Bryce Harper hits his first big league homer (VIDEO)

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

No matter the number of home runs you expect Bryce Harper to put up during his baseball career, the Washington Nationals phenom couldn't get there without hitting his first.

Harper took the first step toward wherever he's headed with his power during Monday night's 8-5 win over San Diego, hitting a pitch from Tim Stauffer to straightaway center field for his first career home run. The solo shot came in Harper's 15th game in the major leagues and in his 54th at-bat. According to Tater Trot Tracker, Harper sprinted around the bases in 17.07 seconds, good enough for the second-fastest time in 2012. He then acknowledged the cheering Nationals Park with the first curtain call of his career.

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Here's the highlight:

Because the ball landed in a grassy area near the bullpen, there was no need for Harper to negotiate with a fan who had dollar signs in his eyes. It was scooped up and immediately returned to the rookie.

From the Associated Press:

After the game, the ball was sitting in his locker with ''1st ML HR'' written on it in ballpoint pen. The keepsake was going to get a place alongside his first home run ever — at around age 7 — and other mementos. He had a hard time remembering other saved items.

''I don't really keep track,'' Harper said. ''All my stuff is in just a box. Posters, magazines - I don't really care.''

At 19 years and 211 days, Harper becomes the youngest player to hit a home run in the major leagues since 1998. That was when Adrian Beltre hit his first home run at 19 years and 171 days.

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