Tuesday, February 3, 2009
#29 - Jimmy Key
Not a bad shot at all on this card. It's a good action photo of the lefty's delivery, giving a nice look at the Jays' logo and Jimmy's Rawlings glove. His eyes are in a shadow, but you can still see the focused concentration on his face. Nice card.
Jimmy Key pitched in the AL East at the right time. He spend his entire career in that division for the Jays, Yanks and Os at a time when it wasn't as strong as today. Still, Key was a great pitcher. He won at least 12 games every year from '85 through '97 (except for 1995, which he missed due to injury), and won 16+ games 5 times. He finished his career with a 3.51 ERA (122 ERA+) and was Cy Young runner up twice. The first was in 1987 when Key went 17-8/2.76/1.06. Compare that to that year's winner, Roger Clemens, who went 20-9/2.97/1.18. Key's numbers actually look better, but keep in mind Clemens did his damage for a lousy 78-win Sox team, while Key did it for a great 96-win Toronto team. Add to that Clemens' 256 Ks and you gotta give it to the Rocket.
Key's second near Cy win was in '94 when Key was in New York. He was just barely edged by David Cone who was lights out that year in KC. Cone would join Key in New York the next season.
Overall, it seems as if Key has been all but forgotten over the years, which is a shame, because he was one of the best, most consistent pitchers, in the '80s and '90s.