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Len Harris holding the shield
Len Harris holding the shield

Leonard Alphonso Harris, the son of Kenneth and May Rose Harris pf McKnight was born on the 3 September 1934. He was educated at the St. Joseph Catholic School then went on to work at the Sugar Factory. He moved to the Youth and Community Department where he worked as a truancy officer, making sure that children went to school and stayed off the streets and later was a sports officer and in this capacity received training as a coach at Loughborough University. He eventually tried a short stint in the Virgin Islands but an illness soon brought him back to St. Kitts.

It was in cricket that Len Harris made his name. It ran in the genes. Both his father and his brother Maurice were valuable players. Many still regard him as one of the best batsmen that St. Kitts ever produced. Some went so far as to say that he was one of the best cricketers never to play for the West Indies. Dwyer Astaphan wrote that the reason for this was that the both cricketers and administrators from the small islands were not taken seriously. Mikes as he was also known, was a “batting master with a confident .competitive and determined personality, good powers of concertation, excellent and quick footwork, exquisite, cutting and flicking skills of the highest order, an appetite for big scores and sound batting and cricket intelligence.” Certainly one of his performances for the Combined Leeward-Windward Islands against Guyana earned him the attention of the Trinidad press. Harris was also a useful swing and spin bowler and a world class fielder.

He first entered cricket at Progressive Club, moving on to St, George’s with the help of Wentworth ‘Natta’ Payne. There he continued to be an inspiring presence with an impish sense of humour and an appreciation for upcoming talent. Coming from a humble background he was often overlooked, until another player made it possible for him to get into the starting Eleven. His highest score was 218 not out against Antigua in 1968. In career Harris played against four international touring teams He captained the St. Kitts Team, that of the Leewards and also the Combined Islands. He demonstrated amazing concentration while the game was going on and great sportsmanship off the field.

Harris played football and did some running but the other area where he left his mark was in Calypso. As Lord Mike he sang One two three which became a big hit when sung by the Merry Men out of Barbados Big turkey kill little turkey, and St. Kitts is me bornin land which are still talked about as classics of Kittitian calypso.

 

 

 

Len Harris or Lord Mike was devastated by Alzheimer’s in later years and he died on the 16 March 2006. His sense of humour was still evident at that difficult time as was his strength of character. His pursuit of the game he loved so much was never dampened by the tough hand dealt to him at the international level and he remained an inspirational and motivating player throughout his career.

National Archives
Government Headquarters
Church Street
Basseterre
St. Kitts, West Indies

Tel: 869-467-1422 | 869-467-1208
Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.kn
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