The Washington Nationals slugger known for launching long home runs thrilled a fan Tuesday night, gesturing for her cellphone, snapping a playful selfie and then tossing it back into the stands.
The popular Harper took the picture in right field before Washington took on the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a day-night doubleheader.
“It was pretty good,” Harper told The Associated Press when he saw the photo after the game. “Just messing around a little bit with the fans. Enjoying it with them a little bit. It’s always fun.”
The 22-year-old All-Star outfielder was looking at a group of fans taking pictures of him from the seats over the fence when he noticed Jamie Roach in the scrum.
Harper motioned for the retail manager from Laurel, Maryland, to flip him her phone from about 15 feet above. She did, and he caught it.
Harper took a wide-eyed, silly faced picture of himself and threw the phone back to her.
“I was so excited. I’ve never gotten a ball from him, but now I’ve got this picture,” Roach told the AP. “It was very awesome. The feeling like a kid in a candy store.”
Roach said she goes to about 40 games a year. She quickly sent the picture to various friends and strangers at the game — from there, the selfie was uploaded to social media sites and the Internet took it from there.
The latest All-Star voting results released by Major League Baseball on Tuesday showed Harper leading all National League players with more than 2.3 million votes.
Forget about a picture being worth 1,000 words. Expect this one to be worth oodles of extra votes and fans.
“They were trying to take a selfie with me,” Harper told the AP. “I went over there and said, ‘Hey, toss me the phone and I’ll do it for you.'”
Harper had two hits in the game, and ranks among the major league leaders in homers, runs batted in and batting average. The Nationals lost 7-3, and wound up with a split in the doubleheader.
AP freelance writer Ralph Posner contributed to this story.