After wandering through six organizations in eleven years (he was 7-for-26 as a pinch-hitter for the NL-champion 1985 Cardinals), Harper finally found a home in 1988 platooning at catcher for the Twins. He hit .295 in 166 at-bats, his most playing time to that point at the major league level, and earned more playing time. He responded by hitting .325 in 1989 as the Twins’ primary catcher.
Harper remained the Twins’ first option behind the plate through 1993, hitting for good average but little home-run power. Although sometimes criticized for his defense (especially his throwing arm) Harper’s rock-solid presence behind the plate was highlighted in the Twins’ World Series win in 1991. It hasn’t been since schoolboy football, when he was a quarterback who got sacked ‘a lot’, that Harper’s been run over so often and so violently,” wrote Tim Wendel of Baseball Weekly.
Harper was hindered by a calf injury after moving to the Brewers in 1994, and in late June was struck by a Ken Ryan pitch, fracturing his wrist and ending his season. He caught on briefly with the A’s the next spring, but retired in May after starting the year 0-for-7.