Thunder Bay Border Cats

Last updated

Thunder Bay Border Cats
Thunder Bay Border Cats logo 2013.jpg
Founded2003 [1]
Ballpark Port Arthur Stadium
Based in Thunder Bay, Ontario
Team ColoursRed, Black
League Northwoods League
Team ManagerEric Vasquez
League Championships2 (2005, 2008)
Division Championships3 (2005, 2006, 2008)

The Thunder Bay Border Cats are a baseball team that plays in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league. The league's only Canadian team, their home games are played at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario.


The Border Cats have been Northwoods League champions twice, defeating the Madison Mallards two games to one in both 2005 and 2008. They also were in the Northwoods League championship in 2006, but lost to the Rochester Honkers. [2]

As of 2019, the Border Cats have sent six players to the major leagues. Matt Mangini was the first to make the jump, playing 11 games for the Seattle Mariners in 2011. Shortstop Jonathan Diaz followed two years later, playing four games with the Boston Red Sox in 2013. Diaz also spent time with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, almost making the team out of spring training. Pitcher Blaine Hardy became a regular in the Detroit Tigers bullpen in 2014. Seth Frankoff pitched in one game for the Chicago Cubs, while A.J. Schugel spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Wes Parsons is currently with the Atlanta Braves in a relief role.

The Border Cats will not play their 2021 season due to "the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic regarding the Canada-US border closure as well as outdoor gathering numbers". [3] A travel team known as the Minnesota Mud Puppies, based in the Twin Cities region, will play the Border Cats' originally scheduled 36 road games during the 2021 season. [4]

2009 All-Star Game

The 2009 Northwoods League All-Star Game was held on July 21 in Thunder Bay. This was the first time the All-Star game played in Canada. The guest speaker for the event was Ferguson Jenkins, a Canadian member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The game was won 4-2 by the South Division squad, led by the MVP performance of Kurtis Muller, who went 3-for-5.

Notable active alumni & those reaching AAA/Majors

NamePositionPro AffiliateLevelLeagueTeamStatusMajors
Oney Guillen INFChicago White SoxAAAInternational LeagueCharlotteNot activeN
Zach Daeges OFBoston Red SoxAAAInternational LeaguePawtucket Red SoxNot activeN
Reid Mahon RHPArizona DiamondbacksAASouthern LeagueMobileNot activeN
Matt Camp OFChicago CubsAASouthern LeagueTennesseeNot activeN
Jonathan Diaz INFNew York YankeesAAAInternational LeagueScranton/Wilkes-BarreNot active2013-2015
Scot Drucker RHP--INDAmerican AssociationGrand PrairieNot activeN
Marc Maddox INFKansas City RoyalsAAAPacific Coast LeagueOmahaNot activeN
Matt Mangini INFSeattle Mariners--MLBSeattleNot active2010
Eric Wordekemper RHP--AAAMexican LeagueOlmecas de TabascoNot activeN
Craig Heyer RHPNew York YankeesAAEastern LeagueTrentonNot activeN
Jon MuellerRHPChicago CubsAAAPacific Coast LeagueIowaNot activeN
Chris Curley INFChicago White SoxAAAInternational LeagueCharlotteNot activeN
A.J. Schugel RHPPittsburgh Pirates--MLBPittsburghNot active2015-2017
Ryan Court 3BSeattle Mariners--MLBSeattle MarinersActive2019
Matt JohnsonOFBoston Red SoxACarolina LeagueSalemNot activeN
Blaine Hardy RHPDetroit Tigers--MLBDetroit TigersActive2014-2019
Jason Vosler SSSan Francisco GiantsAAAPacific Coast LeagueEl Paso ChihuahuasActive2021
Dan Rizzie CNew York MetsAANortheast Binghamton Rumble Ponies ActiveN
Michael Papierski CHouston AstrosAAATriple A WestSugar Land SkeetersActiveN
Greg Weissert RPNew York YankeesAFlorida State LeagueTampa TarponsActiveN
Cole Stapler RHPArizona DiamondbacksAASouthern LeagueJackson GeneralsActiveN
Wes Parsons RHPColorado Rockies--MLBColorado RockiesFree agent2018-2019
Seth Frankoff LFArizona Diamondbacks--MLBArizona DiamondbacksActive2017, 2020-2021
Nate Nolan CChicago White SoxAAATriple A EastCharlotte KnightsActiveN
Jacob Robson OFDetroit TigersAADouble A NortheastErie SeaWolvesActiveN
Mat Batten 2BSan Diego PadresAAAInternational LeagueEl Paso ChihuahuasActiveN
Bobby Honeyman 3BSeattle MarinersAADouble A CentralArkansas TravelersActiveN
Andy Weber SSChicago CubsAADouble A SouthTennessee SmokiesActiveN
  Reached Majors

Year-by-year records

2003 Northwoods League North3133.484Mitch Dunn--
2004 Northwoods League North3232.500Mitch Dunn--
2005 Northwoods League North4424.647Chad MillerWon championship
2006 Northwoods League North2938.433John HerreraLost final
2007 Northwoods League North2840.412Jared Manske--
2008 Northwoods League North4226.618Devin McIntoshWon championship
2009 Northwoods League North2741.397Joel Barta--
2010 Northwoods League North3138.449Mike Steed--
2011 Northwoods League North2940.420Mike Steed--
2012 Northwoods League North3237.449Andy Judkins--
2013 Northwoods League North2149.300Dan Holcomb--
2014 Northwoods League North2349.319John Hernandez--
2015 Northwoods League North3338.465Danny Benedetti--
2016 Northwoods League North2151.282Danny Benedetti--
2017 Northwoods League North2743.386Mitch Feller--
2018 Northwoods League North2250.306Mitch Feller--
2019 Northwoods League North2447.338Eric Vasquez--
2020 Northwoods League NorthMike Steed--
2021 Northwoods League NorthMike Steed--
TOTAL Northwoods League North496676.423----

Related Research Articles

Frontier League Professional baseball league

The Frontier League is a professional independent baseball league with teams in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Eastern Canada. Formed in 1993, it is the oldest currently running independent league in the United States. The league is headquartered in Sauget, Illinois. In 2020, the Frontier League, together with the American Association and the Atlantic League, became an official "MLB Partner League."

