Willie’s a winner on and off the field...

Earlier this month Willie Harris visited the St. Coletta School for kids with severe mental disabilities and autism.

He told me all players should have to make such visits and that taking time out of his schedule to interact with these youngsters made his day.

His genuine interest in the kids was appreciated by everyone at the school.

Nationals team photographer Mitchell Layton has covered athletes in the community for more than two decades and he told me watching Willie with the students at St. Coletta was something he’d never seen before. He called Willie “my hero” after watching him at St. Coletta.

Willie was also rewarded this week for his performance on the field by earning player of the week honors for the week ending July 20. He batted .583 with a double, triple, homer and an NL best 7 RBI. He also had a stolen base, 5 runs scored, 4 walks and an on-base percentage of .688.

Willie’s versatility has been noteworthy as well. He’s started games at four positions (2B, LF, CF, RF), and he has also appeared defensively at two others (3B and SS).
Coming into the season, Willie had a career total of 7 homers. Last night here in San Francisco he hit his seventh of this season.

In winning the NL Player of the Week Award, Willie becomes the first National to earn the citation outright (Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman were co-winners in 2006 and 2007 respectively).

Willie will receive an engraved luxury Swiss timepiece from Major League Baseball in recognition of his work.