Vegas natives Harper, Bryant get keys to city

Vegas natives Harper, Bryant get keys to city

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who grew up in Las Vegas before becoming two of baseball's biggest young stars, were given keys to the city and honored by Mayor Carolyn Goodman in a ceremony Thursday.

The Las Vegas natives are coming off award-winning seasons. Harper earned National League MVP honors and Bryant was named the Rookie of the Year in the NL.

Before Harper starred for the Nationals and Bryant helped revamp the Cubs, the two mostly played against each other as youngsters in Las Vegas. But there were a few times they shared the same dugout.

The two began playing together when Bryant was around 9 (Harper is nine months younger).

"He always played up with the older guys because he was so good," Bryant said when the Nationals visited Wrigley Field in May. "He was always so much bigger and so much stronger than everybody, and better. He always threw hard and hit the ball farther. I was like, 'Wow, this kid is going to go somewhere.' Obviously, he's here and doing what he's doing. I expected nothing else."

When Bryant was 14 and Harper was 13, they played for the Southern Nevada Bulldogs.

"We won a lot of tournaments, and lot of them were because of him," Bryant added.

Harper shared an insightful scouting report on Bryant before the two met as opponents for the first time in the Majors.

"When we were younger, we used to call him 'Silk.' He was so smooth with everything he did. He played third, played short, played a little outfield when we were younger. He pitched, of course, and he always hit very well."

Harper attended Las Vegas High on the east side of town and the College of Southern Nevada before being selected No. 1 overall by the Nationals in the 2010 Draft.

Bryant graduated from Bonanza High on the west side of the city and played three seasons at the University of San Diego before the Cubs selected him with the second overall pick in the 2013 Draft.

While the hometown heroes admit they haven't kept in close contact over the years, they said earlier this year they hoped to play golf together at some point over the winter.

Keys to the city should help them find a tee time.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.