Q&A With Former MLB Catcher and Coach Brian Harper

 Pro Perspective: Brian Harper

Brian Harper with the Minnesota Twins

Journey from Southern California to the Big Leagues

Brian Harper was born on October 16, 1959 in Los Angeles, CA. He played high school Baseball at San Pedro High School in California. He was drafted out of high school in the fourth round by the California Angels in 1977.

Harper made his big league debut two short years later, in 1979, at the age of 19. He would then spend the next 8 years splitting time across the majors and the minors for the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics.

In 1988, Harper signed with the Minnesota Twins. 



Brian really made a name for himself in Minneapolis. He became the main guy behind the dish for the Twins in the early 90s.

Arguably Harper's best season came in 1991, where he hit .311 and helped the Twins win the World Series against the Atlanta Braves. He played in all 7 games and hit .381 in the World Series that year.

Towards the end of his playing career, Harper left the Twins to play in a combined 66 games for the Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland Athletics.

He completed his career with a World Series ring, a .295 batting average, 63 home runs, and nearly 1,000 hits.

On the defensive side of the house, Harper appeared in 688 games behind the plate, threw out 238 runners, and collected 3,618 putouts. 

Brian Harper, Twins catcher, making an awesome catch

After his playing career ended, Harper got into coaching. He managed at the high school level for a few years before working in the minors as a coach.

As of the publication date, Harper works as the Hitting Coach for the Tigers' AAA team, the Toledo Mud Hens.


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Q&A with Brian

Brian is a former big league catcher who appeared for seven different teams over the course of a 16 year MLB career. He has played with many MLB all stars - names like Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, and Jack Morris.

I wrote Brian a few months back hoping to get his perspective on my three key questions for catchers. He kindly signed a card for me and answered my questions, as you can read below. 

Brian Harper autograph

Like others in this series, I wanted to share Brian's responses with the readers of this site. My hope is that Brian's perspective - and the other pro catchers showcased on our site - will help catchers interested in improving their game. 

Here are his responses to my questions, as you can also read in the image below.

Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the major leagues?

Answer: Winning the World Series '1991'. 

Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?

Answer: Receiving pitches well.

Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to young catchers hoping to play at the next level, what would it be?

Answer: Work hard, get strong, trust God.

By this point in the Pro Perspectives series, many of the responses we're receiving seem to strike a common theme. For example, the importance of working your tail off. The importance of perfecting crucial skills like receiving pitches, as Brian mentions.

Yet there's also an interpersonal dynamic we're seeing in responses, such as the importance of displaying leadership, of being able to effectively manage emotions, and of being a person of integrity. All are critical to shape you into a player and a person that others will follow. 

Thanks for Reading

We have many more Pro Perspectives share with our readers, and we will continue to post them in the coming weeks ahead. Be on the lookout for them!