The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Pitchers Part 4 Of A 7 Part Series

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of  my archived articles section here.


Roy Halladay won 148 out of his 199 career wins under the years he played for the Blue Jays. After struggling with his mechanics early in his career, he was one of the best pitchers in the AL for the years of 2002-2009.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Toronto Blue Jays have had some incredible pitchers in their 35 years in the MLB.  From Dave Stieb being one of the top 2 pitchers in the 1980’s, to the dominant closers like Tom Henke and Duane Ward be part of their playoff runs, to Pat Hentgen and Juan Guzman firing out of their career like a sprinter making a mad dash for the finish line, to David Wells, Jimmy Key and Roger Clemens tasting success, awards and leading the league in many categories.  Finally, you had the premier pitcher in the American League with Roy Halladay in the 2002-2009 time frame.  Yes there may be some competition from C.C. Sabathia for that last claim, however no one will argue that Halladay is not one of the best pitchers of this ERA.  His being the Career Leader in winning percentage attests to that with 199 Wins versus 100 Losses (.666).  So let us take a journey through the franchise and recognize all of the best hurlers that have towed the hill for the Toronto club.  (Scroll Down Past the Links or Click the READ MORE OF THIS ENTRY ICON.)

Franchise Series Links:

Franchise History Part 1 1977-1993:

Franchise History Part 2 1994-2012:

The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Hitters: Part 3 Of A 7 Part Article Series:

Skydome Part 5 of 7 :  An Interview with ‘Rogers Centre Expert’ and “MLB reports Founder” Jonathan Hacohen

2013 Team Payroll  Part 6 of 7 :

Special Bonus Fan Blog Of 2013 Team Payroll Part 7 of 7:

Dave Stieb is the clubs ALL-Time Leader in Wins and was 2nd in the Major Leagues in wins to Jack Morris for the decade of the 80’s (140-109 .562.) He threw a no-hitter in Sept of 1990 after losing a no-hitter in consecutive games with 2 outs in the 9th in 1989. Stieb also leads the club in ALL-Time IP (2873), SO (1658) and Games Started (405).

SP=Starting Pitcher, RP=Relief Pitcher

The Early Days at Exhibition Stadium 1977-1983:

Jim Clancy 1977-1988  SP  128-140 (.478)  4.10 ERA:  Jim Clancy was picked 6th overall in the Expansion Draft by the Jays.  He played in the 1st year of the teams existence during the 1977 year.  The man would be part of the rotation for a little over a decade.  He registered 8 seasons of 10+ wins and ranks 3rd in franchise history for wins.  Clancy also is 2nd ALL-Time with 345 Starts.  Clancy led the AL in Games Started in 1982 and 1984. Clancy made an appearance at the 1982 ALL-Star Game for the Jays.  His best year was in 1987, when he went 15-11 with a 3.54 ERA.

Dave Stieb 1979-1992,  1998 SP  175-134 (.566) 3.42 ERA Read in the picture up at the top here for more accolades.  Stieb finished in top 7  AL CY Young Voting in 4 separate years, was a 7 time ALL-Star and is on the clubs Level of Excellence.  Stieb led the American League in ERA for the 1985 Pennant winning Jays, with a 2.48 ERA, he also led the AL in Complete Games, Shutouts and Innings pitched in 1982.  The guy also led the American League in Innings pitched in 1984.  He was great at brushing back hitters as his leading the league in HBP’s 6 times overall indicates.  Stieb also had 103 Complete Games in his career with the Jays.   He went 50-34 from 1982-1984, and then went 52-22 from 1988-1990 as the best stretches of his career.  Stieb was injured during the 1992 season, but was able to be on the field when they clinched the World Series vs the Atlanta Braves.  He won over 15 games in 6 different seasons. His curveball was maybe the nastiest in the game for his ERA.  During a 1998 comeback, at the age of 41, he struck out the side in an inning.  While he would only pitch just over 50 innings that year, that curveball was still as good as ever.  Stieb’s best year came in 1990, where he went 18-6 with a 2.93 ERA.  He is just a shade better than Roy Halladay in ERA (as both had a 3.42 ERA) for their Jays careers.

Doyle Alexander 1983-1986  SP  46-26 (.639)  3.56 ERA:  Doyle Alexander had a great stretch with the Jays while he was there.  The lanky man put up back to back 17 win seasons in 1984 and 1985-and led the American League in Win Pctg for 1984 (.739).  The guy also logged 260+ innings for those years.  Alexander was part of the 1985 Pennant team that lost in 7 games in the ALCS to the KC Royals.  Perhaps Blue Jay fans remember him more for the 1987 AL East Pennant Race, in which he went 9-0 for the Detroit Tigers and helped them erase a 3 and half game deficit against the Jays, with one week left to play.  Alexander finished 6th in Cy Young Voting in 1985 for the franchise.

