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California Golden Blogs Hall of Fame - Jolene Henderson

2014 Hall of Fame inductee and superstar pitcher Jolene Henderson!

Jolene Henderson's 120 Wins (via Cal Softball)

NorCalNick gives us the dirt on Jolene:

Probably, within the context of softball, Jolene's workload is less insane looking. But from someone raised in the era of strict MLB pitch counts and constant horrific pitching injuries, I have always had trouble comprehending how it is possible for Jolene Henderson to pitch as much as she pitches.

Just look:

Freshman: 192.2 innings

Sophomore: 333.1 innings

Junior: 282.1 innings

Senior: 286.2 innings (despite an injury that kept her out a few weeks.)

The softball season lasts about 4 months. Jolene was throwing significantly more innings over 4 months than most major league starting pitchers would throw over 6 months. In 2011, with Valerie Arioto injured and out for the season, and as a result Jolene pitched 87 percent of the available innings.

OK, so we've established that she has an indestructible rubber arm. But just being able to throw a ton of pitches doesn't mean much if they aren't good pitches.

CAL JOLENE HENDERSON MONTAGE (via espnu)

They were the best pitches. During that insane sophomore season Jo finished with an ERA of .99 despite carrying the burden of pitching nearly every competitive inning available. And her workload didn't come back to haunt her in the playoffs (when she, of course, pitched every inning). She just kept right on dominating all the way to the softball World Series.

I've always wondered if the reason that Jolene can throw so many innings without any obvious impacts to her effectiveness is because of her best pitch: the change-up. I haven't seen a ton of Cal softball games, and yet I still feel like I've watched batters swing over the top of way out in front of her change-up more times than I can count. Maybe the arm action (and not having to constantly throw as hard as you can) on a change-up allows her to stay fresh. Maybe I'm just fishing for plausible explanations for the unexplainable. Either way, her change-up sits right up there with Rob Nenn's slider and anything Yu Darvish as my favorite pitches to watch.

She departs Cal as perhaps the best pitcher since the legendary Michelle Granger (who, looking at the record books, compiled even more insane numbers.) A mid-season injury this year likely prevented her from attacking some of the more hallowed career pitching records that Granger still holds. It's a shame that her injury prevented her from dominating this year like she did earlier, but it does nothing to diminish her resume as a Bear.

And the most important part of her resume? Without Jolene, Cal doesn't achieve two College World Series appearances and one Pac-12 title.