It's been six years since Bryce Harper announced his arrival with his first career homer
Few in big league history have entered the Majors with more fanfare than Bryce Harper. You can probably recite the story by now: cover of Sports Illustrated at 16, junior college at 17 (he wanted more experience with wooden bats), numbers so prodigious in his only season -- .443/.526/.987 (!) with 31 homers and 98 RBIs in 66 games -- that the Nationals didn't think twice about taking him No. 1 overall in the 2010 Draft. Less than two years later, he was in the big leagues.
Given all those expectations, and the superstar Bryce has become in the years since, it's easy to assume that it was all smooth sailing. But things were a little bumpy early on: Harper hit .243 in a brief stint at Triple-A to start the year, then slashed just .213/.309/.340 over his first 13 games in the Majors.
The pressure started to build. Had the Nats promoted him too aggressively? Was Baseball's LeBron not all he was cracked up to be? And then, with one swing against the Padres on May 14, he put everybody on notice:
Harper took a breaking ball from San Diego starter
Just how big of a deal was that dinger? Consider that play-by-play man Bob Carpenter called it "the first of several hundred, we hope." Lofty expectations, but if anybody can match them, it's probably Bryce Harper.