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Baseball trailblazers at Arkansas

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Baseball trailblazers at Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas baseball program has a long and storied tradition, which includes six trips to the College World Series and 23 NCAA Tournament appearances. Part of that tradition are Arvis Harper and Hank Thompson, the first two African-Americans to suit up for the Razorbacks on the diamond.

Harper and Thompson were both three-year letterwinners at Arkansas, lettering in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Over their three seasons, the Razorbacks posted a record of 95-46-1, including a 44-35 record in Southwest Conference play. In 1978, Arkansas finished second in SWC play with an 18-6 record.

In his first season in Fayetteville, Thompson hit .306 and finished tied for second on the team with four home runs. Thompson played in 49 games and batted .243 with 28 RBI during his second season as a Razorback. He closed his Arkansas career with a .224 batting average to go along with a homer and 10 RBI in 29 games played.

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 in and hit .283 with five home runs. Harper 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.



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