Jimmy Key

James Edward Key (born April 22, 1961) is a former left-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Toronto Blue Jays (1984–1992), New York Yankees (1993–1996), and Baltimore Orioles (1997–1998). His best personal years were in 1987, when he posted a 17–8 record with a league-leading 2.76 ERA, and in 1993, when he went 18–6 with a 3.00 ERA and 173 strikeouts. With the Blue Jays, he won the 1992 World Series and with the Yankees, he won the 1996 World Series, both over the Atlanta Braves.

Jimmy Key
Pitcher
Born: April 22, 1961 (age 58)
Huntsville, Alabama
Batted: Right Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 6, 1984, for the Toronto Blue Jays
Last MLB appearance
September 20, 1998, for the Baltimore Orioles
MLB statistics
Win–loss record186–117
Earned run average3.51
Strikeouts1,538
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Career

High school

Key was an outstanding baseball player at S. R. Butler High School in Huntsville, Alabama.[1] He compiled a 10–0 record, and had nine shutouts and a 0.30 ERA in his senior year. Key was also an excellent hitter, batting .410 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs in his high school career.

Clemson University

Key attended Clemson University, where he played college baseball for the Clemson Tigers baseball team in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). At Clemson, Key posted a 9–3 record and 2.79 ERA on the mound, and batted .300 with 21 doubles. Key is the only Clemson player to be a member of the first-team All-ACC in two positions (pitcher and DH) in 1982. He pitched the opening game of the 1980 College World Series.[2]

Toronto Blue Jays

Key was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the third round of the 1982 amateur draft.[3] He worked his way up the Blue Jays' minor league system during 1982 and 1983, putting up respectable numbers with the Florence Blue Jays (South Atlantic League), the Medicine Hat Blue Jays (Pioneer League), the Knoxville Blue Jays (Southern League), and the Syracuse Chiefs (International League) before heading to Toronto.

Key made his Major League debut on April 6, 1984 and was utilized in relief situations through his inaugural year, notching 10 saves and a 4.65 ERA.[4] He wore number 27 in his first season and 22 for the duration of his Blue Jays career.

Key moved into the starting rotation in 1985 and quickly became a cornerstone in the rotation, leading the Blue Jays to their first postseason appearance that year. More postseason appearances would follow, culminating in a World Series championship in 1992. In the 4th game of that series, Key made his final start for the Blue Jays,[1] surrendering one run over ​7 23 innings to earn the win and put the Jays up 3–1. He left the game to a tremendous ovation. Key would appear once more in the series, as a reliever in the 10th and 11th innings of the 6th and deciding game, earning another winning decision in the series.[5]

New York Yankees

Key signed a four-year contract as a free agent with the New York Yankees on December 10, 1992.[6] He posted a 49–23 record in 94 games over three seasons with the Yankees. He had his career high of 173 strikeouts in the first year with the Yankees in 1993, and he led the majors with 17 wins in the strike-shortened season of 1994.[3]

He spent time with the Gulf Coast Yankees (1–0 and 0.00 ERA) and Tampa (0–0 and 2.77 ERA) of the Florida State League during rehab assignments during his last season with New York in 1996. In his final start as a Yankee, he outdueled Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves in the deciding game of the World Series.[3]

Baltimore Orioles

Key signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles on December 10, 1996[3] and posted a 22–13 record in 59 appearances over two seasons. A free agent in his final season, Key retired from the game after the 1998 season largely due to injuries. He made US$7.73 million with the Orioles over 2 seasons. He wore the number 21 with the Orioles (22 having been retired by Baltimore in honor of Hall of Famer Jim Palmer.)[3] He was assigned to Fredrick of the Carolina League in 1998 (1–0 3.00 ERA) during his final rehab stint. Key was granted free agency for the last time on October 27, 1998 by Orioles GM Pat Gillick, the same GM who granted him the same conditions in Toronto in 1992.

Strengths and weaknesses

Key was one of the premiere control pitchers in the game with a good strikeout-to-walk ratio over most of his career. His fastball was not particularly speedy, but was often effective as he could spot it on both corners of the plate—although when his pitch went high, opponents fared well. He also possessed a fine backdoor slider. He had a very good pickoff move to first base, which he notably demonstrated in Game 4 of the 1992 World Series by picking off Otis Nixon, one of the game's premiere base stealers at the time. (During his windup his right knee was bent so that his right foot did not cross the rubber and he could throw to first base without incurring a balk).

