Ed didn't let Matt throw a curveball until he was 13 years old. "Within five throws he had perfect spin," Ed says. He never did teach Matt a slider for fear of the strain it can put on the elbow. (Harvey picked it up in college.)
The father and the son always were close. After Matt was born, Jackie returned to teaching second grade. It was Ed who took the boy to day care and then to school and who was home when Matt returned at the end of the day. Matt would tag along to the varsity baseball practice, where he'd shag balls in the outfield. The boy saw from an early age how his father pushed his teams to play disciplined baseball, an exposure Ed believes may have enhanced Matt's strong will. Ed coached 28 years at Fitch, winning three state championships, before serving the past six years as an assistant coach at Avery Point, a junior college in the University of Connecticut system. "He saw me coach for a long time," Ed says. "I always tried to have a level of excellence with how I wanted my teams to play. Maybe he saw some of that."
Matt made the Fitch varsity as a freshman. An incident the next season caused Ed to reevaluate how hard he pushed his own son. One day the coach reprimanded Matt for a mistake he made on the field. That prompted the team's catcher to say, "Boy, Coach, you get on him a lot."
"It kind of woke me up," Ed says. "From that day on I basically let him play. I think in my mind I was surprised he would make mistakes because of all the years he had been around me, all the times he would come up from junior high and practice with us."
Harvey helped Fitch win a state title as a sophomore. By the time he was a senior, in 2007, he was throwing 90 to 93 mph and was considered, with Rick Porcello and Madison Bumgarner, one of the three best high school pitchers in the country, and not far behind Price, the eventual top pick overall out of Vanderbilt. Harvey, Porcello and Bumgarner each gave oral commitments to attend North Carolina if they did not sign. Porcello, from Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey, was to be Harvey's roommate. They were both being advised by agent Scott Boras.
One night before the draft the Harveys talked about how much money it would take for Matt to sign. "The biggest thing was clearing a million dollars [after taxes]," Matt says. "I wanted to have a little bit extra to buy a car and still put a million dollars in the bank. So we figured $2 million was a good number."
Ed looked at Matt and said, "What if they offer you $1.7 million?"
"I'm not going to take it."
"What if they offer you $1.9 million?"
"My number is two."