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Blue Jays Birthdays: Erik Hanson

Erik Hanson

Erik Hanson turns 56 today.

Hanson was the Mariners 2nd round pick of the 1986 draft. He made it to the majors in 1988 and spent 6 pretty good seasons with the M’s with a 56-54 3.69 ERA in 145 games, 143 starts.

Before the 1994 season, he was traded to the Reds. He had an ok season there (5-5, 4.11 in 21 starts) in the lockout-shortened year. Erik then signed as a free agent with the Red Sox and had a good season with a 15-5 record and a 4.24 ERA in 29 starts, making the All-Star team.

That caught GM Gord Ash’s attention, who signed him to a big (for the day) free-agent contract, 3 years, and $9.4 million.

As with many of Ash’s moves, it didn’t go well. Not that it was totally Gord’s fault, injuries caused Erik’s troubles, but it was a lot of money for a guy who had been pretty average throughout his career and was into his 30s. And Ash seemed to be a magnet for pitchers who had or were about to have arm troubles. Teams are much more careful with physicals before signing or trading for pitchers than they were back then, or at least more careful than Ash ever was.

His first Jays season was a disappointment. He went 13-17 in 35 starts. The next two seasons were ruined by injuries, he made 14 appearances, 10 starts, over the two years, with a 6.61 ERA. In total, he had a 5.68 ERA win a 13-20 record in 49 games in the three seasons with the Jays.

He made a list of 10 worst seasons for Blue Jays pitchers, here at Bluebird Banter.

10) Erik Hanson, 1996: 13-17, 5.41 ERA (93 ERA+), 102 BB, 156 K, 214.2 IP, 1.607 WHIP.

Hanson signed a three-year deal with the Jays in December of 1995, coming off an All Star campaign with the Red Sox, but things quickly disintegrated after a solid debut. Hanson gave up at least four runs in each of his next seven starts and never really found his groove. His walk rate jumped by 36 percent while his home run-rate rose and his strikeout percentage dropped. It was later discovered he had been pitching with a torn labrum all season. Hanson tried to come back in 1997 and 1998, and pitched a grand total of 64 innings across the two seasons, but wound up hurting his elbow and retired.

And a list of worst Blue Jays free agent signings on

Running a guy out there for 200+ innings with a ‘torn labrum’ was a kind of an example of how Cito treated his starting pitchers back in his first term with the Jays.

After the Blue Jays released him, he signed with the Angels and then with the Royals but never pitched in the majors again.

Happy birthday, Erik, I hope it is a good one.