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OTL: Dream On A Shelf

Originally Published: April 23, 2009
By Amy K. Nelson
PALMDALE, Calif. -- The summer night Bill Harrington realized he had become a pariah here in his hometown, he was just a few miles down the road, watching one of the most dazzling prospects scouts could recall, who also happened to be his teenage son.

This was seven years ago, in Long Beach, at a game being played at a tiny 3,000-seat stadium -- an independent league game in which the participants were mostly trying desperately to revive failed dreams of major league glory. On this particular night, however, there was one player whose name was even more notorious than some of the former big leaguers who were passing through on their way to athletic oblivion, a name that had somehow become synonymous with all that fans hate about modern-day players. Synonymous with greed. That would be Bill's son, Matt Harrington, who, after being drafted No. 7 in the nation only two years earlier, had turned down almost $5 million from the Colorado Rockies, and who eventually would go on to become the first player in major league history drafted five times without signing.

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