the eight appearances he made for them.
He became a free agent for the first time following the completion of the 2005 season and would eventually sign a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Harville split the 2006 season between Triple-A Durham and Tampa Bay with not so amazing results at either stop. He made his Devil Rays debut in early May and stuck in the Majors until August 12, when he made what turned out to be the last appearance of his career in the Major Leagues, poetically against the Oakland Athletics.
In 2007, Harville was picked up by the Arizona Diamondbacks and spent the entire season in Triple-A. Following the season, he retired from professional baseball.
Since retiring, Harville has taken to coaching and, along with former Major Leauger Stubby Clapp, has established the Elite Sports Academy in Savannah, Tennessee.