Cooperstown Chronicles – Bert Blyleven

Jan 9, 2008

cooperstown-chronicles.jpg
Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

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.

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15 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Keith86
    September 18th, 2008 at 12:44 am #

    There’s no doubt but that BB should be in the Hall – its an absolute disgrace that he’s not in.

  2. LestersLegends
    September 18th, 2008 at 5:10 am #

    Keith – agree

  3. Larry
    April 25th, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    Here is details about Blylevin’s career from the blog Sully Baseball

    SULLY BASEBALL

    by Paul Francis Sullivan
    A TV Producer, filmmaker and comedian obsessed with baseball

    If Bert Blyleven won 13 more games over his 22 year career, he’d be in Cooperstown already.

    The man is #5 all time in career strikeouts.
    He is #9 all time in career shutouts.

    He got Cy Young votes in 1973 and 1989, so he did it over the long term.

    Plus he had post season glory as well, clinching the 1979 pennant as well as a fantastic World Series saving 4 inning performance out of the bullpen in 1979 and winning 3 October games for the 1987 Twins.

    With that resume, if he had 300 wins, he would have been in on the first ballot.
    Instead with 287 wins, he’s twisting in the wind every year.

    1 more win a season would put him at 309 wins, tied for 19th all time.

    This got me to thinking…
    I wonder if I could find a hard luck loss and a hard luck no decision for each season.

    Remember he played on some bad teams, including the 92 loss Indians team of 1983 or the 91 loss Twins team of 1986.

    I am not including 1982 nor 1991, when Blyleven was hurt almost the entire season.

    So the staff at Sully Baseball compiled a bunch of games that do not count in the win column for Blyleven… in other words

    THESE ARE THE GAMES THAT ARE KEEPING BERT BLYLEVEN OUT OF THE HALL OF FAME

    1970 with Twins:
    LOSS – 7 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 Hits, 3 K’s. Twins lose 2-1. June 10
    NO DECISION -7 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 Hits, 9 K’s. Twins win 2-1. July 1.

    1971 with Twins
    LOSS – 8 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 hits, 5, K’s. Twins lose 1-0. May 2.
    NO DECISION – 10 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 hits, 6 K’s. Twins lose 2-0. September 1.

    1972 with Twins

    LOSS – 10 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 Hits, 9 K’s. Twins lose 1-0 in 11 innings. September 27.
    NO DECISION – 10 IP, 0 ER, 6 BB, 7 Hits, 10 K’s. Twins lose 1-0 in 11 innings. July 8.

    1973 with Twins

    LOSS – 9 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 Hits, 8 K’s.. Twins lose 2-1. April 14.
    NO DECISION – 9 IP, 1 ER, 4 BB, 11 Hits, 7 K’s – Twins win 3-2 in 10. June 2.

    1974 with Twins

    LOSS – 8 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Hits, 13 K’s – Twins lose 1-0. April 20.
    NO DECISION – 9 IP, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 Hits, 7 K’s – Twins win 2-1 in 11. July 13.

    1975 with Twins.

    LOSS – 8 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 Hits, 12 K’s – Twins lose 4-1. April 20th.
    NO DECISION – 10 IP, 3 ER, 5 BB, 8 hits, 7 K’s – Twins lose 6-3 in 12. July 17.

    1976 with Twins and Rangers

    LOSS – 11 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 Hits, 10 K’s – Rangers lose 3-2. June 5.
    NO DECISION – 9 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Hits, 8 K’s – Twins lose 2-1. April 9

    1977 with Rangers

    LOSS – 10 IP, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 Hits, 7 K’s – Rangers lose 3-2. June 4.
    NO DECISION – 9 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 Hits, 8 K’s – Rangers win 3-2 in 10. April 11.

    1978 with Pirates

    LOSS – 8 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Hits, 5 K’s – Pirates lose 3-2. July 31
    NO DECISION – 7 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 Hits, 6 K’s – Pirates lose 3-2. May 25.

    1979 with Pirates

    LOSS – 7 IP, 2 ER, 5 BB, 7 Hits, 4 K’s – Pirates lose 2-1. July 31.
    NO DECISION – 8 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 Hits, 6 K’s. Pirates lose 5-2. May 1

    1980 with Pirates

    LOSS – 7 IP, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 Hits, 6 K’s – Pirates lose 3-2. June 11.
    NO DECISION – 10 IP, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 Hits, 12 K’s – Pirates win 5-4. July 6

    1981 with Indians.

    LOSS – 7 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 Hits, 2 K’s. Indians lose 4-1. August 14.
    NO DECISION – 9 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 Hits, 4 K’s – Indians lose 5-2 August 10th.

    1983 with Indians.

    LOSS – 7 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 Hits, 4 K’s – Indians lose 2-1. April 12.
    NO DECISION – 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 Hits, 9 K’s. Indians win 2-1. June 7.

    1984 with Indians.

