Willie Lajoie / Harbourcats

You don’t need to bump into Prince Harry or Meghan Markle to get close to royalty this summer. 

The Harbourcats announced four new signings on Tuesday, January 28th, and among them is a player who is related to one of the greatest baseball players of all time. 

Willie Lajoie is an infielder from Chico State, California, and his great-uncle is none other than Nap Lajoie, a member of the baseball Hall of Fame. 

Nap Lajoie played from 1896-1916 for the Philadelphia Phillies/Athletics and the Cleveland Bronchos/Naps (yes, a team named after himself) and finished his career as a .338 hitter.

He was selected in the 1937 Hall of Fame class and inducted in 1939. He has the 14th most hits in Major League Baseball of all time (3243).

Great-nephew Willie Lajoie is also a talented hitter, batting .321 in his first two seasons with Saddleback College, nabbing 27 extra-base hits and 87 RBI. 

“It’s the history of the game that captures so many people, and having a descendant of Nap Lajoie here with the team will catch a lot of interest. We’re excited to have Willie join us,” said Jim Swanson, Managing Partner/GM of the HarbourCats, in a statement to Victoria Buzz. “He drove in 87 runs for Saddleback, he’s a producer who can be a key guy for us.”

More Harbourcats Signings

Also signed for the Harbourcats were outfielder Jack Keiser, University of San Diego, Colton Evans, UC-Davis, and Tyler Best, University of Hawaii. Best’s uncle is long-time MLB scout Tim Hallgren, who was actually born in Victoria before being drafted by the Seattle Mariners and starting his MLB career there. 

All four players are offensive-minded and talented at the plate, GM Swanson said. 

“These offensive players will like hitting at our park, in front of our fans,” said Swanson. “I know our coaches will be following their spring seasons closely and be excited to further develop them this summer, in our pro-style atmosphere at Wilson’s Group Stadium.”