Longtime Phillies scout Bill Harper has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Dallas Green Award, the club announced today.

“Bill was what a scout should be. He was hardworking, loyal, he loved baseball, and he loved the Phillies,” said Green. “He was a first class gentleman. Paul Owens and I realized what a wonderful human being he was from the moment we met him.”

Harper, 86, has spent 42 years in the Phillies organization beginning in 1970. He started his career as an associate scout until transitioning to the role of full-time scout in the late ’70s. Harper went into semi-retirement after the 2000 season and has maintained a role of independent contractor scout ever since.

The pinnacle of Harper’s career was the signing of Ryne Sandberg in 1978. Harper maintained a close relationship with the future Hall of Famer from the time Sandberg was a sophomore in high school, until the second baseman signed a professional contract with the Phillies after he was selected in the 20th round of the 1978 draft.

“He’s the scout that ignored the fact that all other scouts thought I would choose to play college football,” said Sandberg. “His insistence, as it turned out, helped me change my mind. And that influence helped me to live out my dream of becoming a professional athlete.”

In addition to Sandberg, Harper is credited with the signing of right-hander Larry Christenson, as well as assisting in the signing of current Phillies reliever Michael Stutes.

Harper credits Green for his success in the game. “Dallas, he taught me so much, not only the way to scout, but so much more. I valued our relationship; he was a supremely loyal friend and a great person.  This is a tremendous honor to receive an award bearing his name.”

The 2012 Dallas Green Award will be presented to Harper on September 23, prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves. The award honors Green, who has spent over 55 years in professional baseball, including 40 with the Phillies.

Each year the club will present this award to an amateur or professional scout who best exemplifies the Phillies’ standard for scouting while demonstrating the same loyalty, work ethic, dedication and passion as the award’s namesake. The award will also recognize the scout’s ability to judge not only a player’s talent, but also his character and heart.