MLB Throwback Thursday: Jimmy Key

Jimmy Key

photo credit:US PRESSWIRE

Toronto Blue Jays

Jimmy Key was drafted in the third round of the 1982 MLB amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. After playing a couple of years in the minors, Key made his Major League debut in April of 1984. He was used a relief pitcher and had ten saves with 4.65 ERA.

In the 1985 season, Key was moved to the starting rotation and went 14-6 with 3.00 ERA. He helped lead the Blue Jays to their first playoff appearance that year. In 1987, Key went 17-8 with a career-low 2.76 ERA and had a career-high eight complete games. Between 1987 and 1992, Key had some solid seasons. In 1992 in his last year with the Blue Jays, he went 13-13 and had an ERA of 3.53. Also, he helped the Blue Jays win their first World Series. Key pitched 7 2/3 inning in game four of the World Series against the Atlanta Braves. He only gave up one earned run, and the Blue Jays won the game 2-1 to take 3-1 series lead. In nine-year with the Blue Jays, Key’s record was 116-81 with 3.42 ERA and 944 strikeouts.

New York Yankees

Before the 1993 season, Jimmy Key signed a four-year contract with the New York Yankees. In his first year with the Yankees, he went 18-6 with a 3.00 and a career-high 173 strikeouts. He followed that up with 17-4 record with a 3.27 ERA and 97 strikeouts in a strike-shortened season. Both seasons Key made the All-Star team. Key pitched in just five games in the 1995 season due to injury. The former Blue Jays pitcher came back in 1996 and struggled with a 12-11 record with a 4.68 ERA. But he helped the Yankees win a World Series in 1996 winning two postseasons games. Key Finished his Yankee career with 49-23 record.

Baltimore Orioles

After playing for the Yankees, Key signed with the Baltimore Orioles before the 1997 season. In his first season in Baltimore, Key made the All-Star team going 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA with 141 strikeouts. He helped led the Orioles to the playoffs as well. In 1998 Key pitched in just 11 games and retired after the season due to injuries; he finished his time with Baltimore 22-13.


Key finished his career with 186 wins and 117 losses with an ERA of 3.51. He pitched 2591.2 innings and stuck out 1,538 batters; Key also finished his career with 34 complete games in his 15-year career. The former pitcher won two World Series rings in 1992 and 1996.

Key was a control pitcher who could place his fastball on both sides of the plate. He fastball was not very fast, so he relied on location and off-speed pitches to get batters out. Key had an outstanding backdoor slider that would freeze batters at the plate. He is also one of the best baseball big-game pitchers posting 3-1 record in the World Series with a 2.66 ERA.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: