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Top 55 All-Time Greatest Blue Jays: #53 Mike Timlin

mike timlin
mike timlin

Michael August Timlin | RP | 1991-1997

Mike Timlin will always have a special place in my heart as he not only got the final out in the Jay's first World Series, he also made the assist on the final play, fielding Otis Nixon's bunt single attempt and throwing to Joe Carter at first just in time to get Nixon. And for that he gets to a place as one of my favorite players forever.

Mike and Jeff Kent had a battle to see who would be the last member of the team still playing in the MLB. Both made it to the end of he 2008 season. If you want to be precise, both players were on teams that made it to the playoffs that year and both teams lost out in the League Championship Series. Kent's Dodgers lost out in game 5, October 15. Jeff pinch hit. Red Sox lost out in game 7 on the 19th, so I guess Timlin won out, though the last game he got into was game 4 on the 14th. Let's just call it a tie. 

Mike Timlin was born March 10, 1966 in Midland, Texas. He was drafted in the 5th round of the 1987 amateur draft out of Southwestern University. He was your basic two pitch reliever throwing a two-seam sinking fastball and a slider or in Bill James words a great slider. His slider goes in on the hands of a right handed batter. He's always been a much better pitcher against right handed batters compared to lefties.

In 1991, his rookie year,  Mike appeared in 63 games, starting 3 of them. He finished the season 11-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 3 saves. In 108.1 innings he gave up 94 hits and 50 walks, 6 home runs and struck out 85. His wins, innings pitched and strikeout numbers are all still career highs. He was tied for league lead in relief victories and got 2 third place votes for Rookie of the Year to finish 6th in the voting. Just to let you know how long ago that was, Chuck Knoblauch was the Rookie of the Year. The Jays made the playoffs that season and lost out to the Twins in 5 games. Timlin appeared in 4 of the games taking the loss in game 3.

In 1992  the Jays won their first World Series. Timlin started the season on the DL, after off season elbow surgery and rehabbed in the minors till June 12 and then was optioned to the minors again July 31st. He didn't have a great season only getting into 26 games, in the majors, finishing 0-2, with a 4.12 ERA. He pitched 2 in 2 game in the ALCS and 2 games in the World Series picking up the save in the 11th inning of the final game of the World Series.

In our second World Series season Timlin was an important part of our pen appearing in 54 games with a 4-2 record, 1 save with a 4.69 ERA. In 55.2 innings he allowed 63 hits, walked 27, and gave up 7 homers, so not an terribly impressive season. He pitched in 1 game in the ALCS against the White Sox and had 2 scoreless appearances in the World Series win over the Phillies.

Mike didn't have a great season in 1994 making only 34 appearances with a 5.18 ERA. He went on the DL on May 27 with a sprained AC joint. After the All-Star break he had just a 2.38 ERA. 1995 he had more injury troubles, he gave up one home run all season, a grand slam on June 21 then went on the DL to have bone chips removed from his elbow the next day. He only allowed 1 earned run after returning from the DL August 18th. He finished with his lowest ERA ever as a Jay 2.14 with 5 saves.

In 1996 he became our closer recording a career high 31 saves in 38 opportunities. He led the club with 59 appearances and had a 3.65 ERA with a 1-6 record. In 56.2 innings he allowed 47 hits, 18 walks and 4 homers while striking out 52. But it wasn't a good season for the team, we finished 74 and 88.

In 1997 Timlin made 38 appearances and was 3-2 with 9 saves and a 2.87 ERA when he was traded to the Seattle Mariners with Paul Spoljaric for Jose Cruz on July 31st. The Mariners were in a pennant race and needed bullpen help and were willing to trade Cruz their first round pick in the 1995 amateur draft. It was a great trade for the Jays and you'd imagine it would be when you trade two middle reliever types for a young power hitting outfielder. Though the Mariners did win their division and that season and Timlin did a good job for them for the next season and a half before leaving as a free agent after the 1998 season.

Since then Mike has played for the Orioles, Cardinals, Phillies and, for 6 years, the Red Sox, winning two World Series with them. He was signed by the Rockies,  in July 2009, and played a bit for their Triple-A team, but was released in August. Timlin has 4 World Series rings. He's had 18 years in the majors and he has appeared in 1058 games, 7th on the all time list. In 2007 he was awarded the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award for ummmmmm oh well, I'm really not sure what for. ‘Given to the player who best exemplify his character and integrity both on and off the field'. I suppose it would be a bad thing to note that the bastion of integrity Pete Rose once won the award too. And Mark McGwire. Just saying.

Mike and his wife Dawn have 2 children Jake and Mykala. He does charity work for the Angel Fund which raises money for ALS research at the Massachusetts General Hospital and his wife ran the Boston Marathon in 2004, 2005 and 2006 in support of that charity. He enjoys hunting and golf, likely not at the same time. I guess the most important piece of information about Mike, at least to my youngest son, is that he once appeared on the cartoon show Arthur.

Mike Timlin's place among Jay pitching leaders:

Games 11th 305

Batters faced: 39th,1685

Saves 6th 52

Strikeouts 27th 331

Walks 29th 167

Games Finished 3rd 175