Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper will be the first to admit he owes a lot to his dad. He’s said as much over his career, crediting his pops for instilling him with a hard work ethic and a desire to succeed. When Harper competed in the Home Run Derby, he made sure his father would be the one throwing him the ball.
Harper’s admiration for his father is already pretty well known, but he spread his message even further on Father’s Day. As a tribute to the man who raised him, Harper wore eye black with a special message to his dad.
Under his right eye, Harper’s eye black had a heart emoji and the word “my.” Under his left, the word “dad.” Put that together, and you get “love my dad.”
Maybe that’s not exactly how the heart emoji translates, but you get the message.
Harper’s father, Ron, works with iron, tying rebar. It’s tough manual labor. Bryce saw how hard his father had to work, and that pushed him to practice and train at his craft every day. MLB.com did a short feature on the relationship between the two in 2013.
On top of the eye black message, Harper also wrote a tribute to his dad on Instagram.
Happy Birthday to the man I call Pops! Can’t thank him for everything he has done and still does on a daily basis for me..From waking up at 3am to provide for our family to throwing me countless hours of BP..The man works his tail off still every day in the gym and in the yard and yet never complains at all! I get my hard work, attitude, looks, and all from him! And finally for making us laugh any chance he gets! This man does everything possible to make us happy and he truly is my hero! I love you big man!! Hope today is a great day!???? #Pops #TheMan #Stud
In 2015, Harper skipped out on the Home Run Derby while his father was recovering from rotator cuff surgery. Turns out, throwing countless balls to your son every single day takes a toll on your arm.
Ron is healthy now, and so is his son. Bryce is off to a blazing start, hitting .317/.421/.609, with 17 home runs, over 273 plate appearances. When MLB asks him to participate in the Home Run Derby again this year, we know who he’ll call.
(BLS H/N: FTW)
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –