FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas will welcome back one of its first African-American baseball players this weekend as Arvis Harper will be recognized in an on-field presentation during Saturday’s game vs. LSU. First pitch on Saturday is slated for 7:05 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
Harper and the former Hank Thompson were the first two African-Americans to play baseball at the U of A as each were three-year letterwinners from 1976-78. Harper, a North Little Rock native, still resides in Central Arkansas and owns a business in Little Rock.
After only getting 19 at bats as a freshman, Harper enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, leading the team with a .301 batting average with a home run and 22 RBI. In 1978, Harper drove in a team-best 28 runs and hit .283 with five homers. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 14th round of the 1978 Major League Baseball Draft. Harper went on to play three seasons of minor league baseball, advancing to as high as the Double-A level.
During his three seasons as a Razorback, Harper helped the team to a 95-46-1 record, including a 44-35 record in Southwest Conference play. In 1978, Arkansas finished second in SWC play with an 18-6 record.