Blue Jays: Ranking the top five catchers in franchise history
#5- Charlie O’Brien/Pat Borders
I chose to go with a tie in fifth place, mostly because I wanted to include Pat Borders in this list, even if he doesn’t totally belong according to the stats. He’s also what I would consider to be the top “homegrown” franchise catcher, which I’ll talk about more later on.
Starting with him, the two-time World Champion played parts of seven seasons with the Blue Jays after breaking into the big leagues in 1988. By 1990 he was the starting catcher in Toronto, and he was of course the backstop on the championship teams in 1992 and 1993. He’s likely best known for his performance in the 1992 World Series against Atlanta when he slashed .450/.500/.750 in 20 at bats, and was named the series MVP.
As far as the stats go though, Borders was a pretty average catcher. According to baseballreference.com, his career WAR total sits at 3.6, which is pretty low. That said, he left the Blue Jays with 4.4 bWAR earned across seven seasons, so he definitely had his best years in a Blue Jay uniform. He also collected some hardware, so I’m sure he doesn’t have a lot of complaints about his career.
Tying with Borders at the fifth spot was the second biggest surprise on this list, at least for me. Charlie O’Brien wasn’t a Blue Jay for long, but he played surprisingly well while he was in town. In just two seasons he managed to accumulate 3.5 WAR while playing in just 178 games.
His short tenure came during the 1996-97 seasons, and he really held down the fort with his defence in particular, earning marks of 1.3 and 2.0 dWAR, all while earning barely more than a million dollars for his two seasons of work. He played during an easily forgotten period of Blue Jays history, but he represents one of the better value signings the club has ever made.