Although the start of baseball has been delayed, that doesn’t stop us from taking a little trip down memory lane and remembering some players that maybe were overlooked due to how the Brewers performed that season.
The Brewers surely have had their struggles in their bullpen over the years. But, even though there are struggles, there are some players who come out from the dark and shine through, proving to be a forgotten player that really shouldn’t have been forgotten.
Let’s take a look at the brief time that “Big Jim” Henderson (6’5″, 220 lbs) was the big man on campus at Miller Park.
Jim Henderson’s Career
Jim Henderson made his major league debut after 10 long years in the minors in 2012 with the Milwaukee Brewers against the Washington Nationals. The next year, Henderson earned the closer’s spot after John Axford struggled early in 2013. He saved 28 games and had a 2.70 ERA. Best known for his slider being his out pitch, his fastballs could reach up to 98 MPH. He ended the 2013 season pitching a total of 60 innings while only allowing 18 runs, and striking out 75 batters.
Even though he was losing velocity, 2014 brought Henderson another closing position. He would miss Opening Day with the Brewers after it was revealed that he was facing right shoulder inflammation and was sent to the 15-day DL. Coming back for a while, in July of that same year, Henderson would be put on the 60-day DL, missing the rest of the season after having shoulder surgery in August. Over the 2014 season, he only made an appearance in 14 games and had a 7.15 ERA, allowing 10 runs.
Prior to the surgery, his velocity was dropping, and his fastball dropped to 93.8 MPH, and this could’ve been due to the shoulder inflammation. But due to his drop in velocity, it could’ve been a factor into why he was on the DL a little longer than expected.
Despite injuries, Henderson was able to perform extremely well when he was healthy. He had two shoulder surgeries and was still able to get his fastball at least in the low 90s. He spent all of 2015 back in the minors, not able to get back to where he was before. But, despite the hope for a comeback, the opportunity just wasn’t there for Henderson and he became a free agent after the 2015 season and signed with the New York Mets. He made 44 appearances for the Mets in 2016 and that’s the last we saw of him in the majors.
In March of 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers did sign Henderson to a minor league contract and he was assigned to the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers, but placed on the injured list until September of that year. Then on November 1st, Henderson was released.
Henderson has stuck around in the Brewers organization and it was announced that he would be the pitching coach for Class Triple-A San Antonio in 2020. Having spent 2019 up in Appleton, WI as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ pitching coach, it’s nice to see Henderson still a part of the Brewers staff.
It’s always nice to reflect back on some past Brewers that fans normally don’t talk about these days. Usually you hear the popular names such as Ryan Braun, Christian Yelich, Robin Yount, just to name a few. But, Jim Henderson is a name that some fans will be able to remember and reflect upon, even if he was with the Brewers for a short time.
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The Brewers have had a long stretch with high turnover at the closer position in the bullpen, and Jim Henderson was one of those pitchers in the middle of that. Even though 2013 was a forgotten year for the Brewers, the emergence of Big Jim Henderson was one of the few bright spots from that season, and certainly a year that Henderson will never forget.