Sunday, January 25, 2009

#25 - Bert Blyleven

Um, what are you looking at, Bert? If it's the train leaving the station for the Hall of Fame, I'd jump aboard. And what is UP with that goofy Twins logo in the upper left?

And by the way, my earlier sentence isn't an endorsement for Bert's Hall chances, just that after getting nearly 63% this year, I'm positive he will get in soon. But let's look at the reasons why he should and shouldn't be a HOFer.

Why He Should
He won 287 games, which would have been well over 300 had he not played for so many crappy teams.
He won two World Series with the Pirates in '79 and the Twins in '87 and was a fantastic postseason pitcher, going 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA. In fact, he had only one postseason series that wasn't stellar (the '87 ALCS against Detroit), but he still managed to win both the games he pitched, even beating a guy everyone sees as the ultimate big game pitcher (Jack Morris) in the process.
He compiled an incredible 3701 strikeouts. That's 5th all time.
He pitched 4970 innings. That's 14th all time. And of the 13 guys ahead of him, 5 played either in the late 19th or early 20th century.
He has 60 career shutouts. That's 9th all time. And he led the league in SHO 3 times.
His 10 most similar pitchers according to B-R are Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, Tommy John, Robin Roberts, Tom Seaver, Jim Kaat, Early Wynn, Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton. All except Tommy John and Jim Kaat are HOFers.

Why He Shouldn't
Despite all the above, he never finished better than 3rd in the Cy Young voting, and only got votes in 4 years.
He won 20 games only once, in 1973, when he made 40 starts and went a whopping 20-17.
He made only two all star teams.
He gave up a LOT of homers. In '86 and '87 he gave up 50 and 46 homers, respectively. That is incredible.

The Verdict
I don't think it's even close. The guy should be in. Voters hold that 300-win total as a magical threshold, but when you play for so many awful teams, your win totals are affected. And Bert played a large chunk of his career in a 5-man rotation, which, of course, makes a big difference. Besides, wins are not the real measure of effectiveness anyway. The fact remains, Bert was an excellent, durable starter for a long, long time and should be recognized as such. Voters, get him in!


  1. I, too, think that he should be in.

    What's wrong with the Twins logo? While I am about as far from a Twins as one could be, I love that logo. That thing is classic. It has two ballplayers separated by a river shaking hands. One has an "M" on his sleeve and the other has "St P" on his his chest. That's where they get Twins from, the Twin Cities. Plus, it has Minnesota as a background to make them appeal more statewide. I think that is a great logo!

  2. I just think it's the goofiest thing. I can deal with the hokiness of two guys shaking hands but the "Win Twins!" thing is just too much for me.