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Tommy Harper
Tommy Harper 1963.png
Harper in 1963.
Outfielder / Third baseman
Born: (1940-10-14) October 14, 1940 (age 73)
Oak Grove, Louisiana
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 9, 1962 for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1976 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
Batting average .257
Home runs 146
Runs batted in 567
Stolen bases 408
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Tommy Harper (born October 14, 1940 in Oak Grove, Louisiana) is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder and third baseman. He played with the Cincinnati Reds (1962–1967), Cleveland Indians (1968), Seattle Pilots (1969), Milwaukee Brewers (1970–1971), Boston Red Sox (1972–1974), California Angels (1975), Oakland Athletics (1975), and the Baltimore Orioles (1976).

High School and College[edit]

Harper played at Encinal High School in Alameda, California, where his teammates included Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Stargell and MLB player Curt Motton. He starred collegiately for San Francisco State University.

Cincinnati Reds[edit]

Harper signed as an amateur free agent with the Reds before the 1960 season (as Major League Baseball had yet to institute a draft) and was assigned to Class B Topeka, where he had modest success. After hitting .324 for Topeka the following season, he was promoted all the way up to AAA San Diego where he hit .333 with 24 home runs and was even called up to the major league club, where he started 6 games at third base.

In the 1963–64 seasons Harper was a platoon player for the Reds, working mostly as an outfielder. 1965 was his breakout season, as he became the Reds' starting left fielder and leadoff hitter, hitting 18 home runs, stealing 35 bases, and leading the National League with 126 runs scored. He would occupy the leadoff role for the next 3 seasons for the Reds, starting at all three outfield positions and serving as backup infielder until being traded to the Indians for 3 players following the 1967 season.

Cleveland Indians[edit]

Harper played only one season with the Indians, starting mostly in left and right field and seeing playing time at center field and second base as well. Although he struggled both with the bat and on the basepaths, he was drafted by the Seattle Pilots as the 3rd pick in the 1968 expansion draft.

Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers[edit]

Harper was the first player to come to bat in Seattle Pilots history when he led off the top of the 1st against right-hander Jim McGlothlin of the California Angels. In that inaugural at bat, he was also the first Pilots player to record a hit, doubling to left field, and then scoring the Pilots first run on a home run by Mike Hegan. Harper led the American League with a career-high 73 stolen bases—the most by an American Leaguer since Ty Cobb's 96 in 1915 and a mark that still stands today as a Pilots/Brewers record. He also showed his versatility in the field, making over 50 starts at both second and third base, 21 starts in center field, and also seeing playing time at both corner outfield positions.

When the Pilots moved to Milwaukee and changed names the following season, Harper was also the first player to come to bat in Milwaukee Brewers history. On April 7, 1970, he led off the bottom of the 1st against California Angels right-hander Andy Messersmith. He hit a ground ball to third baseman Aurelio Rodríguez, who threw to first baseman Jim Spencer for the out. The 1970 season was probably the best statistically in Harper's career. He recorded career highs in hits, doubles, home runs, and RBIs on his way to the lone All-Star game appearance of his career. He also became the first Brewer, and just the fifth major leaguer at that point, to join the 30-30 club by hitting 31 home runs and stealing 38 bases and come in 6th in the AL MVP voting. A second Brewer didn't join him in the 30–30 club until Ryan Braun accomplished the feat in 2011.[1] After his numbers fell off during the 1971 season, Harper was traded to the Red Sox as part of a 10-player trade following the season.

Boston Red Sox[edit]

Harper became the Sox' starting center fielder and leadoff hitter from 1972–74, playing well enough to earn him votes in the AL MVP balloting in '72 and '73. 1973 was his best season with the club, as he led the league in stolen bases for the second time in his career, setting an all-time Red Sox mark with 54, until Jacoby Ellsbury broke the record on August 25, 2009. After the 1974 season, at age 34 and appearing to be in decline, he was traded to the California Angels for journeyman infielder Bob Heise.

California Angels[edit]

Harper played only part of the 1975 season for California. The Angels, well on their way to a last-place division finish, sold him for cash to the contending Oakland A's.