Key tended to give up more than his share of home runs even while holding his opponents' on-base percentage to a low level. He was injury-prone with significant down time in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996 and 1998. Contrary to some reports, Key never underwent Tommy John surgery. Instead, noted surgeon James Andrews removed bone chips, costing Key several months in the middle of the 1988 season.[7]

Post-career

Following his retirement from baseball, Key found new life as an amateur golfer. Now living in Palm Beach Gardens, he has become prominent in the local golfing community.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Felts, Jerry (18 October 1982). "Huntsville native gets good news". Times Daily. p. 6B. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2010-03-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Clemson bio
  3. ^ a b c d e https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/keyji01.shtml
  4. ^ Sorci, Rick (November 1985). "Jimmy Key Helped Open the Door of Opportunity for Blue Jays". Baseball Digest. Lakeside Publishing. 4 (11): 50. ISSN 0005-609X. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  5. ^ http://www.bluebirdbanter.com/2009/5/11/872139/top-50-all-time-jays-7-jimmy-key Birdbanter
  6. ^ Curry, Jack (December 11, 1992). "BASEBALL; Yankees Finally Get It Right and Land a Lefty". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2014-03-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ http://www.palmbeachpost.com/sports/content/sports/epaper/2008/09/20/a9b_golfru_0921.html

External links

Preceded by
Mark Langston
American League All-Star Game Starting Pitcher
1994
Succeeded by
Randy Johnson
1979 Chicago White Sox season

The 1979 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 80th season overall, and their 79th in Major League Baseball. They finished with a record 73-87, good enough for fifth place in the American League West, 15 games behind the first-place California Angels.

1985 American League Championship Series

The 1985 American League Championship Series was played between the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays from October 8 to 16. Major League Baseball decided to extend the Championship Series in both leagues from its best-of-five (1969–1984) to the current best-of-seven format starting with this year, and it proved pivotal in the outcome of the ALCS. The Blue Jays seemingly put a stranglehold on the Series, earning a three games to one lead over the Royals after four games. However, Kansas City staged an improbable comeback, winning the next three games to win the American League Championship Series four games to three. The Royals would proceed to defeat their cross-state rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the World Series four games to three.

1987 Toronto Blue Jays season

The 1987 Toronto Blue Jays season was the franchise's 11th season of Major League Baseball. It resulted in the Blue Jays finishing second in the American League East with a record of 96 wins and 66 losses. They had been in first place by 3½ games over the Detroit Tigers with a week left to play, but they dropped their next seven games in a row, capped off by a sweep at the hands of Detroit at Tiger Stadium on the last weekend of the season, and lost the division by two games.

1989 Toronto Blue Jays season

The 1989 season was the Toronto Blue Jays' 13th season of Major League Baseball. It resulted in the Blue Jays finishing first in the American League East with a record of 89 wins and 73 losses. They lost the ALCS in five games to the eventual World Series champion Oakland Athletics. It was the team's last season at Exhibition Stadium, before moving to SkyDome halfway into the season. The Blue Jays hit eight grand slams, the most in MLB in 1989.

1990 Detroit Tigers season

The 1990 Detroit Tigers season was the 90th season in franchise history. The Tigers finished in third place in the American League East, with a record of 79-83. They scored 750 runs and allowed 754. Notably, Cecil Fielder reached the 50 Home Run plateau, the first and last Detroit Tiger to hit at least 50 home runs since Hank Greenberg in 1938.

1991 American League Championship Series

The 1991 American League Championship Series was played between the Minnesota Twins and the Toronto Blue Jays from October 8 to 13. The Twins defeated the favored Blue Jays, winning the Series four games to one. Minnesota would go on to face (and ultimately defeat) the Atlanta Braves in seven games in 1991 World Series, ranked by ESPN as the greatest ever played.

This was the first postseason series played entirely indoors, as both teams played in domed stadiums.

Minnesota outfielder Kirby Puckett was named the Series MVP, based on his .429 batting average, two home runs, and five RBI.

1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 62nd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1991, at SkyDome in Toronto, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays of the American League. It was only the second time that the game was played outside the United States, as the National League's Montreal Expos hosted the 1982 Midsummer Classic at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 4-2. Both the winning and losing pitchers represented the Canadian teams; the Blue Jays' Jimmy Key earned the win while the Expos' Dennis Martínez was given the loss. This was also the only All-Star Game to be awarded by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, who awarded the game to the Blue Jays on Canada Day 1989.

1993 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1993 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 64th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 13, 1993, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, the home of the Baltimore Orioles of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 9-3.

This is also the last Major League Baseball All-Star Game to date to be televised by CBS.

