Tag Archives: Bert Blyleven

Hall of Fame Announcement Reactions

Well, after all the posturing and writing about the ballots of the Hall of Fame, the BBWAA released their tallies this morning, and there really weren’t any surprises here. Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were both elected to the Hall this year, and will join Pat Gillick in the class of 2011. Below is the vote total, and how I voted on my BBA ballot:

Roberto Alomar 523 90.0% YES
Bert Blyleven 463 79.7% YES
Barry Larkin 361 62.1% YES
Jack Morris 311 53.5% NO
Lee Smith 263 45.3% NO
Jeff Bagwell 242 41.7% YES
Tim Raines 218 37.5% YES
Edgar Martinez 191 32.9% YES
Alan Trammell 141 24.3% YES
Larry Walker 118 20.3% YES
Mark McGwire 115 19.8% YES
Fred McGriff 104 17.9% YES
Dave Parker 89 15.3% NO
Don Mattingly 79 13.6% NO
Dale Murphy 73 12.6% YES
Rafael Palmeiro 64 11.0% YES
Juan Gonzalez 30 5.2% NO
Harold Baines 28 4.8% NO
John Franco 27 4.6% NO
Kevin Brown 12 2.1% NO



I find it extremely interesting the year-over-year change for some of these players. Alomar was placed on 133 more ballots this year than last, which resulted in a jump of almost 17% of the total. What did the voters see this year that was missed by so many of them last year? While I think that there are a few among that group who refused to put him on the ballot on his first year because of that reason, that seems unlikely that even a majority of that group did that.

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Hall of Fame Ballot Review 2010 – Conclusions

Well, over the last month and change, I have been reviewing many of the candidates for the Hall of Fame. You can find all of the posts in the sidebar to the left, but here’s the recap: Continue reading

Hall of Fame Ballot Review 2011 – Bert Blyleven

Around this time last year, I went through and reviewed the case for a number of players for the Hall of Fame, and whether or not I thought that they deserved to be enshrined in the Hall. I’ll be doing this again this year, and for players I reviewed previously, I will revisit my vote and see if it has changed in a year’s time. Theoretically, this should remain the same, but there’s always a chance I am now a whole year wiser than I was last year. Today’s candidate is one that I looked at last year, Bert Blyleven

Blyleven was eligible for the Hall for the thirteenth time in the 2010 class (2009), and you can find what I wrote last year below. He finished the voting last year with 400 votes out of a possible 539 ballots (74.2%), barely under the 75% needed for enshrinement. Continue reading

The Writers Vote in Dawson… and No One Else…

My very first reaction to the voting is this: What an unbelievable failure.

Congratulations to Dawson, a player who I definitely think believe they got right. As I wrote about here.

The full voting: (courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s website)

405 votes needed for election (out of 539) (along with my vote, not that it counts for much)

Dawson – 420 (77%) – YES
Blyleven – 400 (74.3%) – YES
Alomar – 397 (73.7%) – YES
Morris – 282 (52.3%) – NO
Larkin – 278 (51.6%) – NO
Martinez – 195 (36.2%) – YES
Raines – 164 (30.4%) – YES
McGwire – 128 (23.7%) – YES
McGriff – 116 (21.5%) – YES
Mattingly – 87 (16.1%)
Parker – 82 (15.2%)
Murphy – 63 (11.7%)
Baines – 33 (6.1%) – NO

The following are off the ballot going forward:
Galarraga – 22 (4.1%)
Ventura – 7 (1.3%)
Burks, Karros – 2 (0.4%)
Appier, Hentgen, Segui –  1 (0.2%)
Jackson, Lankford, Reynolds, Zeile – 0

I am really, really surprised that both Blyleven and Alomar got as close as they did, but didn’t make it in. I’m really left with 3 things from this voting:

  1. Who on earth voted for Eric Karros, Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, and David Segui?
  2. What are the odds of who is left from this year getting in to the Hall in the future?
  3. Why did 5 people think that no one was worthy of being in the Hall at all?

There seems to be a lot of commenting that there are some voters that think that there is a difference between first ballot hall of famers, and all other hall of famers. Last I checked, the rooms at the Hall of Fame are exactly the same regardless of whether you get in with your first chance or your 15th.

I am well aware that the voters are required to have been a member of the BBWAA for a minimum of 10 years to get a vote. And I am also well aware that quite a few of them either seem, or do take their votes extremely seriously. But it really seems to me that out of the 539, there are a few are either not taking them very seriously, or are looking for attention.

All in all, I think that the saddest part is that, as seems to be the norm for the voting at this point, the process is overshadowing the electees. We should be talking about how great Dawson was, and how deserving he is of this award. And yet, a majority of the stories written tomorrow will undoubtedly be about the facts related to the process of voting, and another call for changes will be made.

