Cooperstown Chronicles – Bert Blyleven
Before I get started, I want to congratulate Goose Gossage on his election in the Hall of Fame.
Circle Me Bert…right into the Hall of Fame
How long does Bert Blyleven have to wait until the Hall comes knocking on his door. He has 287 wins…287 wins. He pitched 22 seasons. Do the math and you see that if he won about .5 more wins per game in his career he would have the magical 300 wins and I wouldn’t be typing this post. The fact that he pitched on some pretty bad teams should factor into the equation. I understand he never won the Cy Young awards, but neither did a lot of pitchers…including Nolan Ryan. I’m not saying he’s on the same level as Nolan, but they do have some similarities. They both pitched on some pretty bad teams and shared success despite that circumstance. The fact is Bert is the 5th all-time leading strikeout pitcher in the history of MLB. He was third when he retired, but has since been passed by The Rocket and The Big Unit. He is 9th on the all-time shutout list with 60. Most pitchers in today’s generation won’t have 60 complete games, yet alone shutouts. He won a World Series in 1987 so he’s won the big one. Critics will say that he hung around to accumulate the stats, but he had some impressive single-season accomplishments as well. He was twice name as an All-star. He finished 13th in 1989 in MVP voting. Not bad for a pitcher in the beginning of the Steroid Era. He finished third in Cy Young voting twice and fourth once so at least he was invited to that party. Ten times he was in the top ten in ERA. Six times for wins. Eleven times (including first in 1977) he was in the top ten in WHIP. Fifteen times (including first in 1985) he was in the top ten in strikeouts. Eleven times for innings pitched. Twelve times he was in the top ten in complete games (including a league high 24 in 1985). Ten times for shutouts (tops in ’73, ’85 and ’89). I realize he lost a lot of games and gave up a ton of homers, but I think the numbers speak for themselves. After all, how many of todays coddled pitchers are going to even approach the 300 win total? Tom Glavine could be the last one in a long time to reach that plateau. I’m not comparing him to Randy Johnson in dominance, but he only has 284 wins. Mike Mussina Mussina…250. David Wells…239 (which is more that I would have expected), Jaime Moyer…230. Schilling….216. Kenny Rogers…210. Pedro…209. There are thirty nine pitchers in the HOF with less wins than Bert (take a look for yourself ). Now Bert is a good broadcaster for the Twins. Given his past success and his continued involvement in baseball, I believe it’s time to let him in.