1993 Major League Baseball draft

The 1993 Major League Baseball draft began with first round selections on June 3, 1993. Alex Rodriguez was selected first overall by the Seattle Mariners. Other notable draftees included Chris Carpenter, Torii Hunter, Jason Varitek, Scott Rolen, future NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, and Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward.

1993 New York Yankees season

The New York Yankees' 1993 season was the 91st season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 88-74 finishing 7 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for their first winning season since 1988. New York was managed by Buck Showalter. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. This would be the last time the Yankees would miss the playoffs until 2008.

1994 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1994 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 65th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 12, 1994, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League—tying the Indians for the all-time record of most All-Star Games hosted by one franchise, as the Pirates had also hosted in 1944, 1959, and 1974 (and would again in 2006). The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 8–7 in 10 innings. It was the National League's first win since 1987.

This All-Star Game also marked the inaugural telecast for The Baseball Network, a joint-venture between Major League Baseball, ABC and NBC. This was NBC's first television broadcast of a Major League Baseball game since Game 5 of the 1989 National League Championship Series on October 9 of that year.

1994 New York Yankees season

The New York Yankees' 1994 season was the 92nd season for the Yankees. New York was managed by Buck Showalter and played at Yankee Stadium. The season was cut short by the infamous 1994 player's strike, which wiped out any postseason aspirations for their first postseason appearance since losing the 1981 World Series and that their star player and captain, Don Mattingly, had. On the day the strike began, the team had a record of 70-43, ​6 1⁄2 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, the best record in the American League and the second-best record in Major League Baseball. The Yankees were on pace to win at least 100 games for the first time since 1980. The Yankees' ace, 33-year-old veteran Jimmy Key, was leading the majors with 17 wins and was on pace to win 24 games. Right fielder Paul O'Neill was also having a career year, as he was leading the league with a .359 batting average.The strike is remembered bitterly by Yankees fans as it shook sports fans in New York City and the Yankees to the core and made 1994 one of the worst years in New York City sports history, and has been named among the 10 worst moments in New York City sports history, primarily because Mattingly had not played in a postseason. It was also seen as the frustrating peak of the Yankees' downfall of the 1980s and early 1990s.Many fans said that the strike and the lost Yankees season was another blow to baseball backers in New York City, following the move of the Dodgers and the Giants to California for the 1958 season, the demise of the Yankees during the 1960s and early 1970s, and the bad baseball at Shea Stadium during the late 1970s and early 1990s. The strike ruined the chance for the Yankees to follow in the footsteps of the NHL Stanley Cup Champion Rangers and NBA Eastern Conference Champion Knicks by making the championship round of their respective sport.

Because the Yankees' last postseason appearance had been in a season cut short by a strike, the media often remarked on the parallels between the two Yankee teams (1981 and 1994), which included both teams having division leads taken away by strike. Throughout October, they continued to bombard the Yankees, making speculations about what might have been if there had not been a strike.

1997 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1997 Baltimore Orioles season saw the Orioles finishing 1st in the American League East with a record of 98 wins and 64 losses. They met the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS, and beat them in 4 games. However, in the ALCS, they would play the Cleveland Indians, where they would fall in 6 games. It would be their last winning season until 15 years later.

Al Widmar

Albert Joseph Widmar (March 20, 1925 – October 15, 2005) was an American starting pitcher and a pitching coach in Major League Baseball.

Between 1945 and 1952, Widmar played for the Boston Red Sox (1947), St. Louis Browns (1948, 1950–51) and Chicago White Sox (1952). He batted and threw right-handed. As a coach, Widmar worked with the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

In a five-season career, Widmar posted a 13–30 record with 143 strikeouts and a 5.21 ERA in 388.1 innings pitched.

Widmar played part of two Major League seasons as a reliever with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Browns. He debuted with the Red Sox in 1947, and was sent to St. Louis before the 1948 season in the same trade that brought Vern Stephens to Boston. After an unspectacular year with the Browns, he was demoted to Baltimore, St. Louis' Triple-A affiliate team.

In 1949, Widmar won 22 games in the International League. A year later, he returned to the Browns as a starter. After going 11–24 in two seasons, he was sent along with Sherm Lollar to the Chicago White Sox for Dick Littlefield, Joe DeMaestri, Gus Niarhos and Jim Rivera. He finished the 1952 season with the Seattle Rainiers in the Pacific Coast League, and remained with the team through half of the 1955 season. At that point, Widmar donned a Tulsa Oilers uniform, and remained with the team as player/manager through 1958.Following his playing career, Widmar became a successful minor league manager for more than a decade. He also was the pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers, and later became a front office official for Milwaukee.

