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Happy Birthday to Five Former Blue Jays

Matt Boyd, Paul Kilgus, Dale Murray, Travis Snider and Pat Tabler all have birthdays today.

Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Brad White/Getty Images

There are five former Blue Jays who have birthdays today.

First, Matthew Boyd turns 33 today.

Boyd was a left-handed pitching prospect for the Jays. On our 2015 Top 40 Prospect list, we had him at #15. He was a lefty who didn’t throw all that hard but mixed in a breaking ball and a change.

In 2015, he made a couple of spot starts for us. They didn’t go well. Matt gave up 4 runs in 6.2 innings against the Rangers on June 27. Then, on July 2, he gave up 7 earned without getting an out against the Red Sox.

On July 30, Alex traded him, Daniel Norris, and Jairo Labourt to the Tigers for David Price.

Matthew’s injury troubles in 2021 limited him to 15 starts (good ones, 3.89 ERA). Before the 2022 season, he signed with the Giants but never pitched for them. San Fransico traded him to the Mariners in August. He made ten relief appearances for the M’s (and one in the ALDS). He was back with the Tigers last year but had Tommy John surgery in late June. The odds are long that he pitches in the majors this year.

Boyd is 44-67 in his nine-year career with a 4.94 in 174 games, 160 starts.

Paul Kilgus turns 62 today.

Kilgus was a lefty pitcher who started his career with the Rangers. In two seasons in Texas, he had a 14-22 record and a 4.15 ERA in 57 games, 44 starts.

He was part of a big nine-player trade, bringing him to the Cubs. The Cubs also got lefty relievers Steve Wilson, Mitch Williams, and infielder Curt Wilkerson. Jamie Moyer, Drew Hall, and a young first baseman named Rafael Palmeiro went to Texas. Palmeiro would go on to hit 569 homers in his career.

We traded for him before the 1991 season. I remember thinking Kilgus could be a good fifth starter for us. Unfortunately, Kilgus had an injury-filled season, and they banished him to Baltimore after the season. He’d have a season with the Cardinals and then was out of baseball.

Dale Murray turns 74 today.

He played two seasons for the Jays, posting a 2.92 ERA in 67 games and making 11 saves in 1981 and 1982.

After the 1982 season, he was part of one of the best trades in Blue Jays’ history. He and Tom Dodd would go to the Yankees for Dave Collins, Fred McGriff, and Mike Morgan (and cash). McGriff would become one of the Jays’ all-time best players (and now, finally, a Hall of Famer). And then he was part of the trade that brought us Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. Teams have been overpaying for relievers for a long time. Without the Murray trade, it is hard to see how we could have made it to the World Series.

Murray would spend two seasons, plus three games of a third, with the Yankees. He had a 4.73 ERA in 62 games, with 1 save. After the Yankees, he played one game for the Rangers and was out of baseball.

Murray played in the majors for 12 seasons with six teams: Expos, Reds, Mets, Expos again, Jays, Yankees, and Rangers. He had a 3.95 ERA in 518 games, just 1 start and 60 saves.

Travis Snider turns 36 today.

You know the story. Travis was our top prospect for many years. Baseball Prospectus ranked him the fifth-best prospect in baseball in 2009, seventh-best in 2008, and 40th-best in 2007.

He would go on to play parts of 5 seasons with the Jays. In 242 games, he hit .248/.306/.429 with 31 homers.

In 2012, he was traded to the Pirates for reliever Brad Lincoln. He played three seasons for the Pirates. Then, the Pirates sent him to the Orioles. Then, back to the Pirates. Since then, he’s been in the Royals, Rangers, Mets, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Braves systems.

In 8 major league seasons, he has a .244/.311/.399 line with 54 homers in 630 games.

I think of him the same way I think of Dalton Pompey. The team thought or knew something about him that we didn’t. Travis did or didn’t do something that the team didn’t like. Neither got an extended chance with the team, while other players got several opportunities. Somewhere, there is an alternate universe where Snider and Pompey played the outfield for us.

Travis is CEO of 3A Athletics, which strives to help parents and coaches learn how to best help young athletes.

Pat Tabler turns 66 today.

Tabler had a 12-year MLB career. He played 1202 games and hit .282/.345/.379 in 1202 games. I thought he was overrated as a player. He had a 3.1 bWAR total in those 12 years and didn’t have the power you would like from a first baseman/left fielder.

His last two seasons were with the Blue Jays, 1991 and 1992, so he owns a World Series ring thanks to his time with us. He hit .231/.313/.278 in 131 games in those two seasons, primarily playing first base. Naturally, those aren’t the numbers you want to see from a first baseman.

We all know his claim to fame is his batting line with bases loaded. In 109 PA, he hit .489/.505/.693 with 2 home runs and 108 RBI. He was good with RISP, too, .317/.388/.432.

Pat worked in the Jays broadcast booth for 17 seasons. I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he did have his moments. I liked him talking about how a rookie getting his first hit would keep the ball forever, and Dan asked him about the ball from his hit (this was when Pat was doing the games from home). Pat went and got his ball and showed it to us.

Last year, Tabler worked on the Guardian’s TV broadcasts.

Happy birthday, Matt, Paul, Dale, Travis, and Pat. I hope you each have a great day.