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... Read More