Butch Henry – 1992 Pinnacle
January 31, 2011
Duck, It’s Coming Right For Us!!!
Ah, Butch Henry. Ah, 1992 Pinnacle. Ah, baseball’s leaping off of the cardboard.
El Paso’s own Floyd Bluford Henry (I hope to God that’s a family name – and I would go by Butch too…) was part of the ‘haul’ the Astros received when the Reds traded for Bill Doran. Doran was done, yes, but he was a good player and a good guy and it was kind of a shame he didn’t end his career with the Astros.
Henry was the only one of the three players wrangled for the Reds to have any type of career. He didn’t really have a pedigree for success in the bigs. A 15th round draft pick, he had an OK year in AA before trundling to the Astros, then had a middling year in Tuscon. He was a ‘crafty’ lefty that had to pitch to contact and get grounders to survive.
The operative word there is…lefty.
Butch did make the Astros as a rookie prospect in 1992, and scuffled a bit as a starter. His 4.02 ERA looked fine on the surface, but he pitched in the Astrodome, so that added up to a slightly negative WAR and an ERA+ of 83.
The expansion draft took Henry to Colorado, where pitchers without sinking sinkers sink. Somehow, a 2-8, 6.59 slate was good enough for Montreal to trade for him straight up for Ken Bottenfield. The laugh was on Colorado, as Bottenfield did his Butch Henry imitation in Denver, whilst after a trip to Ottawa, Henry settled down and had 2+ good seasons in Montreal.
In 1995, he was hurt after a 7-9, 2.84 season. His last game was August 15, when he was taken out during a gem against the Mets. Boston picked him up on waivers, paid him to rehab in 1996 and eased him into the pen in 1997. He went 7-3 with six saves and a nifty ERA (for the AL in that season) of 3.52. That earned him a couple million.
And then, his arm fell off again. He pitched nine innings for the Red Sox in 1998, then signed a contract with Seattle. After two good starts and two bad starts, he was DL bound again. Butch was activated for three games in September, and then spent four years trying to heal himself in the minors or spring training before finally giving up in 2003.
Later, he became manager of his hometown El Paso Diablos, proud member of the new American Association. He was let go, though, in December. These things happen. Just like crafty lefties developing arm problems.