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Happy Birthday Corey Patterson

Corey going into to the stands, just missing a catch.
Corey going into to the stands, just missing a catch.

It is former Blue Jay Corey Patterson's birthday. He turns 34 today.

Corey was a Blue Jay for most of the 2011 season, playing outfield, (51 games in LF, 30 in CF, 9 in RF), and hitting .252/.287/.379 in 89 games, with 6 home runs, 13 steals and 8 caught stealing. My memory plays tricks on me, I would have sworn all his caught stealing were times he attempted to steal third base, but, looking it up, I see he was caught stealing third 3 times, with 0 successful steals of third, as a Jay. I distinctly remember him being caught trying to steal third with Jose Bautista at the plate and 2 out. I remember it because I threw and broke something.

If you remember, Corey and Scott Podsednik were battling for the 4th outfielder job in spring training of 2011. Podsednik had a case of plantar fasciitis, so Corey won the job by default.

Why did get to play so much? Well, he had a good April (.269/.319/.448) and better May (.308/.325/.470). After that he hit much more like Corey Patterson. The rest of his time as a Jay he hit .195. Add in that Travis Snider didn't hit much either (.225/.269/.348) and we were treated to more Patterson than would would have liked.. Eric Thames would finally take his job.

All of us who watched the Jays that season remember this moment (for those of you too lazy to click on the link, Corey hit a 3-run homer on a pitch that was head level). 4 days later, he was included in the trade for Colby Rasmus, for which he'll always have a place in my heart. As a Cardinal, he hit .157/.189/.235, but they would go on to win the World Series.

Corey's defense was also an interesting thing. He, well, would take the most interesting routes to balls. Take a look at this. Fly balls, hit in his direction, often became an adventure. He kept things interesting.

Corey was the Cubs first round draft pick in 1998, the 3rd overall pick, but he never really became the player the Cubs hoped he would, mostly because he never learned to take a walk. But he played 12 years in the majors. He hit .252/.290/.424 with 118 home runs (I wonder how many of them were pitches above his shoulders) and stole 218 bases. Baseball Reference has him at a 9.6 career WAR.

Happy birthday Corey, hope it is a good one.