Christopher Jon Widger
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 195 lb.
- School George Mason University
- High School Pennsville Memorial High School
- Debut June 23, 1995
- Final Game September 15, 2006
- Born May 21, 1971 in Wilmington, DE USA
Catcher Chris Widger was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 1992 amateur draft. As a junior in college, he had led the Colonial Athletic Association with 18 homers, hit .343, slugged .721 and hit 20 doubles and made the Association's All-Conference team at catcher. Assigned to the Bellingham Mariners, he hit .259/~.346/.404 and led Northwest League backstops with a .987 fielding percentage.
In 1993, he was with the Riverside Pilots and posted a .264/~.301/.428 line. Moving steadily up the chain, Widger batted .260/.334/.438 for the Jacksonville Suns with 16 homers, making the Southern League All-Star team.
Rated the #6 prospect in Seattle's system entering the year (according to Baseball America), Widger hit .276/~.311/.506 for the 1995 Tacoma Rainiers and made his big league debut. He spent most of the 1996 season in Tacoma as well, batting .304/~.354/.483 and again had a cup of coffee with Seattle.
With Jason Varitek a hotter prospect in the M's system, Chris was traded to the Montreal Expos after the 1996 season as part of a deal for Jeff Fassero. He saw more playing time with the Expos and soon was a regular behind the plate. He had his finest season in 1999, hitting .264 with 14 homers, an 89 OPS+ and 56 RBIs. During the 2000 season, he was traded back to the Mariners, with whom he saw little playing time. After the season, Widger had shoulder surgery, and he did not return to the majors in 2001. He went on to spend time with the New York Yankees in 2002 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003 but played sparingly with both clubs. He hit .244/.300/.456 for the 2002 Columbus Clippers and .239/.304/.423 with the 2003 Memphis Redbirds.
In 2004, Widger played for the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League and hit .267 with 16 home runs and was named to the league's All-Star team. This earned him an invitation to spring training with the Chicago White Sox in 2005. He made the big league club, and although his playing time was limited behind A.J. Pierzynski, he still managed to have his best major league season in five years. He also made his first World Series appearance, going 0 for 1 with an RBI and 2 walks in Game 3 of the Fall Classic. However, he hit just .184 in 2006 and was designated for assignment by the Sox in July. The next month, Widger was signed by the Baltimore Orioles after they traded catcher Javy Lopez to the Boston Red Sox.
Widger was an assistant coach at Pennsville Memorial High School in 2013 and pitching coach for the Camden Riversharks in 2013. In 2015, he took over as manager of the Riversharks in what turned out to be their final season. Widger returned to organized baseball as bench coach of the Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2016 and 2018.
Widger's uncle, Mike Widger, played in the Canadian Football League for nearly a decade.
Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record
|2015||Camden Riversharks||Atlantic League||56-83||7th (t)||Independent Leagues|
|2019||Burlington Royals||Appalachian League||Kansas City Royals|
- Thomas Ayers: "Widger Helps Expos Win Wild One; May 16, 1996: Montreal Expos 14, San Francisco Giants 13 At Olympic Stadium", in Norm King, ed.: Au jeu/Play Ball: The 50 Greatest Games in the History of the Montreal Expos, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2016, pp. 119-121. ISBN 978-1-943816-15-6