For years Bert Blyleven has entertained fans both on the mound and in the booth. Perhaps he is most renowned for "circling" fans during telecasts. Now, it is time we circle him. This year was a disappointing Hall of Fame vote.
There is NO way that Rickey Henderson should not have gotten 100 percent of the votes, it is amazing just how stupid the BBWAA is, how any of them could leave Rickey off their ballots.
And they then proceeded to elect Jim Rice, a decent player, but in no way a HOFer. And among those more deserving who were snubbed? Tim Raines, Alan Trammel, and Bert Blyleven.
Blyleven began his MLB career in 1970 at age 19. When he retired to the booth in 1992, he had a 287-250 record, a 3.31 ERA, a 118 ERA+. He threw 242 CGs, and was easily one of the best pitchers of his era. Unfortunately, the writers obsession with wins and losses has held the tall Dutchman out. His win-loss record is not great, merely average, with a win percent of .534.
What most writers miss however, is that he played his career out on generally weak teams, therefore getting little run support. Not to mention he went deep into many games, increasing the chances of having himself lose a lead and therefore gain a loss. If you look outside the box, however, you find Blyleven was a goldmine of talent.
Blyleven, in 4,970 innings, has posted a strong ERA of 3.31. His career ERA+? 118. This is equal to Tom Glavine, and higher then Nolan Ryan (111), Jack Morris (105), Steve Carlton (105), Don Sutton (108), Jim Kaat (107), Gaylord Perry (117), Fergie Jenkins (115), Robin Roberts (113), and Tommy John (110) among others. Many writers consider those players HOFers or HOF caliber, so why not Blyleven...?
This goes back to wins, of which writers hold in utmost esteem. However, it is not the pitcher alone who wins a game. A reliever can blow it, and then earn the win himself when his team bails him out.
The game can be tied until after a pitcher leaves, and then have the tie break. And also important, a pitcher can be winning, and have a reliever blow his game after he leaves. Wins are an inconsistent and generally useless stat in ranking players alone. It is not Blyleven's fault that he had poor offensive support, so why count it against him? In virtually all statistical reasoning, Bert Blyleven is a Hall of Famer.