In 1979, Widmar became the pitching coach of the Toronto Blue Jays; he kept the job for the next ten seasons. In 1985, he guided a rotation that featured Dave Stieb, Doyle Alexander, Jim Clancy and Jimmy Key as the Blue Jays won their first AL East Division title. He was promoted to special assistant to the vice president and general manager in 1991.

Widmar died of colon cancer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at age 80.

Brian Turang

Brian Craig Turang (born June 14, 1967) is an American former professional baseball outfielder, who played in parts of two seasons for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Mariners selected Turang in the 51st round of the 1989 Major League Baseball draft from Loyola Marymount University. His only career home run was hit off of Jimmy Key at Yankee Stadium in 1994.His son, Brice, attends Santiago High School in Corona, California and is a top prospect for the 2018 Major League Baseball draft.

List of New York Yankees Opening Day starting pitchers

The New York Yankees are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in The Bronx, New York City, New York. They play in the American League East division. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Yankees have used 57 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 110 seasons. Since the franchise's beginning in 1901, the 58 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 57 wins, 36 losses, 1 tie (57–36–1), and 17 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game. Although in modern baseball, ties are rare due to extra innings, in 1910, New York's Opening Game against the Boston Red Sox was declared a tie due to darkness – at the time, Hilltop Park had lacked adequate lighting.Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, and Mel Stottlemyre hold the Yankees record for most Opening Day starts with seven. The other pitchers with three or more Opening Day starts for New York are CC Sabathia (6), Lefty Gomez (6), Red Ruffing (5), Jack Chesbro (4), Roger Clemens (4), Bob Shawkey (4), Ray Caldwell (3), Jimmy Key (3), Vic Raschi (3), and most recently Masahiro Tanaka (4). Jimmy Key holds the Yankee record for best Opening Day record with a perfect 3–0.On Opening Day, Yankee pitchers have a combined record of 35–12–1 when playing at home. Of those games, pitchers have a 1–0 record at Oriole Park, a 3–1–1 record at Hilltop Park, a 2–3 record from Polo Grounds, a 28–8 record at Yankee Stadium, and a 1–0 record at Shea Stadium. When on the road for Opening Day, Yankee pitchers have a combined record of 27–27.

During the 1901 and 1902 seasons, the franchise played in Baltimore as the "Baltimore Orioles". The franchise has Opening Day record of 1–1 as Baltimore. After their move to New York in 1903, the franchise was known as the New York Highlanders until 1912. As the Highlanders, they had a 6–3–1 Opening Day record. For seasons in which New York would later win the World Series, the starting pitchers have a 16–8 record.

List of Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day starting pitchers

The Toronto Blue Jays are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team based in Toronto, Ontario. They play in the American League East division. The Blue Jays first played their home games at Exhibition Stadium until 1989, when they moved into the SkyDome, which was renamed Rogers Centre in 2005. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honour, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Blue Jays have used 25 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 43 seasons. The 25 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 15 wins, 16 losses and 12 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.

The Blue Jays first Opening Day starting pitcher was Bill Singer, who received a no decision against the Chicago White Sox. Roy Halladay holds the Blue Jays' record for most Opening Day starts with seven consecutively from 2003 to 2009, and has an Opening Day record of 3–3. Halladay also has the most starts at home with four. Dave Lemanczyk has the worst winning percentage as the Opening Day starting pitcher with a record of 0–2, both of which were pitched away from Exhibition Stadium.

Overall, the Blue Jays' Opening Day starting pitchers have a record of 0 wins and 1 loss at Exhibition Stadium, and 6 wins and 4 losses at SkyDome/Rogers Centre. In addition, although the Blue Jays were nominally the home team on Opening Day 2001, the game was played in Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Esteban Loaiza started the game in Hato Rey and won, making the Blue Jays' Opening Day starting pitchers' combined home record 6 wins and 4 losses, and their away record 6 wins and 9 losses. The Blue Jays went on to play in the American League Championship Series playoff games in 1985, 1989 and 1991, and won the World Series in 1992 and 1993. Dave Stieb, Jimmy Key and Jack Morris were the Opening Day starting pitchers those years, and had a combined Opening Day record of 2 wins and 3 losses.

The Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians currently hold the record for the longest Opening Day game in Major League history. They set that record on Opening Day 2012, when Jairo Asencio of the Indians gave up a 3-run home run in the top of the 16th inning to give the Blue Jays the win. This broke the record of 15 innings set between the Indians and the Detroit Tigers in 1960.The Blue Jays would later participate in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016.

Toronto Blue Jays award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Toronto Blue Jays professional baseball team.

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