Flashback Friday: Pat Tabler’s Long-Standing Bases Loaded Record

Everyone remembers the mammoth trade the Blue Jays executed on December 5th, 1990. Pat Gillick sent shock waves through the industry by dealing Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar.

But do you recall the second-biggest transaction the Blue Jays made that day? It involved one of the most prolific hitters of all time. Prolific comes with a caveat, though.

This Flashback Friday looks back at the often unheralded work of baseball’s biggest clutch hitter. Yes, it’s Pat Tabler.


A bit of a background, first. The Blue Jays inked Tabler to a two-year $1.6 million contract on December 5th 1990, the very same day the team consummated the Carter/Alomar trade.

When one thinks of “clutch” hitters, Tabler doesn’t exactly come to mind. For whatever reason, he was money with men on base over his 12-year career. The Top 25 hitters of all-time include a few Hall of Famers, but it’s littered with a motley crew of journeyman.

Right there at the very top, ahead of Tony Gwynn, there’s Tabler as the best hitter of all time with the bases loaded (with a minimum of 100 plate appearances).

Pat Tabler105109880.4890.5050.6931.1988043632108
Tony Gwynn1531581330.4440.4330.5941.02721159913143
Earl Averill1271321170.410.4620.6071.06913648724129
Gabby Hartnett1241301110.4050.4540.641.09389451214128
Chico Carrasquel1151241090.4040.4440.5961.0410344524108
Felix Millan1161191040.4040.3950.5290.9241164262197
Carlos Guillen1481541270.4020.4030.6221.025122511523140
Mark Grace1631681270.4020.4290.5751.003173511113156
Mike Hargrove109111820.4020.4860.5491.03513633711101
Eddie Murray2983022380.3990.3870.7391.1272859522119299

Tabler didn’t have much extra-base power (32 of his 43 hits were singles), but that translated to a 1.198 OPS all-time with the bases loaded. That’s second to only Albert Belle, who owns a 1.220 OPS with the bases loaded in 114 at bats.

Gone are the days of the 300 win starting pitcher and 500 home run hitter. It might be a long time before any player ever reaches that plateau ever again, but Tabler’s record will almost certainly never be touched.

Now that advanced statistics are readily available, the batting average statistic has lost some of its lustre. Even still, it’s a cool piece of trivia to know that former Blue Jay Pat Tabler has the best batting average with the bases loaded of any MLB hitter ever.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

4 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Pat Tabler’s Long-Standing Bases Loaded Record

  • November 16, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Wow~ Way to go Tabby!

  • October 21, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Wasn’t aware of this fact until now. That’s a fantastic achievement, Tabby!

  • September 14, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    During tonight’s Jays VS Rays game on Sportsnet, Dan Shulman mentioned to google why pat tabler’s fantasy baseball team is named ‘Bases Loaded’. Now I know, way to go Pat!

  • September 9, 2022 at 5:22 pm

    Have you looked closely at these stats? Something is definitely wrong with them. Take Tony Gwynn for example. He has 158 plate appearances with the bases loaded and 211 runs scored. How is that possible? Or Eddie Murray: he has 302 plate appearances but only 238 at-bats. Okay, that implies he walked a lot, right? Meanwhile, his batting average is listed as .399 but his OBP is somehow LOWER than .387 even with a whole lot of walks. That table of stats is out of whack!

Comments are closed.