The Rise to AL East Contender Time 1984-1988:

Tom Henke converted 217 out of 254 Save Opportunities for the Blue Jays. He was part of the 1992 World Championship team before he handed Closer duties over to Duane Ward.

Jimmy Key 1984-1992  SP  116-81 (.589) 3.43 ERA:  Jimmy Key was an awesome member of the Jays pitching staff for the duration of his time there.  He was a 2 time ALL-Star and finished 2nd in AL Cy Young Voting during the 1987 year, when he went 17-8 with a 2.76 ERA.  Key is 4th in ALL-Time wins and is 3rd in ALL-Time ERA for the Franchise.  Key was even better in the playoffs, where he went 2-0 in the 1992 World Series, with a 1.00 ERA to wrap up the World Series MVP Award.  Key went onto win a championship with the New York Yankees in 1996.  Key’s .589 Win PCTG also ranks him amongst the clubs ALL-Time leaders. 

Duane Ward 1986-1995  RP 32-26 (.471) 3.18 ERA 121 SV:  Duane Ward was one of the better set-up men in baseball for the Blue Jays before he took over the closers role in 1993.  Ward had finished 9th in Cy Young Voting in 1991, when he appeared in 81 games.  In 1992, Ward featured a 1.95 ERA, 79 Games and 101.1 IP. It was the 5th year in a row he had hurled over 100 Innings from the Bullpen.  In 1993, Ward made his only ALL-Star Appearance and led the American League with 45 Saves and 70 Games Finished.  He finished 5th in Cy Young Voting.  While Ward struggled in the both ALCS series in 1992 and 1993, he went 3-0 with 2 Saves and a 1.13 ERA in 8 Games of the World Series Classics he appeared in.  He also only gave up 5 baserunners and struckout 13 in 8 IP–for those wins over the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.  Sadly, Ward only pitched 2.2 IP for the rest of his career after the 1993 year.  He still remains 2nd in Saves and Games Appeared in for the club.

David Wells 1987-1992, 1999-2000  84-55 (.604)  4.06 ERA:  Wells was better the 2nd time around with the club as the staff’s ace.   In 1999, he led the American League with IP (231.2) and CG (7) and had a 17-10 year despite a 4.83 ERA.  In 2000, “Boomer” led the American League with 20 wins, Starts (35) and CG again with (9).  He was 37-18 (.673) in those 2 years, as oppose to 47-37 (.559) in his first go around.  Wells made an ALL-Star Appearance with the club in 2000-and finished 3rd in Cy Young Voting.  In the 1992 World Series Championship run, Wells threw 4.1 scoreless innings over 4 games out of the pen versus the Braves. 

Tom Henke 1985-1992  RP  29-29 (.500) 2.48 ERA  217 SV:  Henke was one of the best closers in the game for his stretch with the Toronto Blue Jays.  He was an intimidating force with his 10.3 SO/Per 9 clip.  He led the American League in Saves (34) during the 1987 year and Games Finished (62).  Crazily enough, this was the only year the big guy from Kansas City, MO would make an ALL-Star squad.  Henke is 3rd ALL-Time in Franchise History for Games Pitched in with 445-and batters only hit .203 versus his him in his time in a Blue Jays uniform.  Henke was also 2-0, with a 1.83 ERA and 5 saves during 4 different playoff years with the Jays.  He won a World Series Title with the 1992 team, before being granted Free Agency and signing with the Texas Rangers prior to the 1993 year.  His 2.48 ERA is the best amongst the meaningful relievers.

Todd Stottlemyre 1988-1994  SP  69-70 (.491)  4.39 ERA:  Todd Stottlemyre was one of the better end of the rotation pitchers in MLB from 1990-1994.  He is 7th ALL-Time in Innings Pitched for the franchise with 1139 Innings.  His best year came in 1991, when he went 15-8 with a 3.78 ERA.  The man was part of both World Series Titles and logged many important innings during  both of those regular seasons.  He is 8th in ALL-Time Franchise Wins.

The Cito Gaston ERA Part 1/SKYDOME  1989-1996:

Many People are unaware of this, Juan Guzman has the best winning percentage of ALL-TIME MLB History after 50 Career Decisions. Guzman went 39-11 (.780) to start his career. He was a big game pitcher who performed when it counted most, especially during the World Series years of 1992 and 1993.