Oakland A's[edit]

Revitalized by the trade to a contender, Harper hit .319 in August and September for the A's and became their starting 1st baseman, also seeing spot duty in the outfield and at third base. Harper was also a perfect 7 of 7 in stolen base attempts. Harper was a key in Oakland's AL West championship drive not only because of his help with the bat, but also because his versatile fielding allowed the As to use the aging Billy Williams at DH where his still powerful bat was useful and where his play in the field was not a liability.

Harper finally saw his first playoff action at age 34 after 14 major league seasons but would be limited to one plate appearance, a walk, as the A's were swept by his old team, the Red Sox. Harper was released by the A's after the season.

Baltimore Orioles[edit]

Harper signed with the Orioles shortly before 1976 spring training. He played sparingly at DH, but his trademark blend of power and speed were gone, rendering him mostly a light-hitting pinch hitter. He was released by the Orioles following the season.

Coaching career[edit]

Harper served as a coach for the Red Sox (1980–84; 2000–02) and the Montreal Expos (1990–99). As of the start of the 2013 season, he remained with Boston as a player development consultant. Ironically, Harper had successfully sued the Red Sox for firing him in 1985 for complaining in the media about the club allowing the segregated Elks Club in its spring training base of Winter Haven, Florida, to invite only the team's white personnel to its establishment.[2] Harper was elected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010.

Highlights[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joe Kay (September 16, 2011). "Braun reached 30–30, Brewers beat Reds 6–3". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ Bryant, Howard, Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Johnny Pesky
Dave Jauss
Red Sox First Base Coach
1980–1984
2000–2002
Succeeded by
Joe Morgan
Dallas Williams

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Harper — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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cameron heasley and tommy harper golden hair surprise cover in troy pa at LOADED GUN TATTOO.

MY SOUL HAS BEEN ANCHORED SUNG BY TOMMY HARPER

OK I MADE SURE I GOT THE WHOLE VIDEO RECORDED 4 YALL THIS TYME........@ MY CHURCH WE DONT NORMALLY HAVE PEOPLE SHOUTING BUT HE SUNG THIS SONG @ HAD EVERYBODY...

Tommy Harper

Jamming at our loaded gun tattoo shop in small town Troy pa. Such a great voice.

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Singing use somebody by kings of Leon.

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An original off the top of his head all around great song.

Tommy Harper kicks ass

Good music. Awesome tattoos in a great environment. Tommy your voice and music kicks ass. In small town Troy pa.

Tommy Harper Lights the Lamp against North

Tommy worked hard to get this goal.

Tommy Harper

A great but just a small piece of poker face.

Tommy Harper again

Hanging at the shop still. Such a great voice still. Love it.

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161883 videos foundNext > 

5 news items

Surrey Mirror

Surrey Mirror
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:51:54 -0700

Andrews shot was blocked but justice was done 2 minutes later when Andrews quickly taken free kick caught Phoenix cold and went into the net. It now seemed just a question of when the next goal would come. In the end it was Tommy Harper from close ...

Boston Herald

Boston Herald
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 21:05:28 -0700

True, Red Sox fans from every era have seen some real speedsters, including Harry Hooper, Tris Speaker, Tommy Harper, Jerry Remy, Otis Nixon and Jacoby Ellsbury. But while they were all fine baserunners, it is an inarguable fact that none of them ever ...
 
Cranston Herald
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:56:15 -0700

Tommy Harper hit a groundball right at the shortstop, who was able to make a clean throw home to get the force out as well as save a run. But Scorpio was up next and he again came through for his team with the bases loaded, as he hit an infield single ...

Warwick Beacon

Warwick Beacon
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:22:30 -0700

Tommy Harper hit a groundball right at the shortstop, who was able to make a clean throw home to get the force out as well as save a run. But Scorpio was up next and he again came through for his team with the bases loaded, as he hit an infield single ...
 
MLB.com
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 09:39:52 -0700

On July 9, at home, Ryan put runners at the corners with one out on Tommy Harper's walk and Carl Yastrzemski's single. Those were the final Boston baserunners. Ryan struck out Reggie Smith and Rico Petrocelli and erased the next 24 men in succession, ...
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