Dogged determination made Pat Hentgen one of the all-time great pitchers in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Detroit-born righty debuted in the Majors with the Blue Jays on September 3rd, 1991 with his final MLB game coming as a Blue Jay on July 21st, 2004. He also played for the Cardinals (2000) and Orioles (2001-03) over a 14-year MLB career in which he was 131-112.
Hentgen was Toronto’s first-ever Cy Young Award winner (1996), celebrated two World Series’ titles (2002-03) and earned three All-Star selections (1993, ’94 and ’97). Coincidentally, Hentgen and one of his Detroit Tigers heroes, Jack Morris, were Blue Jays teammates in those glorious 1992 and ’93 seasons. Morris was the first Blue Jay to win 20 games in a season (21 in 1992) and Hentgen the second on the club to reach that plateau with 20 wins in 1996.
In Blue Jays annals, Hentgen ranks fourth in complete games (31), along with fifth in wins (107), innings pitched (1,636.0) and strikeouts (1,028). He was 22 when he broke in with the Blue Jays and a mainstay in the rotation two years later, going 19-9 in ’93. He then went 1-0 with an earned-run average of 1.50 in the ’93 World Series as the winner of pivotal Game 3, giving the Blue Jays a 2-1 series’ lead as they never looked back against the Phillies.
Hentgen was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.