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Jimmy Key

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Jimmy Key.jpg

James Edward Key

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jimmy Key was signed as a 3rd round pick in the 1982 amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and scout Tim Wilken.

He pitched a total of 15 major league seasons, including the first nine with the Blue Jays. He later pitched for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles. He was a reliever in his first major league season in 1984, going 4-5 with 10 saves and a 4.65 ERA in 63 games, then was a starting pitcher for the remainder of his career. He went 14-6 for Toronto in 1985, helping the team to the first division title in its history, but went 0-1 in two starts against the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. He won 12 or more games for ten consecutive seasons from 1985 to 1994. During that period, he was an All-Star four times, finished second in the voting for the 1987 American League Cy Young Award, when he led the American League in ERA, then was 4th in 1993 and second again in 1994. The 1994 season was cut short by the 1994 strike, and as a result his 17 wins were tops in the American League. Before that, in 1992, he went 13-13 for the first Blue Jays team to win the World Series. He won two games, one as a starter and one in relief, in that year's Fall Classic against the Atlanta Braves.

He was limited to just five starts with the Yankees in 1995, but bounced back to go 12-11, 4.68 in 1996, when the Yankees won their first World Series since 1978. Facing the Braves once again, he won once and lost once in the Fall Classic. He moved to the Orioles in 1997 and had one final excellent season, making the All-Star team for the fifth time while going 16-10, 3.43. He pitched three times in the postseason that year, including two starts but failed to win a game. He broke down in 1998, as only 11 of his 25 appearances were as a starter and he finished at 6-3, 4.20. Teams were willing to offer him a contract for another year, but he decided to call it a career at that point.

Overall, his record in the majors was 186-117 with an ERA of 3.51 in 470 games. He pitched over 2,500 innings, and logged over 200 innings eight times. In 2024, he was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding nine seasons with the Blue Jays.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 5-time AL All-Star (1985, 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997)
  • AL ERA Leader (1987)
  • AL Wins Leader (1994)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 5 (1987, 1991, 1993, 1994 & 1997)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1985-1987, 1989, 1991-1993 & 1997)
  • Won two World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays (1992) and the New York Yankees (1996)

Related Sites[edit]