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Poll Time: Best Closer in Blue Jays History

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
The winner for best save celebrations.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Halladay won our best starter poll with 68% of the vote. Dave Stieb had 20%. I’d imagine if more of us had watched Stieb the vote would have been much closer. I change my mind about which one was better every few days. They were both competitors, both who hated to lose.

For the first few seasons of the Jays existence we really didn’t have a closer. We didn’t win enough to make a closer useful.

  • Roy Lee Jackson was kind of nominally a closer. Over four seasons he had 30 saves. He pitched in 190 games and had a 3.50 ERA.
  • Dale Murray was a Jay for 2 seasons. He missed most of the 1981 season. In 1982, he had 11 saves, a 3.16 ERA in 56 games (111 innings). Why he was one of best closers is because of a trade: After the 1981 season, he and someone named Tom Dodd were traded to the Yankees for Dave Collins, Fred McGriff and Mike Morgan.
  • Tom Henke: Our franchise leader in saves. He had 217 saves, in 8 seasons, with a 2.48 ERA over 446 games. He was a ‘free agent compensation pick’. The Rangers signed Cliff Johnson, as a free agent and, at the time, there was this strange system to give teams something back if they lost a free agent. So, really they weren’t “free”agents. At the end of August, the Rangers traded Johnson back to us, for 3 guys that really didn’t become major leaguers.
  • Duane Ward: He came to us from the Braves in a trade for Doyle Alexander. About a year later, the Braves traded Doyle to the Tigers for John Smoltz. Our trade went well, but the Braves got a Hall of Famer. Ward was the set up man for Henke, until Henke left the team. Ward was a Jay for 9 seasons. He had 121 saves and a 3.18 ERA, in 452 games and 650.2 innings. He had our single season record with 45 saves in 1993.
  • Kelvim Escobar: Kelvim was a Jay for 7 seasons. He was our closer for the first and last, and a starter in between. He had 38 saves in 2002.
  • Mike Timlin: In 7 seasons, he had a 3.62 ERA. He was mostly a set up man, but saved 31 games in 1996.
  • Billy Koch: He was our closer for 3 seasons and had 100 saves with a 3.57 ERA. He was 7th in Rookie of the Year voting in 1999.
  • B.J. Ryan: He had 4 seasons with the Jays. He had 2 good seasons, saving 38 games, in 2006 (with a 1.37 ERA) and 32 games in 2008. He missed most of 2007 after Tommy John surgery and he was having a crappy 2009 season before he was released in July.
  • Scott Downs: Was a Blue Jay for 6 seasons, spent most of the time as a lefty setup man. In 347 games he had a 3.13 ERA. He was a favorite of mine.
  • Jason Frasor: Jason is our franchise leader in games pitched. In 9 seasons, he pitched in 505 games. He was mostly a setup man, and occasional closer.
  • Kevin Gregg: He was big and he was scary. He was only a Jay for one season, but he had 37 saves that year.
  • Casey Janssen: Casey was a Blue Jay for 8 seasons. He made 17 starts, in his rookie season, but he was really meant to be a reliever. He was our closer for 3 seasons, 2012 to 2014 and saved 81 games in those seasons. In total, 90 saves, 3.52 ERA in 389 games. As a reliever he had a 3.12 ERA in 415 games.
  • Roberto Osuna: Well you know. 3 seasons into his career he has 95 saves, making him number 4 on our all time list. Three more season and he might be passing Henke.


Who was the Blue Jays best closer?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Roy Lee Jackson
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Dale Murray
    (0 votes)
  • 66%
    Tom Henke
    (1455 votes)
  • 6%
    Duane Ward
    (150 votes)
  • 0%
    Kelvim Escobar
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Mike Timlin
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Billy Koch
    (27 votes)
  • 1%
    BJ Ryan
    (28 votes)
  • 0%
    Scott Downs
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Jason Frasor
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Kevin Gregg
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    Casey Janssen
    (45 votes)
  • 21%
    Roberto Osuna
    (465 votes)
  • 0%
    Someone else?
    (3 votes)
2189 votes total Vote Now