James Richard Harden (born November 30, 1981 in Victoria, British Columbia) is a Canadian Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.
Harden attended Claremont Secondary School (Victoria, BC) in 1999, and was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 38th Round of the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft. He did not sign with the Mariners, but instead attended Central Arizona College, where he graduated from in 2001. Harden was drafted by the Athletics in the 17th round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft, and signed by the team on May 28, 2001, shortly after graduating.
He led all Division I Junior College pitchers with 127 strikeouts in 2001, and his ERA of 2.14 was the 5th lowest in the nation. In his first professional season as a 19 year old with the Vancouver Canadians in Single-A, Harden had a 2-4 record in 18 games (14 starts), a 3.39 ERA, allowed only 47 hits and struck out 100 batters in 74 innings.
In 2002, Harden began the year with the Single-A Visalia Oaks of the California League and was very impressive in 12 starts, as he had a 4-3 record with an ERA of 2.91, and struck out 85 batters in 68 innings. Halfway through the 2002 season, Harden was promoted