Nearly two decades ago, the Chicago White Sox invested a first-round draft pick on a Stanford athlete who played quarterback in football and earned all-America honors in baseball.
Then the White Sox signed their top pick, Joe Borchard, to a then-record $5.3 million contract.
Borchard reached the majors but really feasted off Class AAA pitching, setting a number of Charlotte Knights career records that still stand.
On Friday night, prior to Charlotte’s 7:04 p.m. game at BB&T Ballpark against Rochester, the Knights will induct Borchard into the team’s Round Table of Honor.
Borchard, 40, has been retired from baseball for eight years. He batted .205 and hit 26 home runs in parts of six major league seasons with the White Sox, Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins.
But with the Knights, from 2002 to 2006, he set team records for games played, at-bats, home runs, doubles, RBIs, runs scored, and walks. In his first year of AAA ball, in 2002, he hit .272 with 35 doubles, 20 home runs, and 59 RBI. He had 110 hits in Charlotte the following season.
Borchard followed that with 16 homers in 2004 and 29 in 2005, before he was dealt to the Marlins organization.
He was signed out of Camarillo High in southern California by Stanford, where he had a 177.1 quarterback rating in 1999 and was a three-time baseball all-America. As late as 2011, when Borchard was playing for an independent league team in Connecticut, his manager told reporters that he expected Borchard to be signed by a major league team that season.
But Borchard, who had earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford in 2009, was ready to move on. He retired, saying he wanted to spend more time with wife Erin and children Ellie and Charlie. Borchard still lives in Charlotte and is a financial analyst.
He will be the seventh member of the Round Table of Honor. First baseman Jim Thome, manager Charlie Manuel and former Charlotte O’s owner Frances Crockett were inducted in 2016. Knights owner Don Beaver and the late Drungo LaRue Hazewood, an outfielder with the O’s, were inducted in 2017. Outfielder Brian Daubach joined the group last year.
Here is a look at the Knights during the past week, and what’s ahead:
Tuesday: Charlotte scored eight runs in the first inning and pounded Columbus 12-5. Adam Engel had three hits.
Wednesday: Danny Mendick had three hits, but the Knights lost at Columbus 6-2.
Thursday: The series finale in Columbus was postponed by rain. No makeup date has been announced.
Friday: The Knights placed catcher Zach Collins, one of the top prospects in the White Sox organization, on the injured list. On the field, Charlotte lost 5-1 at Louisville, with Alcides Escobar and Matt Skole each getting two hits.
Saturday: Pitcher Ross Detwiler, a first-round 2007 draft pick by Washington, signed with the White Sox and was assigned to Charlotte. On the field, the Knights’ game in Louisville was halted in the seventh inning by rain.
Sunday: Charlotte won the completion of Saturday’s suspended game, 7-6. Mendick slammed a two-run homer. But the Knights lost the second game, 5-4 in 10 innings. Charlotte starter Justin Nicolino worked five innings, allowing only two runs.
Week ahead: The Knights, now third in the International League’s South Division, host Rochester at 7:04 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; and are home against Lehigh Valley at 7:04 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:05 p.m. Sunday.
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle