Tom Henke

Toronto Blue Jays legendary closer and Missouri native Tom Henke leads the 2011 class of inductees who will be enshrined into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday, June 18th in St. Marys, Ontario.

Henke’s 217 saves rank him first all-time with the Blue Jays, and his 311 career saves are 17th best all-time in the major leagues. He played eight seasons for Toronto, pitching in 446 games, winning 29, and compiling a 2.48 earned run average. He finished his career playing two seasons for the Texas Rangers and one with the boyhood favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Henke also began his career with the Rangers, who drafted and signed him in 1980. On January 24, 1985, 26 years exactly from the day of this announcement, he was chosen by the Blue Jays as a free agent compensation pick.

Henke was on Missourinet affiliate KWOS-Jefferson City and talked about the one and only time he batted in the National League.  Tom Henke on his only major league at-bat

Former St. Louis Cardinals All-Star pitcher Tom Henke is introduced before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch during the Washington Nationals - St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 28, 2009. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

At 6’5 with his large-rimmed glasses, Henke was an imposing figure on the mound and his best season with the Blue Jays was 1987, when he was named to the All-Star team and led the American League with 34 saves. In 1992, his final season with the Blue Jays, he chalked up two saves and pitched in three of the Blue Jays four one-run victories over the Atlanta Braves, bringing Canada’s first World Series title. Henke, who also made the All-Star team as a Cardinal in 1995, struck out an average of 9.8 hitters per nine innings over his career.

“I am really looking forward to going back to where baseball and the Blue Jays gave me the chance to excel,” said Henke from his home in Taos, Missouri…to help to bring home Canada’s first World Series win can never be duplicated. I am truly humbled and honored, and I can’t wait to share this great news with my family and friends in Canada and in the United States.”

Henke and his wife Kathy have four children, Linsey, Ryan, Kim and Amanda, and currently spends much of his time assisting the Special Learning Centre, a school for handicapped children, as well as volunteering with Down Syndrome charities, the Special Olympics and the Cancer Society. He is also on the board of directors with the Missouri Department of Mental Health.