DENVER (CBS4) – Robert Harmon might be having the most productive year at Coors Field this season.
On opening day Harmon caught a home run off the bat of Justin Morneau, the first of 11 home runs Harmon has collected so far.
His list this year includes in order: Corey Dickerson, Michael McKenry, Joc Pederson, Wilin Rosario, Ben Paulson, Adam Lind, Nolan Arenado, Adam Lind, Troy Tulowitzki and Drew Stubbs.
“I know where the ball is going to be,” explains Harmon. “So I will back people up and a lot of times people will drop the baseball.”
Harmon has had a few milestones this year: Arenado’s home run on June 23rd was Harmon’s 50th, and Tulowitzki and Stubbs’ home runs came in the same game on July 12th, the first time Harmon caught two in one game.
“I don’t know any other sport that you are part of the game,” said Harmon. “And for that brief moment you have 30 to 40,000 people wanting to be you,” he said.
Harmon, 66, grew up a Minnesota Twins fan, but after moving to Colorado in the 1980’s became a Rockies fan when the team debuted in 1993.
Harmon went to the first Coors Field game in 1995, and after he retired he became a season ticket holder about a decade ago.
“I don’t have a life, this is it,” Harmon says on his passion for catching home runs. “You can go fishing or whatever, but I have loved baseball all my life.”
Harmon can’t recall all of his home run catches, but he knows his most memorable: a Scott Rolen home run for the Reds in 2012. Where Harmon tripped, but still caught the ball. The play was shown on ESPN Sportscenter and Harmon got a new glove out of it.
“Carlos Gonzalez was right there (in the outfield) and saw me make the catch, and later he came over to me and said if you are going to make catches like that I want you to make them with my glove,” Harmon says, showing off the glove Gonzalez gave him. “That’s my most prized possession.”
And then, there was the one that wasn’t.
In 2007, Barry Bonds hit home run #762 and Harmon was right there when it cleared the wall.
“I saw a ball go this way so I dove in and grabbed it,” Harmon said.
It turned out to be Bond’s final career home run, but it also turned out the ball Harmon grabbed wasn’t the one Bonds hit.
“If you know baseball you know what a game ball and practice ball look like,” Harmon explains. “And when I finally looked at the ball, I went ‘oh shoot.’ And the cop came over and I said ‘nope it’s not it, I don’t know where this ball came from but this ain’t it.”
What happened was Harmon had a batting practice ball that fell from someone’s glove. Still quite the story to tell and he still has plenty of souvenirs to one day pass on.
“I feel sorry for my grandkids, some people give them money, mine will just get a lot of baseballs,” he said.
(Dan Sauvageau is the unofficial Coors Field leader, with over 90 home run balls collected.)