Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#389 Brian Harper

About the Front: Brian Harper didn't look like your prototypical stocky, beefy catcher, which is probably why he logged some time in the outfield throughout his career. Plus, he didn't have a reputation as a very good defensive catcher.

About the Back: You can see the meandering career path of Harper, as he played for six teams in parts of nine big league seasons before finally becoming a regular with the Twins in 1989 at age 29.

Triple Play:

1. Early in his career, Brian was blocked from the Angels' lineup by a formidable veteran cast that included Bob Boone, Reggie Jackson, Don Baylor, and Rod Carew. A trade to the Pirates only left him stuck on the bench behind Tony Pena.

2. Two of his sons, Brett and Lance, played minor league baseball. The former batted .302 with 155 home runs in 910 pro games, but topped out at AAA.

3. He has been a minor league coach and manager since 2001, working for the Angels, Giants, and Cubs.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Brian was in a late-career prime in the early 1990s, so it seemed strange to see 1979 as his debut season on the back of the card.

Bill James Said: "There was a 1930s catcher named Spud Davis who had exactly the same combination of talents as Harper." That's a pretty good, if obscure, comp. Davis batted .308/.369/.430 with single-season highs of 14 homers and 70 RBI.

On This Date in 1993: March 11. Janet Reno is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the first woman to be Attorney General.

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