Inducted October 15, 1977
William J. (Bill) Harris was born in St. John’s 20 May 1919. Educated at St. Bonaventure’s College it was there his athletic career began. In the realms of intercollegiate sport in the mid-thirties, he emerged as one destined to carve a profound niche in the athletic history of Newfoundland. He was to show continuous excellence in all major sports in which he participated – baseball, basketball, football, hockey and rowing.
From 1936 through to 1938 he was a member of every intercollegiate championship team at St. Bon’s – football, basketball and hockey. As a member of those victorious teams his abilities and skills were acknowledged as major contributing factors to his school’s successes.
Moving into senior ranks he continued to display his athletic proficiency as a member of senior St. Bon’s championship teams. Simultaneously he began to demonstrate his skill as an oarsman, again as a member of St. Bon’s rowing crews.
Hockey stardom he did attain in 1939 – his first year with the Senior league. He was singled out as the fastest skater and acknowledged as having the strongest and hardest shot of any hockeyist. At that time the hockey cognoscenti were speculating on a brilliant future for Bill Harris. Unfortunately, fate was to intervene with the destruction of the old Arena by fire. The loss of the rink very nearly spelled the doom of local hockey along with the aspirations of young hockeyists.
When Bill retired from hockey in 1948 he was to find his name inscribed on the Boyle trophy seven times as a member of St. Bon’s teams. His hockey career was to furthermore show that he was a member of All-Newfoundland hockey championship teams for an equal number of times.
The revival of baseball in 1947 saw Bill Harris dominate the diamond, pitching the first shut-out game. He became baseball’s M.V.P. for 1947. On July 29, 1948 he pitched a no hit, no walk no run game. In 1949 he captained the City team which won the Newfoundland championship and was again the recipient of the M.V.P. award.
A superb all-round athlete, gentlemanly and accomplished, Bill Harris deservedly merits a privileged niche in Newfoundland’s Sports Hall of Fame.