The 10 best offensive seasons among the worst hitters of the last 30 years: #9 Greg Myers 2003

This is part of a series of posts. Please read our methodology here

Greg Myers spent 18 gregmyersyears in the majors. He mostly played as a backup catcher, and he mostly hit as a backup catcher too. Before 2003, he appeared in 100 games in a season just twice (107 games in 1991, -4 batting runs and 108 games in 1993, -11 batting runs.) Through the 2002 season, Myers averaged 65 games played a year and amassed a total of -80 batting runs.

Then, in 2003, something weird happened. Myers became the Blue Jays’ starting catcher. Ken Huckaby was expected to hold the job (you might recall this was the year he injured Derek Jeter in spring training) but Myers was the starter from the beginning of the regular season.

And you know what? Myers hit. In a career-high 121 games, he posted career highs of 15 HR, 52 RBI, 51 runs, 101 hits, 37 walks, plus career highs in all 3 slash line categories, coming in at .307/.374/.502. His +13 batting runs was second in the AL among catchers, though well behind leader Jorge Posada with +37. Next best were A.J. Pierzynski with +10 and Jason Varitek with +9.

Even more impressive, Myers’ 2003 was the 5th-most batting runs ever by a catcher in his Age 37 season. bested only by Ernie Lombardi (1945, +21),  Mike Piazza (2006, +14), Earle Brucker (1938, +14) and Posada (2009, +14).

That was Myers’ last hurrah, though, as he played in just 14 games over the next 2 years before retiring. He finished with -83 batting runs in the rest of his career outside of his +13 2003.

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aweb
aweb
4 years ago

During that year it didn’t feel like a fluke either. Myers scalded the ball that year. It seemed in keeping for the jays at the time- they got great hitting years from Darrin fletcher right before that, and some good ones from Gregg Zaun right after.

aweb
aweb
4 years ago
Reply to  Andy

Cash couldn’t hit, at all. Huckaby couldn’t hit either, and Cash was the “catcher of the future” of sorts, so Huckaby spent most of the year in the minors. Combined career OPS+ for Cash and Huckaby – 78. Myers alone – 86. Myers was a lefty, so once he started hitting this well, he got the bulk of the platoon time. The other half of the platoon was Tom Wilson, a perfectly fine catcher for a few years himself, who could also hit reasonably well (for a catcher). Looking at Wilson page, he put up great numbers in the minors… Read more »

MJ
MJ
4 years ago

I don’t have records from that far back, but Greg Myers made many appearances on my Rotisserie League teams. I wonder if I caught him in his one good one?

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  MJ

I just hope you didn’t catch him in ’04. If your league was anything like mine he probably went from a $1 or $2 end of the draft pick up to an $8 to $10 mini-bidding war. I don’t know if our group was just an overly optimistic bunch or what but rookies & mid-career breakout cases were virtually always way overpriced.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

I haven’t had anything to say about this series so far, but I do want to indicate that I think it’s a neat idea and I’m enjoying reading these profiles.

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

I don’t think Myers is the first player to have a breakout season when he finally got the chance to start—Bob Cerv comes to mind—but his seems to be the most extreme case, coming so very late in his career and with such a marked improvement over his previous performance. Was he really one of the worst hitters before that, though? I think his low number of walks holds down his OPS and OPS+, but his slugging average topped .400 several times and his BA wasn’t bad for a back-up catcher.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

Luis Aparicio played 18 seasons and accumulated -197 batting runs. He had 2 seasons with positive batting runs, 12 in 1970 and 1 in 1964. He had 17 seasons of OPS+ of 96 or lower and in the other season, 1970, he reached 114. In 12 years Zoilo Versalles accumulated -114 batting runs. He had 2 seasons with positive numbers, 12 in 1965 and 3 in 1964. His 1965 season was good enough for the MVP award. Marv Owen (-110) and Spike Owen (-103) are two others with career negative batting runs and 1 or 2 seasons of positive numbers.… Read more »

David P
David P
4 years ago

Myers had an OPS above 1.000 as late as July 12th. For the rest of the year, he reverted to form, putting up a .683 OPS.

He was also platooned, as he was throughout his career. 88% of his PAs in 2003 and for his career were against righties. Tom Wilson was his platoon partner in 2003.

John Nacca
John Nacca
4 years ago

IMO, I think Myers had a fairly productive career, when you figure he for the most part was a “backup catcher”. I mean if he was a better hitter, chances are he wouldn’t be a backup now, would he? Unlike Charlie Hayes, who was a starter for many years, Myers had more seasons then not where he didn’t even get 200 PA’s (under 200 in 8 of 18 years, and quite a few other years between 200-225). I would hazard a guess in that Myers career will be the “shortest” of any of the Top 10 guys (by that I… Read more »

Doug
Editor
4 years ago

Greg Myers’ other claim to fame is finishing his career with 673 games and 2010 PA without being hit by a pitch. He and Toronto teammate Ernie Whitt are the only expansion era catchers with less than one HBP per 1000 PA in a 3000 PA career.

Jimbo
Jimbo
4 years ago

I remember that year. I also remember Greg Zaun having a similar late career standout season with the Jays. Also a left handed catcher, in 07 Zaun posted a 112 OPS+ while his career OPS was 91.

RichW
RichW
4 years ago
Reply to  Jimbo

Zaun was a switch hitter.