A Season of Stars, Saints Celebrate 25th Anniversary Season With Historic Players and Their BobbleheadsST. PAUL, MN March 9, 2017
A long and storied history of players have worn the St. Paul Saints uniform. Some used it as a stepping stone to an illustrious career, others used it to finish off their playing days and some even used it to make history. With the Saints celebrating their 25th season in 2017 a few of these players will be honored on their own special day plus be immortalized in bobblehead form as Ila Borders, Kevin Millar, J.D. Drew, Jack Morris and Darryl Strawberry will all be honored during the 2017 season.
The bobblehead fun kicks off on Saturday, May 27, almost 20 years to the day of her professional debut, with the most historic player in franchise history, Ila Borders. The left-handed pitcher became the first female to play professionally when Borders made her debut with the Saints on May 31, 1997, coming on in relief in Sioux Falls against the Canaries. Despite facing only three batters, and not recording an out, the historic moment wasn’t lost on anyone in attendance. In her very next outing Borders once again came out of the bullpen and struck out the side. Borders pitched a total of seven games for the Saints that season before being traded to the Duluth-Superior Dukes. She would earn her first professional win in 1998 with Duluth-Superior. Borders went on to play four seasons, with her best season coming in 1999 with Madison of the Northern League, going 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 15 appearances.
On June 24 the Saints will welcome back the 1993 team that went on to win the Northern League title. Along with honoring that team the second bobblehead in the commemorative series will be given out, a unique Kevin Millar-Bill Murray giveaway presented by CHS. The bobblehead is a re-enactment of an iconic photo from that first year with Saints owner Bill Murray and infielder, and future Major Leaguer, Kevin Millar sitting on a couch at Municipal Stadium (later changed to Midway Stadium). Millar has a glove on his left hand, dressed in his Saints uniform, with his right index finger pointing out something to Murray. Murray is sitting to Millar’s right and looking out into the distance wearing a cap and track suit. The pose was recreated last October, prior to Game 7 of the World Series in Cleveland. Millar currently works for the MLB Network and Murray is an avid Cubs fan. While the giveaway re-creates that exact pose both Murray and Millar’s head will bobble.
The man known for helping the Boston Red Sox come back from 3-0 down to the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, and going on to win their first World Series in 86 years, began his career with the Saints in 1993. Millar hit .260 with five home runs and 30 RBI in 63 games for the Saints and had his contract purchased by the Florida Marlins. He spent five years in the Marlins minor league system before making his Major League debut in 1998. Millar played 12 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Marlins, Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays.
J.D. Drew will get his day in the sun as his bobblehead is given out on Wednesday, July 26 presented by Walser Automotive Group. Drew was a college standout at Florida State University where he was the winner of the 1997 Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award, Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. After not coming to terms with the Phillies following the 2007 draft where he was selected second overall, Drew elected to sign with the Saints. He destroyed Northern League pitching during his 44 games with the Saints in 1997 hitting .341 with 18 homers and 50 RBI. His 18 home runs that year rank tied for 10th in a single-season in franchise history. He returned in 1998 and played a half season prior to going back into the draft. He once again was a man among boys hitting .386 with nine home runs and 33 RBI in just 30 games. His .359 career average ranks fourth in franchise history.
Following his 30 games with the Saints, Drew was selected fifth overall in the 1998 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He spent 45 games in the minor leagues before making his Major League debut on September 8. 1998, the same game Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record. Drew hit .417 with five homers and 13 RBI in 14 games that season. Drew would play 14 Major League seasons for the Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers and Red Sox.
After 18 seasons in the Major Leagues, including one of the most memorable pitching performances in World Series history with the Minnesota Twins in 1991, Jack Morris joined the Saints in 1996 to finish off his career. The St. Paul native, who graduated from Highland Park High School in St. Paul, gets his bobblehead day on Saturday, August 5, presented by Treasure Island. Despite pitching just half a season, Morris pitched the Saints to a first half title. He went 5-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 10 starts and was on the mound for the one game playoff to decide the first half champion against Madison. Morris went a full nine innings, but the game was tied. He turned the ball over to the bullpen and the Saints won the game, and the first half title, in 12 innings. Following that start Morris retired from a 20 year career in baseball.
Morris was a fifth round selection by the Detroit Tigers in 1976 and spent 32 games in the minor leagues between 1976 and 1977 before being called up to the Tigers. The five-time All-Star, and 1991 World Series MVP, played for the Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays and Indians.
As if having Morris on that 1996 team wasn’t enough, Darryl Strawberry played 29 games for that team and obliterated Northern League pitching to the tune of a .435 batting average with 18 homers and 39 RBI. The 18 home runs is tied for 10th most in a single-season in franchise history. For the second time in Saints history Strawberry will have a bobblehead made of him and fans can get it on Wednesday, August 23.
Strawberry was the first overall pick by the New York Mets in 1980 and had an impressive 17-year Major League career with the Mets, Dodgers and Yankees. He used his time with the Saints to prove to Major League organizations that his life was back on track, after battling substance abuse, and re-signed with the Yankees. He won two World Series’ in that time with the Yankees, to go along with the one he won with the Mets in 1986. Strawberry was an eight time All-Star, the 1983 Rookie of the Year and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
During each giveaway the first 1,500 fans that enter through the gates will receive a bobblehead. All game times for the bobblehead giveaway are 7:05 p.m. and gates will open at 5:30 p.m. There is a limit of one bobblehead per fan, regardless of the amount of tickets in hand.
Saints tickets continue to be a tremendous value. Tickets begin at $5 for the Treasure Island berm seating (available only on day of game in person at the box office), $6 for bleacher seats, $14 for outfield reserved, $16 for the drink rail and $18 for infield reserved and home plate reserved. Friday Home Games with Post-Game Fireworks are an additional $2 per ticket. Post-Game Fireworks Supershows (May 28, July 2 and August 31) are an additional $3 per ticket. Tickets purchased on the day of the game are an additional $2 per ticket. Children under the age of 12 and seniors 65 and older receive $1 off the admission price. Children under 2 that don't require a seat are free.
Beginning March 18, Saints Box Office hours on non-game days are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. On game days, the Box Office will open at 9 a.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and 12:00 p.m. on Sunday and will remain open until 15 minutes following each game. Tickets are always available at saintsbaseball.com.
The Saints open the 2017 season on Thursday, May 18 with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats. For more information contact the Saints at 651-644-6659 or visit saintsbaseball.com.