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Happy Birthday Pat Hentgen

And Santiago Espinal

Toronto Blue Jays - Spring Training Practice - Dunedin, Florida - March 3, 2004
Love the mustache
Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

I’m slow getting this up, it is our last full day in Mexico. Tomorrow we have the long flight home. There was a little bit of drinking today. Well, there was a lot of drinking today. We went for lunch and as we were finishing, there was a big-time rainstorm. So, since we were under a roof and there was alcohol, we decide to wait it out. It went on for a while. And the drinks kept coming.

I have to apologize to Minor Leaguer, because 2 or 3 of us at the table decided we should start texting him. And then there was a decision to plan our next trip and some at the table thought ML should come along with us.

A side note, with smartphones, the time between the casual idea that maybe we should have a trip in February and the booking of said trip, can be very short. I think I visited the washroom and by the time I was back things were pretty much planned. We’ll see if it seems as good an idea tomorrow morning when we wake up, hopefully far closer to sober.

It is Pat Hentgen’s 53rd birthday today.

Pat will always be one of my favourite former Blue Jays player.

He was the Cy Young winner (the first Jay to win the award) in 1996, going 20-10 with a 3.22 ERA and pitching an outstanding 265.2 innings. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a starter throw 250 innings or more? He also made 4 All-Star teams. And he has two World Series rings. He didn’t pitch in the 1992 playoffs, but he had a win in the 1993 World Series against the Phillies. He was in line to pitch game 7 before Joe Carter ended the series in game 6.

As a Jay, he was 107-85 with a 4.28 ERA in 10 seasons, playing in 270 games, 238 starts.

He sits 4th in team history in WAR at 26.7. 5th in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, and games started.

After the 1999 season, the Jays traded him to the Cardinals, with Paul Spoljaric for Alberto Castillo, Matt DeWitt, and Lance Painter. It wasn’t one of our better trades. After one season in St. Louis, he signed as a free agent with the Orioles. After three seasons there, he came back to the Jays for one last season and retired.

He was 131-112 with 1 4.32 ERA in 344 games, 306 starts, and a 33.0 bWAR.

And he talked to us. So if you want to see the interview, we spread over 5 parts. One, two, three, four, and five.

Pat has kept in the organization, he was bullpen coach in 2011, then left after the season for family reasons, and he also did that job again in 2013.

A few years back, he did a few innings in the TV broadcast booth. I thought he did an excellent job. I’d love to see him do it more often.

Happy birthday Pat. I hope it is a good one.

And Santiago Espinal turns 27 today.

Espinal had a very nice rookie season, hitting .311/.376/.405 in 92 games, with 2 home runs, 22 walks and 30 strikeouts. Great work Santiago.

Happy Birthday. I can’t wait to see you play next year.