TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 14: Toronto Blue Jay legend Tom Henke salutes the fans prior to a MLB game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 14, 2011 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Former Blue Jay closer Tom Henke turns 54 today.
Henke was picked up by Jays GM Pat Gillick from the Texas Rangers, before the 1985 season, as compensation for the Rangers signing free agent Cliff Johnson. Johnson only played 82 games for the Rangers before they traded him back to the Jays. It really didn't work out for the Rangers. For the Jays it was great.
Henke didn't look like much with the Rangers, he pitched in 25 games, with a 6.35 ERA, in 1984. Somehow Gillick saw something in him and made him our closer. Over the next 8 seasons, Henke saved 217 regular season games for the Jays and had 5 more saves during our 1992 playoff run that led to our first World Series win.
After the 1992 season he left the Jays to sign as a free agent with the Rangers. The Jays let him go to make room for Duane Ward to take over the closer job.
Henke is our franchise leader in saves (Ward is number two on the list). He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
Happy Birthday, Tom, hope you have a great one.