Saturday, May 1, 2010

2005 Topps Brett Harper

Who is this? Lancaster Barnstormers first baseman Brett Harper
What is this? An autographed card from the 2005 Topps set

Where'd I get it? I got it signed between games of Wednesday's doubleheader between the Newark Bears and the Lancaster Barnstormers
How much did it cost? I think I came by this card in a trade, but I really don't remember.
Why is this so special? Brett Harper is the son of former Minnesota Twins catcher Brian Harper.

The younger Harper was the Mets' 45th round draft pick in 2000, and I get the feeling that the team never really expected him to do much.

Yet he hit at nearly every level of the minors. In 2004, he was the team MVP for the St. Lucie Mets and he was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game, though he was unable to play because he'd been promoted to Binghamton.

In 2005, he split the season between St. Lucie and Binghamton again, hitting a combined 36 home runs. He missed a good part of the 2006 season, but Harper returned to All-Star form in 2007 for Binghamton. Then the Mets let him go as a minor league free agent.

In 2008, Harper played for Fresno in the Giants' organization. Last year, he played for Las Vegas (Blue Jays) and Albuquerque (Dodgers) and this spring, he had a training camp invitation from the Red Sox.

Yet somehow, he's playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers and hoping that someone will give him one more shot. Harper will turn 29 in a few months, so he's not likely to be a star - or even a regular - in the majors. Still, I'm surprised he never got more of a shot.

Harper's autograph isn't the greatest - I can make out the "B," but that's about it. Topps didn't choose the greatest photo for his card, either.

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