Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
This matchup is interesting because as Key was leaving Toronto, Hentgen was emerging. Key pitched 9 seasons for the Blue Jays that overlapped with the beginning part of Hentgen’s 9 seasons with the club.
Key ranks 4th on the Blue Jays all time wins list with 116. He’s also 4th in innings pitched with 1695.2. He’s actually behind Downs in games pitched. He wasn’t really a strike out machine given that he only tallied 944 over 9 seasons. But, he’s tied with Halladay for the all time lead in WHIP at 1.20. Unlike the relievers previously listed, Key started in the bullpen in 1984 and then started for the rest of his 15 year career.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
He was a 2 time All Star during his time in Toronto and finished 2nd in Cy Young voting in 1987 when he led the league in ERA at 2.76. He’s a 45 WAR player who gave the Blue Jays 28 WAR. His best year was in 1987 where he was worth 5.6 WAR. Key has been a part of winning in Toronto for the famous playoff runs. He went 14-6 in 1985 and 13-13 in 1992 before he left for New York in 1993.
Hentgen was coming into his own when Key was ending his time in Toronto. He came up in 1991 and by the time all was said and done, he would collect 107 wins for the Blue Jays, which is good for 5th all time- 9 behind Key. He’s also 5th in innings at 1636 (59 behind Key). For consistency, he ranks 5th in strike outs at 1028, which is better than Key’s 6th place finish.
Hentgen was a 3 time All Star with Toronto who finished 6th in Cy Young voting in 1993 when he won 19 games. He won the Cy Young Award in 1996 when he won 20 games and led the league in innings (265.2) and complete games (10). His ’96 season saw him worth 6 WAR. He gave the Blue Jays 20.3 WAR overall. He would return to the club in 2004 for 16 starts and a 2-9 record.
There you have it. Have your say for the Greatest Pitcher in Blue Jays History. As well, feel free to justify your choices below. Do you feel like we left someone out who should have been there? Think Jason Frasor should have been recognized for his all time Blue Jays high of 505 games? Think Roger Clemens deserved some love for his back to back Cy Young winning seasons in 1997 and 1998? How about David Wells who is 6th all time in Blue Jays wins?
Obviously, in a poll such as this, it is impossible to recognize everyone. There are going to be some snubs. But, feel free to write in your choices. Please don’t remind us of Ricky Romero. And, stay tuned to see how the first rounds went in Jays Journal’s Greatest Blue Jays of All Time voting.