Bert Belongs

I know it.  You know it.  He knows it.  They should know it.

I want to be as objective as possible, which should almost go without saying since I don't really remember seeing Bert pitch.  Nevertheless I have a bias.  So instead of innundating all of you with subjective points that are vulnerable to argument, I want to point out some things about Bert Blyleven that can't be argued and support his long overdue bid for the Hall of Fame.  First, his career ranks.

Stat      Rank    Note
Wins      26th    Of the 25 pitchers ranked ahead of Blyleven, 20 are in the Hall of Fame.  Of the remaining five,
                  three are still active.  Only Bobby Matthews (297 wins) Tommy John (288) have more wins than Bert and
                  aren't in the Hall.  Seven of the next ten pitchers ranked behind Blyleven in wins are also in the
                  Hall of Fame.  Bert finished with 287 wins.

Innings   13th    Each of the twelve pitchers with more career innings pitched are in the Hall of Fame.  Just 30
                  innings shy of 5,000, Bert pitched for 22 seasons.  Three of the next six pitchers are also in the
                  Hall.  Of the three that are not, two are active.

Stikeouts  5th    Seven of the top ten career strikeout leaders are in the Hall.  Of the three that are not, Roger
                  Clemens and Randy Johnson are still active.  After Blyleven, the next inactive non-member on the all-
                  time strikeout leader board is Mickey Lolich, in 18th place.  Blyleven struck out 3,701 batters.

Starts    11th    Seven of ten pitchers ahead of Bert are members of the Hall of Fame.  Of the three that are not, two
                  are active (Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux) and the third is Tommy John.  Eight of eleven behind Blyleven
                  are in the hall; one is still active (Tom Glavine).  Bert started 685 games.

Shutouts   9th    All eight hurlers ahead of Blyleven are in the Hall.  So are the next thirteen behind him.  In his
                  career, Blyleven shut out his opponent 60 times.

Home Runs  8th    You might think this wouldn't be something to promote, but it is.  Of the seven men who allowed more
                  long balls than Bert, five are in the Hall of Fame.  Of the other two, one is still active.  Directly
                  behind Bert are Steve Carlton (Hall of Famer), David Wells (active) and Gaylord Perry (Hall of
                  Famer).  Blyleven allowed 430 home runs.

Losses    10th    Eight of the nine pitchers who lost more games than Bert are in the Hall of Fame.  So are four of the
                  five directly behind him.  Bert lost 250 games in his career.

Batters   13th    All twelve hurlers who faced more hitters than Blyleven are in the Hall of Fame.  In his career, Bert
                  faced 20,491 batters.

According to baseballreference.com, Bert's ten most accurate career comparibles are:

Don Sutton
Gaylord Perry
Fergie Jenkins
Tommy John
Robin Roberts
Tom Seaver
Jim Kaat
Early Wynn
Phil Niekro
Steve Carlton

  •  Tommy John and Jim Kaat, the only two on that list who are NOT members of the Hall of Fame, have impressive resumes and could easily have their own arguments for Hall membership.
  •  For the last fifteen years of Bert's career, the only two pitchers who appear on his "most similar by age" list are Don Drysdale and Don Sutton.  Both are in the Hall of Fame.
Common Traits "Sought" for in a Hall of Fame Pitcher

[x]  Longetivity      [x]  Stat Rankings Among the Best Ever      [x]  Post Season Winner

[?]  "Peak" Seasons   [ ]  Cy Young/MVP Winner                    [x]  "Workhorse"

Okay so that last bit is just a tad subjective, being I just made them up.  Would you argue any of those points?

On Tuesday, Bert Blyleven will once again have his career reviewed and judged, largely by those who have deemed him not worthy of baseball's exclusive club membership.  No matter what happens, he was one of the best ever to take the mound, and I believe he deserves a bust in Cooperstown.  Good luck, Bert.  My fingers are crossed that this time they get it right.

Check out THE site for Bert Belongs:  Bert Belongs!

Over at Taylor's Twins Talk, Taylor would have voted for Blyleven himself, but doesn't believe he'll attain membership in 2008.

Joe Christensen voted Bert.  He gets a cookie.

UPDATE: TwinkieTown favorite Seth breaks down Hall candidates in total...guess who's number one on his ballot.

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