    LOSS – 9 IP, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 Hits, 3 K’s. – Indians lose 4-1. July 23.
    NO DECISION – 9 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 Hits, 7 K’s. Indians lose 3-2. September 17.

    1985 with Indians and Twins

    LOSS – 8 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 Hits, 4 K’s – Indians lose 1-0. July 19.
    NO DECISION – 8 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Hits, 6 K’s – Twins lose 3-2. August 21.

    1986 with Twins

    LOSS – 9 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 Hits, 14 K’s – Twins lose 2-1. September 24.
    NO DECISION – 7 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 Hits, 6 K’s – Twins lose 8-5. April 20.

    1987 with Twins

    LOSS – 8 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 Hits, 12 K’s – Twins lose 4-2. July 26.
    NO DECISION – 9 IP, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 Hits, 11 K’s – Twins win 2-1. September 3.

    1988 with Twins

    LOSS – 8 IP, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 Hits, 5 K’s – Twins lose 3-2. September 11.
    NO DECISION – 7 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 Hits, 3 K’s – Twins lose 6-3. April 13.

    1989 with Angels

    LOSS – 8 IP, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 Hits, 5 K’s – Angels lose 4-3. April 22.
    NO DECISION – 9 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 Hits, 9 K’s – Angels lose 6-1. June 21.

    1990 with Angels

    LOSS – 6 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 Hits, 5 K’s. – Angels lose 7-1. May 12.
    NO DECISION – 6 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Hits, 3 K’s – Angels win 2-1. August 10.

    1992 with Angels

    LOSS – 9 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 Hits, 2 K’s. Angels lose 2-0. September 29.
    NO DECISION – 6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 Hits, 3 K’s. Angels lose 4-3. June 6.

    Right there are 42 games where he pitched well enough to win.
    If you just take the 7 games where he pitched 10 or more innings for either a loss or a no decision, he’d be at 294.

    And I didn’t list EVERY hard luck loss.
    Just one loss and one no decision for each year.

    And I’m not saying he needed everyone of these games to bounce his way either.

    If 1/3 of the games I had just listed went his way, he’d be over 300.
    If the lineup got 2 more runs…
    If the bullpen held onto a lead…
    If a ball bounced this way instead of that for one out of every three of those games, he’d have 301 wins.

    And he’d be in the Hall…
    And I wouldn’t have looked up all of those games.

    Still not convinced Blyleven is a Hall of Famer?
    Then don’t you think the Hall of Fame would be a better place if it included a guy who wears a shirt like this…

  4. LestersLegends
    April 25th, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    You have to look at the flip side of that argument. How many games did he give up 5+ Runs and still win? That sort of thing is usually a wash in a long career like that. I think he belongs, but Bert’s lobbying and bitterness is gradually losing me a little.

  5. Larry
    April 25th, 2009 at 8:55 am #

    The bitterness is hurting him, However I seem to remember That Harry Carson of the NY Giants told the HOF to shove it and he got in a couple of years later.

  6. LestersLegends
    April 25th, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    When he talked trash about Curt Schilling, it was not good for me. Schilling put together a better career factoring his amazing postseason heroics. Regardless, worry about yourself and not others.

  7. Larry
    April 25th, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    I agree,

  8. Mike Cross
    May 6th, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    YES! Bert Blylven should be in the Hall of Fame! I saw him pitch when I was a kid and he was a master, he could go 300+ innings back then, and thats more than these overated 5 man rotations that go five innings and get credited for a win! The money they make today, they should pitch a 1,000 innings! BB was a real WORK HORSE and Master of the change up!

  9. LestersLegends
    May 6th, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    His curve was SICK too.

  10. Cooperstown Chronicles - Jesse Haines | 1800blogger
    May 7th, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    [...] Harold Baines Dan Bancroft* Jake Beckley* Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* [...]

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    May 13th, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    [...] Harold Baines Dan Bancroft* Jake Beckley* Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* [...]

  12. Cooperstown Chronicles - Waite Hoyt | Fantasy Sports Blog
    May 20th, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    [...] Harold Baines Dan Bancroft* Jake Beckley* Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* [...]

  13. Cooperstown Chronicles - Kiki Cuyler | Fantasy Sports Blog
    May 28th, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    [...] Harold Baines Dan Bancroft* Jake Beckley* Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* [...]

  14. Cooperstown Chronicles – Jim Edmonds | Fantasy Sports Blog
    June 17th, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    [...] Harold Baines Dan Bancroft* Jake Beckley* Albert Belle Jim Bottomley* Pete Browning Jim Bunning * Bert Byleven Joe Carter Orlando Cepeda* Rocky Colavito Earle Combs* Dave Concepcion David Cone Roger Connor* [...]

  15. Anonymous
    August 15th, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    It’s a disgrace Bert Blyleven isn’t in the Hall Of Fame. He was better than Nolan Ryan..

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