“He’s (Jimmy Key) a pitcher, not a thrower. He has an average fastball, a good sinker and curve, and knows how to change speed on his pitches. He also throws a cut fastball with good movement on it. And, his control is outstanding.” – Coach Al Widmar
Jimmy Key began his 9-year career in Toronto beginning in 1984. The crafty left-handed pitcher was drafted in the third round of the 1982 amateur draft out of Clemson University. Key became a mainstay in the starting rotation in 1985 under then-manager Bobby Cox.
Jimmy’s finest year came in 1987 when he finished runner-up to Roger Clemens in Cy Young award voting. Key went 17-8 that season and led the league in ERA with a sparkling 2.76 mark. He pitched a career-high 261IP in that season.
Key’s finest moment came in 1992 when he started Game 4 after pitching only 3 innings in relief in the ALCS. Key held the Atlanta Braves to a single run, getting the victory in a 2-1 game. Blue Jays fans gave their favourite son a standing ovation as he walked off the mound in his last start in a Blue Jays uniform.
For those of you who never had the pleasure of seeing Jimmy Key pitch in his prime in a Blue Jays uniform, I’ve put together a video that you can see below. It features footage of Key’s filthy pickoff move as well as his “Key” start in the 1992 World Series.