6. Pat Borders
Pat Borders was a homegrown product drafted by the Blue Jays in the 6th round of the 1982 draft. He spent 6 years in the minors and didn’t begin catching until 1986. He caught on quickly at his new position and made his MLB debut at age 25. He would spend 8 years with the Jays in two separate stints. He was with the team through the glory years from 1988 to the end of the strike shortened 1994 season and briefly returned at the tail end of 1999.
His best season, and likely the best offensive season by a Jays’ catcher, was 1990 when he hit 15 home runs, had a .816 OPS, posted a 3.5 WAR and had the best defensive numbers of his career (7 Total Zone Fielding Runs above average and a 1.3 dWAR). He also was catching as Dave Stieb threw the only no-hitter in Jays’ history. It was looking as if the team had a burgeoning all-star in Borders, however he wouldn’t come close to his 1990 numbers again in his career. In fact, the rest of his regular season career was barely above replacement level.
In the playoffs, Borders was a different story. With the Jays, in 6 different playoff series he had a .321 average. He was named the 1993 World Series MVP with a 1.250 OPS in the series. He was an essential part of both World Championships.
After reaching free agency prior to 1995, Borders was unable to find a steady home or role. He bounced around between 8 different teams and never played more than 55 games for a team in a season the rest of his career. He played his last MLB game in 2005 at age 42 and officially retired in 2006. Borders is currently a manager in the Phillies system.
Among Jays’ catchers all-time he ranks 4th in WAR, 2nd in games played, 4th in home runs, 2nd in RBI and 5th in Defensive Runs.
Next: No. 5: Some of the best hair in Blue Jays history...