The Toronto Blue Jays' Top 10 Individual Pitching Seasons in Franchise History
The Toronto Blue Jays have had a storied history since the franchise's inception in 1977. The Jays were MLB's best franchise from 1983-1993, and the rosters included numerous star pitchers.
These players ranged from Dave Stieb to Jack Morris, Jimmy Key to Tom Henke, and many more.
The Jays brought life to baseball fans in Toronto with their amazing play during the early 1990s, a period that saw them win two consecutive World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.
In this list, I count down the top 10 best individual pitching seasons in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays.
10. Juan Guzman (1992)
Stats: 16-5, 2.64 ERA, 28 GS, 180.2 IP, 165 K, 1.146 WHIP
Guzman was an integral part of the World Series-winning rotations, as proven by his season in 1992 at just 25 years of age. Guzman had electric stuff but was somewhat an enigma with the Jays, as he was very inconsistent.
Guzman also struggled to stay healthy, but his 5-1 postseason record with the Jays is what matters the most.
9. Tom Henke (1987)
Stats: 34 Saves, 2.49 ERA, 72 Games, 92 IP, 128 K, 0.926 WHIP
The best closer in Toronto Blue Jays history, Henke had many magnificent seasons with the Jays before leaving the team for Texas after winning the 1992 World Series.
Tom Henke carried his excellent play into the postseason, racking up a career 1.83 ERA in 19.2 innings of work.
8. Dave Stieb (1985)
Stats: 14-13, 2.48 ERA, 36 GS, 265 IP, 167 K, 1.140 WHIP
Originally an outfielder, the Jays told Stieb that they would draft him if he converted into a pitcher, and that could not have turned out much better than it did.
Stieb was the Jays' first true star and came within one out of a no-hitter three times before he accomplished the feat against the Cleveland Indians.
Fortunately, Stieb was able to hang around long enough to win the 1992 World Series with the team, although he did not pitch in the postseason.
7. Duane Ward (1993)
Stats: 45 Saves, 2.13 ERA, 71 G, 71.2 IP, 97 K, 1.033 WHIP
Duane Ward really took advantage of his opportunity to be closer once Tom Henke left after the 1992 season.
Always the setup man before the 1993 season, Ward dominated hitters and ended up leading the league in saves.
Before the 1993 season, you had better hope you were winning after six innings when playing the Jays, because the one-two combo of Henke and Ward was the best in the league and could shut any team down.
6. Roy Halladay (2003)
Stats: 22-7, 3.25 ERA, 36 GS, 266 IP, 204 K, 1.071 WHIP
The best pitcher in franchise history, Halladay had an amazing 2003 season and won the American League Cy Young Award in a landslide over Esteban Loaiza for his efforts.
In 2003, Halladay led the league in wins, starts, innings pitched, complete games, shutouts, and strikeout/walk ratio, proving that Halladay was way ahead of the rest of the pitchers.
5. Pat Hentgen (1996)
Stats: 20-10, 3.22 ERA, 35 GS, 265.2 IP, 177 K, 1.250 WHIP
Pat Hentgen became the first Toronto Blue Jay to win the Cy Young Award with his 1996 season. This was the first of three straight years that a Toronto pitcher would win the award.
Hentgen led the league in complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, and home runs per nine innings. He just barely beat out Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees for the Cy Young.
4. Roy Halladay (2008)
Stats: 20-11, 2.78 ERA, 33 GS, 246 IP, 206 K, 1.053 WHIP
Roy Halladay was a complete pitcher in 2008, striking out hitters with more regularity to go with the amazing number of groundball outs his sinking fastball induced.
Halladay would have won his second Cy Young if not for a pitcher named Cliff Lee pitching way over his head.
Halladay led the league in complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, WHIP, and strikeouts per walk.
3. Jimmy Key (1987)
Stats: 17-8, 2.76 ERA, 36 GS, 261 IP, 161 SO, 1.057 WHIP
Easily Jimmy Key's best season as a Toronto Blue Jay, the left-hander was the ace for the Jays in 1987, and he just missed out on becoming the first Jay to win the Cy Young award, losing it to Roger Clemens.
Key led the league in ERA, ERA-plus, WHIP, and hits per nine innings.
2. Roger Clemens (1998)
Stats: 20-6, 2.65 ERA, 33 GS, 234.2 IP, 271 SO, 1.095 WHIP
Roger Clemens was a man on a mission during his short tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays were able to sign Clemens because the Red Sox thought he was getting too old to be an effective pitcher.
In his second and final season with the Jays, Clemens led the league in wins, ERA, strikeouts, ERA-plus, hits per nine innings, home runs per nine innings, and strikeouts per nine innings.
1. Roger Clemens (1997)
Stats: 21-7, 2.05 ERA, 34 GS, 264 IP, 292 SO, 1.030 WHIP
Throughout the entire history of the Toronto Blue Jays, no pitching season comes close to the one Roger Clemens had in his first year as a Jay during the 1997 season.
Clemens led the league in wins, ERA, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, strikeouts, ERA plus, WHIP, and strikeouts per nine innings.