You can check out all of the players I reviewed for Hall of Fame consideration at the top of the page under the Hall of Fame Ballot Review 2009.

Hall of Fame Ballot Review – Summary

A recap of the Hall of Fame Ballot Review Series:

12/4: Jack Morris – NO
12/7: Mark McGwire – YES
12/9: Edgar Martinez – YES
12/11: Fred McGriff – YES
12/14: Harold Baines – NO
12/16: Barry Larkin – NO
12/18: Bert Blyleven – YES
12/21: Roberto Alomar – YES
12/23: Andre Dawson – YES
12/25: Tim Raines – NO [whoops] YES

Overall, it has been an interesting experiment in research. With the exception of Blyleven, all of these players careers finished during a time when I was really watching and following a lot of baseball. It was really interesting to me to see just how much the numbers tell you, and what my memory of them serves. I understand why they have the requirement that a writer must be a member of the BBWAA for at least 10 years prior to being allowed to vote.

Comments about my ballot, defenses as to why you think some of my NO votes should be YES votes? Definitely post it in the comments.

On New Year’s Day, I’ll be starting another series, this time reviewing a top prospect from each team’s minor league system. More information to follow about that.

Hall of Fame Ballot Review – Bert Blyleven

Baseball Reference.com Profile

Career Accomplishments
287-250 won-loss record
3701 career strikeouts
ERA+ of 118
242 complete games
Top 5 in strikeouts – 13 times
15+ complete games – 8 times
ERA+ of 125 – 11 times

The Case for Blyleven
Blyleven amassed some career numbers that we may not ever see again. 242 complete games. 3701 strikeouts, good for 2nd all time when he retired. He finished Top 5 in strikeouts 13 times, and posted 7 seasons with 17 or more wins.

The Case Against Blyleven
His career record was much closer to .500 than nearly any other pitcher from the modern era that is in the Hall of Fame. He did not reach that magical number of 300 wins. He had 6 seasons with 15 or more losses.

Some of his career totals speak for themselves. You don’t get 3701 strikeouts in a career by not being a very good pitcher. When I started digging a little deeper into his won-loss record, I noticed something interesting. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Blyleven had 99 “tough losses”. They classify a tough loss as a start where a pitcher receives a quality start (6+ IP, < 3 earned runs), but also receives a loss. That number seemed unusually high until I started looking at some of the pitchers in his era who are already in the Hall of Fame.

  • Blyleven – 99 (39.6% of all losses)
  • Nolan Ryan – 107 (36.7%)
  • Steve Carlton – 100 (40.9%)
  • Don Sutton – 98 (38%)

So that doesn’t really help his case in my opinion. His contemporaries all had similar percentages, so it doesn’t really seem like a differentiating characteristic.

Another thing I wondered about was what effect, if any, the teams he pitched for had on his won-loss record. To do this, I went back to Baseball-Reference, and looked at his run-support, and compared it to league average. I selected the 5 seasons which he had the most tough losses:

  • 1972 – 12 tough losses: 3.8 runs per start vs. 3.47 (league average)
  • 1973 – 8 tough losses: 4.2 runs per start vs. 4.28
  • 1974 – 8 tough losses: 4.2 runs per start vs. 4.10
  • 1976 – 9 tough losses: 2.7 runs per start vs. 4.01
  • 1980 – 8 tough losses: 3.3 runs per start vs. 4.03

In 3 of these cases, Blyleven actually received at least league average run support or better. But ERA+ does say a little something in these as well:

  • 1972 – 118
  • 1973 – 158
  • 1974 – 142
  • 1976 – 125
  • 1980 – 96

So, to me this is a bit inconclusive. And I am left to look for dominant periods of his career to see if this puts him over the top in my mind.

From 1971-1976, Blyleven did the following:

  • Never posted an ERA above 3.00
  • Struckout at least 219 batters each season
  • Won at least 15 games 5 times
  • Posted a season ERA+ of 125 or higher 5 times
  • Had at least 3 shutouts per season, and 11 complete games per season
  • Never posted an innings pitched total below 275

To me, this elite period, combined with the career numbers he posted, make him a Hall of Famer to me. I don’t think that we would even be having this argument about Blyleven if he had spent the majority of his career in larger markets than Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Cleveland.


Hall of Fame Eligible Players Review

I’m starting a new series today, and I’ll be going over the list of players on this year’s ballot for the Hall of Fame, and analyzing the ones who I believe have at least a reasonable chance of being inducted. The complete ballot can be viewed here.

Here’s the schedule:

12/4: Jack Morris
12/7: Mark McGwire
12/9: Edgar Martinez
12/11: Fred McGriff
12/14: Harold Baines
12/16: Barry Larkin
12/18: Bert Blyleven
12/21: Roberto Alomar
12/23: Andre Dawson
12/25: Tim Raines
12/28: My Hall of Fame Ballot