On this day in 1959, Brian Harper was born in Los Angeles, California. He was drafted by the Angels in the fourth round of the 1977 draft, but his career took a long time to get going: He didn't really get a chance to play consistently in the majors until 1988, when he joined the Twins as a 28 year old. By that point he had already played for six organizations.
Harper was an excellent player for the Twins, though, hitting .306/.342/.431 over six seasons. Despite the fact that those were his only full time seasons as a major leaguer, Bill James rated him as the 99th best catcher of all time in his Historical Baseball Abstract, saying he "lost a lot of his career to other people's stupidity."
The Brewers signed Harper as a free agent following the 1993 season and he played one year in Milwaukee, hitting .291/.318/.398 in 64 games during the strike-shortened 1994 season. He appeared in two games for the 1995 A's and one game for the 2000 AAA Tacoma Rainiers before calling it a career.
Harper turns 52 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- 1993 Brewer Josias Manzanillo, who turns 44.
- 1987-88 Brewer Dave Stapleton, who turns 50.