Northern League (baseball, 1993–2010)

The Northern League was an independent minor professional baseball league. It was not affiliated with Major League Baseball or the organized minor leagues. The league was founded in 1993 and folded after its 2010 season when financial stability became a problem. The three teams remaining in the league when it folded joined with the remaining teams in United League Baseball and the Golden Baseball League to form a new independent organization called the North American League.

Minnesota Thunder Football club

Minnesota Thunder was an American professional soccer team based in Minnesota, United States. Founded in 1990, the team played in the USL First Division (USL-1), the second tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, until 2009. The team played its home games at the National Sports Center in nearby Blaine, Minnesota for its final two seasons. The team's colors were navy blue, light blue, silver, and white.

Doug Mientkiewicz American baseball player

Douglas Andrew Mientkiewicz is an American retired professional baseball first baseman, who most recently served as the manager for the Toledo Mud Hens. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He is one of five American players to win both an Olympic gold medal and a World Series championship which he won with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Northwoods League

The Northwoods League is a collegiate summer baseball league. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate. The league is amateur, and players are not paid, so as to maintain their college eligibility. Graduated senior pitchers are also eligible to play in the Northwoods League. Each team may have four of these players at a time.

Traverse City Beach Bums

The Traverse City Beach Bums were a professional baseball team based in the Traverse City, Michigan, suburb of Blair Township, in the United States. The Beach Bums played in the East Division of the Frontier League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Since their establishment in 2006, the Beach Bums played their home games at Wuerfel Park.

St. Cloud Rox (collegiate summer baseball)

The St. Cloud Rox are a baseball team that play in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league. Their home games are played at the Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud, Minnesota. As of June 26, 2018, 198 former Northwoods League players have gone on to play Major League Baseball. Most notable: Curtis Granderson, Andre Ethier, Jordan Zimmerman, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Juan Pierre, Jeff Weaver & Pat Neshek.

Robb William Quinlan is a former Major League Baseball utility player. He played first base, third base, corner outfield, catcher and designated hitter.

American Association of Professional Baseball

The American Association of Professional Baseball is an independent professional baseball league founded in 2005. It operates in the central United States and Canada, mostly in cities not served by Major League Baseball teams or their minor league affiliates. Joshua Schaub is the league commissioner. League offices are located in Moorhead, Minnesota. Though a separate entity, the league shared a commissioner and director of umpires with the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball during that league's existence. The American Association of Professional Baseball has 501(c)(6) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. In 2020, as part of MLB's reorganization of the minor leagues, the American Association, together with the Atlantic League and the Frontier League, became an official "MLB Partner League".

Triple-A (baseball) Highest level of competition in Minor League Baseball

Triple-A is the highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States since 1946. Currently, two leagues operate at the Triple-A level, Triple-A East and Triple-A West, with a total of 30 teams, 20 in the East and 10 in the West. Triple-A teams can be located both in smaller cities as well as larger metropolitan areas without Major League Baseball teams, such as Austin, Jacksonville, Columbus, and Charlotte.

John Baptiste "Jack" Cressend III is an American former professional baseball pitcher. Cressend played for the Minnesota Twins (2000-2002) and Cleveland Indians (2003-2004).

Argenis Díaz Venezuelan baseball player

Argenis Díaz is a Venezuelan former professional baseball shortstop. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010.

Rene Tosoni Canadian baseball player

Rene Michael Tosoni is a Canadian former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins in 2011 and has also played in International competitions with the Canada national baseball team. He is six feet tall and weighs 194 lbs. He bats left-handed, yet plays his position right-handed.

The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers were a baseball team that played in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league. Their home games were played at Mills Field in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Luke Hughes Australian baseball player

Luke Trevor Hughes is an Australian former professional baseball infielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics and in international competition for the Australia national baseball team. Hughes currently has the most career home runs in the Australian Baseball League with 56.

The St. Cloud Rox were a professional minor league baseball team that existed from 1946 to 1971 in St Cloud, Minnesota, playing in the Northern League for the duration of the franchise.

Lakeshore Chinooks

The Lakeshore Chinooks are a baseball team based in Mequon, Wisconsin, United States and a member of the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league. The Chinooks play their home games at Kapco Park on the campus of Concordia University Wisconsin.

Craig Heyer American professional baseball pitcher (born 1985)

Craig D. Heyer is an American professional baseball pitcher. Prior to becoming a professional, Heyer played college baseball at the College of Southern Nevada and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

Duluth–Superior Dukes

The Duluth–Superior Dukes were a professional baseball team based in Duluth, Minnesota. The Dukes were a charter member of the modern Northern League, which started play in 1993. The Dukes played their home games at Wade Stadium. After the 2002 season, the Dukes were moved to Kansas City where they were renamed the T-Bones.

Owen Robert Miller is an American professional baseball shortstop for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB).


  1. Millea, John (July 27, 2004). "Fielding big dreams". Star Tribune .
  2. Milewski, Todd (August 22, 2005). "Mallards Dethroned By Late Run". The Capital Times . Retrieved January 3, 2007.
  3. Reichard, Kevin (March 5, 2021). "Thunder Bay drops out of 2021 Northwoods League season". Ballpark Digest. August Publications.
  4. "Minnesota Mud Puppies". Northwoods League. Retrieved June 9, 2021.