Monday, June 20, 2011
#388) PAT TABLER
Pat Tabler was traded by the Kansas City Royals to the New York Mets in exchange for Archie Corbin on August 30, 1990. The right-handed power hitter was brought over to provide a veteran bat from the bench. "The guy's reputation is for hits in clutch situations," said Mets pitcher, Bob Ojeda. "When you make a deal for a guy at this stage, it's nice when it's a guy who is a proven commodity at this level."
Tabler joined a Mets club that was two games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League East. "Every player wants a chance to be on a championship baseball team and be involved in a pennant race," Tabler was quoted. "This is exciting."
The man nicknamed, "Mr. Clutch" was indeed that during his brief stay in New York. Serving well as an effective pinch-hitter in most of his appearances, and continuing an uncanny ability to hit with the bases loaded. When slugger Darryl Strawberry went down to back spasms the Mets called upon Tabler to be his replacement. It was during this time that Pat delivered his only home run for New York. A three-run blast that effectively sealed the 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium on September 28th. Important as it allowed the Mets not to fall further behind Pittsburgh.
The Mets would amass 91 wins, but finish four games behind the Pirates in the division. Pat was in 17 games and drove in a total of 10 runs with a .279 batting average. New York would offer Tabler a chance to remain as their pinch-hitter for 1991, but he elected to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent on December 5, 1990. Pat would contribute to their 1992 World Series Championship season.
After his playing career he has enjoyed success as a broadcaster for the Jays. "Being part of a live baseball broadcast is definitely a challenge." says Tabler. "However, there is no place that I would rather be than at the ballpark with the players and the fans. I missed that atmosphere from my playing days, and it may sound a little cliché but I truly have the best seat in the house."
Pat Tabler signed his card in the set for me (with an assist from my friend Lee in Cincy) before the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds game at Great American Ballpark on June 18, 2011.