Monday, June 24, 2013

Forgotten Twins? Brian Harper

My memories of Brian Harper

I remember a lot about Brian Harper, but probably not as accurately as I should.  I'm pretty sure Harper caught for the Twins from 1988 to 1993.  I know that he was great and that he hit over .300 ALL THE TIME!  He was the catcher on the 1991 team.  He got run over during the World Series by an Atlanta player and when he got up he did this weird flip of the ball, as if he was going to flip it to someone else.  It was odd but cool.  He also had a great mustache and a mullet.  All in all, a plus player.  


Brian Harper's middle name is David.  He was born October 16, 1959 in San Pedro, California.  Harper was a fourth-round pick by the Angels back in 1977.  Apparently, he was a promising player but was never really given a chance to play catcher.  That all changed in 1988 when he signed with the Twins!  I totally nailed his time with the Twins, as he left after the 1993 because the Twins could not afford him.  (insert some things never change).  Harper is currently the hitting coach for the Iowa Cubs, the Chicago Cubs' AAA team.  Pretty cool.  

I was wrong about Harper hitting over .300 every year.  He hit over .300 in four of his six Twins seasons.  He hit .295 in 1988 and .294 in 1990.  What a bum.  Man, he did not walk or strike out much at all.  In his six years with the Twins, in 2691 plate appearances, he walked just 111 times and struck out just 128 times.  Remarkable.  Harper only played 66 more games after leaving the Twins.  He hit .291 in 64 games with the Brewers in 1994, then only played 2 games for Oakland in 1995.  Then he was done.  Crazy career.

Well, if you know me at all, you have to know where I am going next.  Brian Harper the ceramic artist is not the same Brian Harper I grew up watching.  However, he may be equally interesting.  Here is his artaxis site: Brian Harper Ceramics.  I'm going to do some more research for my own personal purposes, but for you, I'll just leave you with this video:

Using Bing Images, I found this iconic baseball card:

Nice phone bro.

I also came across some Amazon listings for Brian Harper.  I was confused because the same books were written by Brian Harper and Michael Prescott.  I thought I had uncovered a stolen identity scheme, but it turns out they are the same person.  Then, I thought it could be a The Prestige scenario, but nope, just a guy who wanted to change his name.  You can read about it here, at his beautiful website.  It's not our Harper either.

Alta Vista  eBay

This Altavista thing is stupid.  I used it as a joke, but search engines are all the same, so I really don't need three.  Switching to eBay paid off immediately.  I found this listing for a Brian Harper Pirates name plate from one of his jerseys.  First, the description says it was "obtained through the Pirates clubhouse."  Hmm, I wonder if they know that.  Second, it says it is from one of "his 1982 - 1984 jersey's."  That's precise, but not very accurate.  Anyway, if you want a likely stolen scrap from one of Brian Harper's old jerseys, you just hit the jackpot.  


Brian Harper and I are not friends on Facebook... yet.  I looked for a fan page for Harper, but one does not exist.  However, there is a fan page for a basketball player named Brian Harper and it has 290 likes.  That's like 290 more than my Facebook page (click here, I'll give away a Gary Wayne card if we hit 50).  This Brian Harper can play the Forward and Center position and is currently playing in Germany. He also looks joyless, doesn't have a huge cell phone, a mullet or a mustache.  Wait, he does have a mustache.


There's a Brian Harper on Twitter who likes baseball, but he seems mostly concerned with who is unfollowing him.  He does ask about catchers from time to time.  THE Brian Harper is not on Twitter.  He is busy being a hitting coach.  I did find two cool tweets about Harper though:
Answer:  Everyone
Brian Harper was very nearly a World Series hero before he was even a regular MLB player.  Too bad fate made him wait a few years to become relevant, but perhaps good for the Twins.


I'm not going to rip this kid at all.  I love his cards and I love that he is showing them to me.  His energy level is a bit low, but it looks like he has a lot going on behind him.

This one is from a couple years ago.  Harper still looks good and has that gruff former baseball player voice. That is until the wind sweeps in and steals all the sound from Knoxville.

Random Person

I asked my wife if she remembers Brian Harper.  She replied, "oh, your favorite?"  I was confused.  She thought I was talking about Bryce Harper, who I do adore.  When I explained that I was referring to Brian Harper, former Twin, she simply said, "no" and went upstairs.  That went about as well as I thought it would.


I think Brian Harper is properly remembered by the internet.  There is a cool kid showing his cards, he's a coach, he does ceramics and he assumed some author's identity.  Brian Harper was a great player for the Twins and helped them win the 1991 World Series.  I feel that I know this American Hero even better than I did before.  I guess that's why they call it research.  I'd say there is a very good chance that he coaches at the MLB level in the future and that's pretty cool.

What is your favorite Brian Harper memory?  You can't just say his mullet.  Or his mustache.


  1. Brad,

    First, I have a sick obsession with your blog. It is lovely and hilarious.

    I'm missing the Monday Morning Madness, however.

    You might dig this: Some of it is cherry picking, some of it is interesting, but @HarperVsMauer tweets a bunch of stats why Harper was better than Mauer.

    Anyways, keep up the awesome work! Thanks for all that you do. I literally cried I was laughing so hard at the Gardy/Hicks hypothetical conversation a month or so ago.



    1. Thanks for reading! I am glad to hear that you enjoy the blog. The Madness will return next Monday, not to worry.

      I really appreciate the feedback!