Harper Named July 4th Parade Grand Marshal

Terry Harper (left) will serve as grand marshal of Douglasville's Fourth of July parade, which starts Saturday at 10 a.m. along Church Street. Harper, a Douglasville native, spent 20 years in professional baseball including 16 with the Atlanta Braves organization.

Special to the Sentinel

The city of Douglasville will continue its Fourth of July parade tradition Saturday at 10 a.m. with Douglasville’s very own baseball legend Terry Harper as grand marshal. 

Harper, a native of Douglasville, has 20 years of professional baseball experience. He signed with the Atlanta Braves in 1973 after graduating from Douglas County High School. His 16-year-career in the Braves organization included positions as a pitcher, outfielder and hitting coach.

Signed as a pitcher with the Braves in 1973, Harper was converted into an everyday player in 1976. He posted career single-season highs in hits (130), home runs (17) and RBIs (72) in 1985, in a very productive year as an everyday starter. He also finished the year playing a solid outfield with a team high 10 assists, 11th best in the National League.

Harper's first Major League hit was a triple off San Diego's Rick Wise, Sept. 13, 1980, in his second big-league game. His first Major League homer came as a pinch-hitter off John Curtis, also of San Diego, on May 24, 1981. He posted a .254 batting average with 36 home runs and 163 RBI in 473 games with the Braves.

Harper also had 29 outfield assists. His baseball career also included outfielder positions with Detroit, Pittsburg and as an international player with the Japanese Tokyo team Yalkult Swallows.

Since 1993, Harper has worked with individuals and teams to help improve their hitting skills. He has coached all ages and skill levels including youth, high school, college and professional ball players.

The lists of organizations that have benefitted from Harper’s baseball consultation include the Greenville Braves (AA minor league), Douglasville Bulls (college level players), Tucker Dodgers (ages 14-16), Sports-a-Rama Spartans (ages 14-15), Banneker High School and McIntosh High School. 

“I am first humbled and then honored to be selected as grand marshal for this year’s parade," Harper said. "As a Douglasville native I am excited for the opportunity to represent my hometown."

Harper's meek acceptance for the esteemed position of grand marshal does not fully reflect his continued dedication to the field of baseball. He volunteers countless hours of his time, skills and talent to multiple local organizations. The city of Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department has directly received great benefit from Harper’s coaching and consultation.

Harper has coached several Stan Musial summer camp leagues teams at the Hunter Park facilities over the years. He was selected to throw the traditional “first pitch” for Hunter Park's opening season on March 21.

Mayor Harvey Persons' selection of Harper as grand marshal was one easily made. Harper’s strong commitment to his local community and local volunteer efforts made him a prime selection.

“The selection of grand marshal is one of the privileges this office carries," Persons said. "Selection is granted to an individual deemed to have made outstanding contribution and positively influenced our local community. Naming Terry Harper as grand marshal is both well-deserved and long overdue. I’m excited to have him as our community representative."

Harper is both highly regarded and respected in his local community. He is committed and dedicated to providing excellent baseball instruction to all of his clients. He has been successful in helping many baseball players achieve their goals.

This year’s celebration and parade theme is “AMERICA: Yesterday, Today, and Forever.” The parade will make its way through downtown Douglasville on Church Street. After the parade, the public is invited to take part in a festival and barbecue sponsored by S.H.A.R.E House at Hunter Memorial Park.

The day will conclude with fireworks sponsored by Gas South and GreyStone Power at dark. The best viewing sites include Arbor Place Mall and surrounding areas. The parade will also be broadcast live on CITI TV Comcast Channel 22 and will be re-aired throughout the month of July. Commentators Lee Brogden Colberson of Professional Mojo and John Sell of Georgia Power will host the parade coverage.

For more information, visit www.douglasvillega.gov.

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