On this day in 1940, Tommy Harper was born in Oak Grove, Louisiana. He briefly went to college at San Francisco State but was signed as an amateur free agent by the Reds in 1960, when he was 19 years old. Harper made his major league debut two seasons later and was a full time major leaguer for the first time in 1963, playing mostly in the outfield.
Harper had spent six seasons in Cincinnati and one in Cleveland when the Seattle Pilots selected him with the third pick in the 1968 expansion draft. He led the AL with 73 stolen bases during his year in Seattle, and had the best year of his career as a Brewer in 1970: He hit .296/.377/.522 with 31 home runs and 38 stolen bases for the first year Brewers. Until this season he was the only player in franchise history ever to post a 30/30 season.
After the 1971 season, Harper was traded to the Red Sox as part of a ten player deal that netted first baseman George Scott, pitchers Ken Brett and Jim Lonborg and others for the Brewers. He played five more major league seasons before retiring following the 1976 season.
Harper turns 71 today. With help from Brewerfan.net and the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- Helena Brewer Ben McMahan, who turns 22.
- 1953-57 Milwaukee Brave Dave Jolly, who would have turned 87.