Juan Guzman 1991-1998  76-62 (.551)  4.07 ERA:    Guzman helped anchor a pitching staff that won back to back World Series in ’92 and ’93, by going 5-1 with a 2.44 ERA in his postseason starts.  Guzman would routinely walk batters and throw wild pitches (Led the AL in WP in 1993 (26) and 1994 (13), but when he was looking at runners in scoring position,  he often left them stranded with a strikeout or a weak grounder.  In 1991, he finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year Voting,  by going  10-3 with a 2.99 ERA.  In 1992, he made his only ALL-Star Appearance for the club, by registering a 16-5 year, with a 2.64 ERA and finished 7th in Cy Young Voting.   In 1993, he was 14-3 and his .824 Winning Percentage led the American League.  In 1994, he led the American League with 25 starts in a strike-shortened season.  In 1996, the man won the ERA Title with a 2.93 ERA.   Even though Juan struggled by going 36-51 after his record stretch from 1991-1993 (40-11), there is no doubt he belongs on this list.

Pat Hentgen 1991-2000, 2004   SP  107-85  (.557)  4.28 ERA:  This 3 Time ALL-Star also won the clubs 1st Cy Young Award in 1996, with a 20-10 season and a 3.22 ERA.  Hentgen led the AL in CG (10), SHO (3) and IP (with a career high 265.2 IP).  Hentgen’s breakout year came in the 1993 Championship club, where he went 19-9 and featured and ERA of 3.87.  He would go 13-8 (.619) during the 1994 strike-shortened campaign.  Hentgen followed up his brilliant 1996 year, by going 15-10 with a 3.68 ERA in 1997.  Once again, he led the AL in CG (9) SHO (3) and IP (264.0).  The man only trails Stieb, Halladay, Clancy and Key for ALL-Time club Wins.  Hentgen won Game #3 of the 1993 World Series versus the Phillies, in which he only surrendered one earned run in 6 IP-during a 10-3 win.

Paul Quantrill 1996-2001  30-34 (.469) 3.67 ERA 15 SV, 386 G, 125 GF:  In a new stat column that is increasing in popularity every year, Quantrill finished 125 Games in 6 different seasons for the club without significant time as the closer.  This Canadian born reliever was an Appearance horse.  During his last year with the Jays, he appeared in American League best 81 games.  He would lead this category in the League he was in during 3 subsequent seasons more consecutively between the Dodgers and Yankees respectively.  Quantrill finished 11-2 in the 2001 year with a 3.04 ERA and made his only ALL-Star Appearance with the club.  He was traded to the Dodgers after the 2001 season.

Cast of Revolving Doors 1997-2000:

Roger Clemens came off of a 10-13 year with Boston in 1996, to sign a 4 year deal worth about 30 Million wit  the Blue Jays. He fulfilled 2 years of the contract in winning 41 games before he was dealt to the New York Yankees for David Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd. Amidst this time frame, have been accusations of PED use.

Roger Clemens 1997-1998  SP  41-13 (.759)  2.33 ERA:  Whether anyone likes it or not, Clemens 2 seasons with the Blue Jays were incredible.  He racked up 2 Cy Young’s, 2 ALL-Star Appearances and led the Triple Crown Categories of Wins, ERA and Strikeouts.  Clemens also led the 1997 American League with 3 Shutouts, 9 Complete Games and Innings Pitched with 264.0.  In 1997, he was 21-7 (.750), with a mind-boggling 2.05 ERA.  There are only 2 other pitchers in the AL (Ron Guidry 1978, 1.74 ERA and Pedro Martinez 2000-1.74 ERA, and himself 1990, Boston, 1.93 ERA) that have had a better single season ERA for the AL in the existence of the Blue Jays time frame of 1977-2012.  In 1998, he was 20-6 (.769), with a 2.65 ERA.

Kelvim Escobar 1997-2003  SP/RP  58-55 (.513)  4.58 ERA  58 SV:  There was a debate within myself whether or not to include Escobar amongst this list of pitchers.  If I added him, then surely I might have to add Chris Carpenter.  Escobar had 9 more wins, a bit better win pctg and 0.25 ERA lower than Carpenter.  In the end, I also gave him credit for his 58 Saves out of the pen.  He was 5th in Saves for the American League in 2002.  I left Carpenter in the honorable mentions

Billy Koch 1999-2001  RP  11-13  (.458)  3.57 ERA  100 SV:  With Radar gun Speeds over 100 MPH at a wicked rate, this big Right Handed Closer had 3 straight 30+ Save Seasons, all good for top 7 finishes in the American League.  Koch sits 3rd ALL-Time for Saves behind Henke and Ward.  In 2000, he was 9-3 with a 2.63 ERA and 36 Saves.

