Patrick Lance Borders | C | 1988-1994, 1999
1992 World Series MVP
Drafted in the 6th round of the 1982 amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, Pat Borders was never considered a can't miss prospect. Borders was a below-average hitter throughout his career, but his solid defensive skills and game calling ability has allowed him to carve out a 17 years and counting major league career. Borders spent 7 seasons as the backstop of the Toronto Blue Jays during some of the most glorious times in the franchise's history. Because of the longevity of his service and the role he played on these championship teams, Pat Borders made this list as the #33 best Blue Jay of all-time.
Drafted and developed by the Toronto Blue Jays, Borders spent his first 6 seasons of his professional career in the minors before making his Major League debut in 1988. After spending his first two major league campaign as an understudy to Ernie Whitt, he took over the starting job in 1990, a position which he held until the 1995 season. Borders responded to his increased role by having the best statistical season of his career, the only full season in which he posted an OPS+ above 100 (124).
In the years leading up to the Championship Teams of '92 and '93, the Jays was an elite team that has come maddeningly close to the franchise's first World Series birth, winning the division title in 1989 and 1991, only to lose in the ALCS. The long awaited breakthrough finally happened in the 1992 ALCS, when they beat the AL West division champion, the Oakland Athletics, in 6 games. Pat Borders performed valiantly in the ALCS, producing a line of .318/.320/.455, but it was in the World Series where Borders elevated his status to a playoff hero. In the 6 game World Series victory over the Atlanta Braves, Borders was the star of the Toronto Blue Jays offence, leading the team with a BA of .450 and OPS of 1.250. Included in Border's stellar offensive performance in the World Series, was his record homerun in the Jay's game 4 victory; that homerun marked the 10th straight post-season game in which the Toronto Blue Jays have hit a home run. Borders importance to the team extended beyond the batter's box; not only did he led the team offensively, but also played an important defensive position. Pat Borders all-around effort not only helped the Toronto Blue Jays to their first World Series Title, but also netted him a prestigious piece of hardware - The World Series MVP.
After repeating as World Series Champions in 1993, the Jays struggled in the strike shortened 1994 season, posting a sub .500 record for the first time since 1982. Pat Borders was granted free-agency after the 1994 season, thus starting his 10+ seasons, 10 team journey in the Majors. Including in those 10 teams, was a brief appearance with the Jays in the 1999 season. After being released by the Cleveland Indians late in the 1999 season, Borders was picked up by the Blue Jays and appeared in 6 games during the 1999 stretch run, which proved to be his final ones in a Blue Jay uniform.
It has been a long time since Pat Borders had regular playing time in the Major Leagues, but his love for the game is still burning from within. Even at age 43, Pat Borders is hoping to add an 18th season to his Major League career. Blue Bird Banter wishes him best of luck as he vies for a spot on the Major League roster of the Los Angeles Dodgers.