Blue Jays: Who Follows José Bautista onto the Level of Excellence?

Division Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers - Game One
Division Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers - Game One / Scott Halleran/GettyImages
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Tom Henke

Prior to the 1985 MLB Season, the league had what is now a discarded and odd “free agent re-entry draft” that was never done again after this season.  However, during that draft, the Blue Jays selected Texas Rangers 27-year old relief pitcher Tom Henke who was coming off a season he split between Texas and their Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.  With the Rangers, Henke posted a 6.35 ERA with a WHIP just shy of 2.00 so the Blue Jays had him start the season in the minors after removing him from their 40-man roster.

Henke would start his Blue Jays career with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs and was nothing short of dominant that would lead to a mid-season promotion.  Henke made 39 appearances with the Chiefs, collecting 18 saves with a 0.88 ERA and an astonishing 0.604 WHIP.  Almost immediately after being called up by the Blue Jays he would become the clubs closer and held this role through the 1992 World Series.

There was not one postseason appearance that stands out for Henke as he was dominant in all of them.  From 1989-1992, the Blue Jays appeared in the playoffs in three out of four seasons and during those series he made 12 appearances and allowed just one run.  During the 1992 run in particular, Henke made seven appearances collecting five saves and posting a 1.13 ERA.

In eight seasons with the club he posted a 2.48 ERA over 563 innings pitched and had a 1.025 WHIP while averaging 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings and collecting 217 saves, nearly 100 ahead of the next pitcher in franchise history.  Despite being a relief pitcher, Henke sits eighth all-time in pitching WAR in the franchise, while also leading in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts per nine innings, among some lesser known stats. Henke earned the nickname the Terminator due to his dominance for the Blue Jays through the second half of the 1980s and early 1990s.

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