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Remembering Local Legend Billy Harrell
Albany, NY - Former Major League Baseball player Billy Harrell died Tuesday morning of natural causes inside his Albany home. He was 86 years old.
A Troy High School graduate, Harrell became a two-sport star at Siena College. An All American basketball player as a 6'1" forward, Harrell decided to embark on a professional baseball career upon graduation in 1952.
The slick fielding infielder would play all or parts of four seasons in the big leagues, the first three with the Cleveland Indians. He appeared in his last MLB game in 1961 with the Boston Red Sox.
Upon retirement from pro ball, Harrell settled into private life in Albany. He played in the Albany Twilight League, and also became an accomplished amateur bowler.
In 2006, Harrell became the first ever Siena basketball player to have his uniform number retired. His No. 10 still hangs from the rafters at the Times Union Center.
The 1950 National Catholic Invitational Tournament championship banner, which was won while Harrell was at the height of his powers in Loudonville, hangs at the Alumni Recreation Center on campus.
Still an avid supporter of his alma mater right up until his death, Harrell enjoyed attending games. From his wheelchair, he watched Siena defeat Fresno State on April 5th to claim the 2014 CBI Championship.
It turned out to be the final public appearance of arguably the greatest athlete Siena College has ever produced.