Back in the good old days of baseball, fathers taught their less-talented sons to be catchers, knowing there was always a shortage of quality backstops. A good gloveman and respected pitch-caller with a weak bat, Servais typified this age-old chestnut.
Servais broke into the majors with the Houston Astros in 1991 thanks to his ability to guard home, but the ‘Stros ran out of patience with his anemic hitting and traded him to the Chicago Cubs with Luis Gonzalez for catcher Rick Wilkins in December 1999. With the Cubs he did enjoy a few good swings from 1995 to 1997, when he hit in the .270s and banged double-digit home runs in each season. But his hitting declined to .222 in 1998 and he spent the 1999-2000 seasons touring the west with the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies as a backup before landing back in Houston as the Astros’ third-string catcher. Although he spent most of the 2001 season in the minors, he did manage to whack six hits in his 16 big-league at-bats.
Servais caught for the 1987 American team that won the silver medal in the Pan American Games and then followed that achievement with a gold medal performance for the 1988 Olympic Team.