Bryce Harper hit his 99th career home run off Miami Marlins' right-hander Bryan Morris in the seventh inning of the home opener on Thursday afternoon, sending a line drive off the facade of the second deck above Washington's bullpen in right field in Nationals Park. Home run No. 100 would put him in exclusive company in franchise history (2005-present), with only two players already on the list: Ryan Zimmerman (200) and Ian Desmond (110).
At 23 years and 176 days old, Harper, if he hits No.100 this afternoon, would join another fairly exclusive list as the eighth youngest player in baseball history to reach that milestone..
Only Mel Ott (22 years, 132 days), Tony Conigliaro (22 years, 197 days), Eddie Matthews (22 years, 292 days), Alex Rodriguez (23 years, 16 days), Andruw Jones (23 years, 62 days), Miguel Cabrera (23 years, 127 days) and Johnny Bench (23 years, 161 days) have reached the milestone at a younger age than Harper is now, as the Nationals noted in the Game Notes for the home opener against the Marlins.
No. 8 on that list is Albert Pujols, who hit his 100th home run at 23 years old and 185 days.
If they play today, a big IF given the weather forecast in the nation's capital, Harper will be facing Marlins' starter Tom Koehler, the right-hander he took deep three times in one game on May 6th of last season.
Harper took Koehler deep in each of his first three at bats that day, for his third, fourth and fifth home runs off Koehler in their respective careers, sending a 92 mph 0-1 fastball out to left in the bottom of the second, a 93 mph 0-1 fastball out to right in the third, and an 0-1 slider outside to right in the fifth.
"Of course you're not going to do that every single day," Harper told reporters that day.
"You're not going to go out there and hit three homers or whatever and drive in five. But that's the type of player I need to be."
"Definitely one of the better moments of my career," Harper said.
Will Harper hit No. 6 of his career off Koehler, home run No. 3 of the 2016 campaign and No. 100 of his career in his 514th game in the majors? We'll find out at 4:05 PM EDT... weather permitting.
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