Harnisch got his career back on track last year, going 14-7 for the Reds. He also became a spokesman for the company that makes Paxil, an antidepressant he took for six months, and told The New York Times that his ordeal proved that "you can get through this thing, you can get your life and your personality back." Pete's older brother Paul, however, might never get his life back.
Paul Harnisch, 39, was an assistant district attorney for Orange County, N.Y. In 1990 doctors told him he had bipolar disorder, or manic depression—such disorders tend to run in families. The Harnisch family was rocked on June 26 of this year when Paul, wearing only a pair of panty hose, drove his car down a bicycle trail on which newlyweds Ed and Tammie Quirk were rollerblading. Harnisch's car missed Tammie but struck Ed with such force that his head and torso crashed through the windshield and into the passenger seat. Paul drove on for about 500 yards with Quirk's body beside him, then pulled over. He told bystanders he needed help, walked into town, stole a car and drove around Chester, N.Y., until police stopped him. Paul told them he was on a top secret mission. Last month he was charged with grand larceny and second-degree murder.
At a July 15 hearing attended by Pete, Judge Joseph West released Paul on $125,000 bail with the stipulation that he be held in a mental ward with an electronic monitor on his ankle. William Tendy, Paul's lawyer, plans a defense based on his client's psychiatric problems. The court may well consider Paul's case in light of his family history, including Pete's depression.
Pete doesn't want to add to his family's sorrow by talking about his brother. Instead, as he struggles to deal with Paul's troubles, he takes the ball every fifth day, goes out and does his job. Through Sunday he was 11-6 with a 3-52 ERA, 12th-best in the league, for a Reds club that is one of the year's surprise teams.
The Body Politic
Bumper stickers in Minnesota boast OUR GOVERNOR CAN BEAT UP YOUR GOVERNOR Yet Gov. Jesse (the Body) Ventura's decision to appear in the WWF's Aug. 22 SummerSlam in Minneapolis has Ventura taking a beating from political foes. "It shows he's not interested in being governor," Minnesota Republican chairman Ron Eibensteiner says of the Reform Party's Ventura. "He's concerned about leveraging his position to make money."
If the Slam follows wrestling form, Ventura will surely be drawn into the ring to leverage some guys' heads. After signing up for the gig he deflected criticism by pledging his $100,000 up-front fee to charity, but critics pointed out that he may earn $1 million or more from video sales and promotional fees. "That $100,000 is a smoke screen," says Eibensteiner.
The WWF could use a p.r. boost after wrestler Owen Hart's accidental death in a fall from arena rafters in May and a breach of contract suit filed by wrestler Rena Mero (a.k.a. Sable) that was recently settled. Another factor is last week's announcement that the WWF is going public with an IPO. "Getting a sitting governor to participate endorses pro wrestling as acceptable to the mainstream," says Wade Keller, editor of the weekly Pro Wrestling Torch.
There'll be no ringing endorsement from Eibensteiner, who hammers the guv for posturing publicly while allegedly neglecting education, job creation, the environment, agricultural problems and the state's finances. Ventura, he says, "was a virtual bystander during our last legislative session."
Asked about his impolitic return to the ring, the Body shrugged. "I'm not going to stop having fun," said Ventura. "My critics didn't vote for me anyway?'