The Doc Halladay Movement 2001-2007:

J.P Ricciardi was highly criticized for signing often-injured A.J. Burnett to a 5 YR/55 Million Dollar Contract before the 2006 year. Burnett rewarded the Jays with 3 years of good pitching before opting out of his final 2 years of his contract prior to the 2009 year. Burnett signed a new deal with the New York Yankees to the tune of 5 YRS/82.5 Million Dollars.

Roy Halladay 2001-2009  SP  148-76  (.661)  3.43 ERA:  There is no doubt that this man has been the best Blue Jays pitcher ever in the regular season.  Heck, he is the active leader for win PCTG amongst pitchers.  He is 2nd in the clubs ALL-Time Wins behind Stieb by 27, but possesses 65 fewer losses.  Halladay almost was out of baseball early in his career, before a trek back through the minors saw him realize his potential.  In 2002, he went 19-7, with a 2.93 ERA and made his 1st ALL-Star Game.  He led the AL in Innings with 239.1 IP.  In 2003, he took him his 1st CY Young Award by going 22-7, with a 3.25 ERA.  He led the league in Wins, GS, SO, CG, IP (Career High of 266.1 IP) and was named to another ALL-Star selection.  In 2005 he led the league in CG with 5, despite only starting 19 Games. 

He was 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA.  He was an ALL-Star for the 3rd of 6 times with Toronto.  In 2006, Halladay went 16-5 (.762), his winning percentage topped the American League and he finished 3rd in Cy Yong Voting.  From 2007-2009, he also finished in the top 5 Cy Young Vote for the AL.  He led the League in CG every year and in IP in 2008.  In 2008 and 2009, Halladay also led the AL in SO.  In 2008, Halladay had his second 20 win season with the Jays, by going 20-11 in 34 starts and 250.2 IP.  Had he stayed with the franchise, he would have easily passed all of Dave Stieb’s records as he has gone 51-24 (.680) for the Phillies including a no-hitter and perfect game performance each.  Halladay will likely enter the Baseball Hall of Fame one day and chances are he will do it as Toronto Blue Jay.  That would be a first.

Shawn Marcum 2005-2010  SP  37-25 (.597)  3.85 ERA:  Marcum’s numbers are almost identical to A.J.  Burnett’s.  Holding down a near .600 win PCTG, despite logging many games versus a tough lineup of AL East teams is no small feat.  Marcum’s best year with the Jays came in 2010 after bouncing back from Tommy John surgery for a couple of years.  He went 13-8 (.619), with 195.1 Innings logged and a career high 165 Strikeouts.

A.J. Burnett 2006-2008  SP  38-26 (.594) 3.94 ERA:  Burnett bucked all of the doubters and was worthy of his contract with the Jays.  He led the American League with 35 starts and 231 SO in the 2008 year, while compiling a 18-10 record and a 4.07 ERA.  He finished 4th in the AL in wins that year too.   His winning percentage was really decent despite playing on the Jays, where they were just a few games over .500 for those years.

Bautista’s Boys 2008-2012:

Ricky Romero 2009-Present  SP  51-43 (.543)  4.09 ERA:  Romero’s career took a big hit in the 2012 year.  He regressed for the 1st time.  In his 1st 3 years with the club, the man was 42-29.  In 2011, he was an ALL-Star and finished in top 10 AL CY Young Voting,  His ERA went down from 4.30 in 2009, to 3.73 in 2010, to 2.92 in 2011 and bounced up to 5.77 in 2012.  Romero is a quality young Left-Handed Pitcher in a vaunted AL East.  His numbers as an ALL-Time Jay, warrant his name in this article, even with the brutal 13 game losing streak of 2012.

Honorable Mentions:

Chris Carpenter, Mark Eichorn, John CeruttiLuis Leal, Mike Timlin, Jason Frasor, B.J. Ryan and Jack Morris.

Probably solid futures of Current Roster:

Brandon Morrow, Casey Janssen 

Franchise Series Links:

Franchise History Part 1 1977-1993:

Franchise History Part 2 1994-2012:

The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Hitters: Part 3 Of A 7 Part Article Series:

Skydome Part 5 of 7 :  An Interview with ‘Rogers Centre Expert’ and “MLB reports Founder” Jonathan Hacohen

2013 Team Payroll  Part 6 of 7 :

Special Bonus Fan Blog Of 2013 Team Payroll Part 7 of 7:

Ricky Romero started out the year out 8-1 in 2012 to push his lifetime record to 50-30 (.625) at the time and was poised to have his best win season of his career. He then lost 13 straights before ending the streak with a win late in the year. Romero’s ERA went from 2.92 in 2011 to 5.77 in 2012. As the clubs #3 or #4 starter in 2013, he should benefit against other clubs #3 and #4 starters.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ***

  ***Chuck Booth- Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days Reports click here.  I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB.  You can reach me on Twitter here

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at

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