Born in 1968 in Detroit, Mich., Hentgen has been part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization as a player, coach, ambassador or special assistant for 26 years. The intense right-hander was selected by the Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 1986 MLB amateur draft and he saw his first regular big league action with the club in 1992 when he pitched 28 games, primarily out of the bullpen, for the franchise’s first World Series-winning squad.
In the ensuing season, he was inserted into the rotation and blossomed into an all-star, registering 19 regular season victories and winning Game 3 of the World Series to help the Blue Jays capture their second consecutive championship. From there, the 6-foot-2 righty evolved into the club’s ace. After being selected to his second all-star game in 1994, Hentgen won 20 games and topped the American League in innings pitched (265-2/3), complete games (10) and shutouts (3) in 1996 to become the first Blue Jay to win the American League Cy Young Award. For an encore, he led the American League in games started (35), innings pitched (264), complete games (9) and shutouts (3) again in 1997.
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