5. Tom Henke
The best reliever in Blue Jays history is without a doubt Tom Henke. His career as a Blue Jay got off to a flying start as he had 13 saves in his first 28 appearances as a Blue Jay. Strangely enough, he finished seventh in the Rookie of the Year balloting and 20th in the American League MVP voting. He only threw 40 innings so it’s strange that he’d even be in MVP consideration.
Henke’s best season came in 1987 when he was an All-Star and had a 2.49 ERA in 72 appearances. He led the league with 34 saves in 42 opportunities. At the time those 34 saves set a single-season franchise record. He also struck out 12.3/9 which is an impressive number, especially in those days. His 182 ERA+ shows just how dominant he was that season.
Henke and Duane Ward were two dominant relievers pitching in the same bullpen for a long stretch, which was a key reason why the Jays were successful. It’s a shame that Henke left after the 1992 season, and Ward’s career was cut short by injury, but they both left a lasting impact on the franchise.
In his Blue Jays career, he went 29-29 with a franchise-best 2.48 ERA in 446 appearances. He had a franchise-record 217 saves while being the leader with 10.3 K/9 as well. He was dominant year after year for eight seasons, culminating in a World Series victory in the 1992 season when Henke had three saves in the ALCS, with two more in the World Series.