Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 12, Brian Harper

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ATLANTA,GA - OCTOBER 19: A general view of Fulton County Stadium and the World Series Logo taken before the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves at Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by: Jim Gund/Getty Images)
ATLANTA,GA - OCTOBER 19: A general view of Fulton County Stadium and the World Series Logo taken before the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves at Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by: Jim Gund/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins are just 12 days away from Opening Day in Baltimore. As we near that day, here is more Twins history related to that number.

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectation after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team. We will highlight numbers from team history that represent the number of days until Opening Day on March 29th in Baltimore.

The Twins have had a history of employing some pretty talented backstops. Currently, Jason Castro is in that spot and he looks down the baseline to a historically great catcher in Joe Mauer. Earlier this week we took a look at the catcher that helped the Twins to the 1987 World Series in Tim Laudner. Today we look at the 1991 World Series catcher number 12, Brian Harper.

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Harper was drafted in the 4th round of the 1977 MLB draft by his home state California Angels out of San Pedro high school in San Pedro, CA. The catcher would have a slow start to his major league career, but not because he wasn’t performing. Harper would spend many of his minor league days hitting near or above a .300 average. At stops in both California and with the Pittsburgh Pirates he was always blocked by an established veteran.

Harper gets his chance

It wasn’t until signing with the Twins in 1988 that Harper would finally get a true opportunity to stick with a major league club at the catching position. In that first season with the Twins, Harper would play 60 games with the Twins and slash .295/.344/.428. In 1989, the new Twins backstop would have a wonderful season as he played in 126 games and hit .325/.353/.449 along with 8 home runs and 24 doubles.

Harper had solid years every season that he played for the Twins. Each season from 1989 through 1993 he would end up with a WAR over 2.0. His best single season WAR being 2.8 in both the 1989 and 1990 seasons. Of course, 1991 was a great season from a team perspective and Harper’s individual contributions went a long way to contributing to the World Series achievements.

Next: Joe Mauer has developed into a good first baseman

In that championship season, Harper hit .311/.336/.447 and added 10 home runs and 28 doubles. He continued his strong season performance into the playoffs. Over the course of the 1991 playoffs, Harper slashed .318/.348/.409 with 4 doubles. It was that sort of steadiness and a premium defensive position that places Harper among some of the best remembered Twins. It is also why today we choose to celebrate Brian Harper as we sit 12 days away from Opening Day.

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