Thunder Bay Border Cats

Last updated

Thunder Bay Border Cats
Thunder Bay Border Cats logo 2013.jpg
League Northwoods League
Location Thunder Bay, Ontario
Ballpark Port Arthur Stadium
Founded2003 [1]
League championships2 (2005, 2008)
Division championships3 (2005, 2006, 2008)
ColorsRed, black
ManagerMike Tallari

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] The Border Cats were again left dormant for the 2022 season, with a return intended for the 2023 season. [5]

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 MarinersNot active2019
Matt JohnsonOFBoston Red SoxACarolina LeagueSalemNot activeN
Blaine Hardy RHPDetroit Tigers--MLBDetroit TigersActive2014-2019
Jason Vosler SSSeattle Mariners--MLBTacomaActive2021-2023
Dan Rizzie CNew York MetsAAANortheast Binghamton Rumble Ponies Not activeN
Michael Papierski CSeattle Mariners-MLBSeattle MarinersActive2022
Greg Weissert RPBoston Red SoxAAAInternationalBoston Red SoxActive2022-2023
Wes Parsons RHPToronto Blue Jays--MLBToronto Blue JaysActive2018-2019, 2023
Seth Frankoff LFArizona Diamondbacks--MLBArizona DiamondbacksActive2017, 2020-2021
Nate Nolan CChicago White SoxAAATriple A EastCharlotte KnightsNot activeN
Jacob Robson OFDetroit Tigers-InternationalToledo MudhensActive2021
Matthew Batten 2BSan Diego Padres-MLBEl Paso ChihuahuasActive2022-2023
Penn Murfee RPAtlanta Braves-MLBAtlanta BravesActive2022-2023
Brandon Williamson SPCincinnati Reds-MLBBrandon WilliamsonActive2023
Andy Weber SSArizona DiamondbacksAAAPCLReno AcesActiveN
  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 Great Plains East2447.338Eric Vasquez--
2023 Northwoods League Great Plains East2741.397J.M. Kelly--
TOTAL Northwoods League North/Great Plains East523718.421----

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  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.
  5. "2022 Season Update". December 7, 2021.