The Case For Bert Blyleven

Aaron MarcusContributor IJanuary 23, 2009

Here are my two cents, alright maybe a nickel, in support of Bert Blyleven's candidacy for Cooperstown...

(1) He won 287 games, which ranks him 27th All-Time. 27th amongst thousands of Major League pitchers. All but one [Tommy John (288)] of the Hall-eligible, modern-day pitchers with more are in the Hall.

(2) He threw 242 complete games. Think about that, 242 COMPLETE GAMES!!!! Now go look at the same stat for future Hall of Fame, or should-be Hall of Fame, pitchers like:

Jack Morris - 175
Roger Clemens - 118
Greg Maddux - 109
Randy Johnson - 100
Curt Schilling - 83
Tom Glavine - 56
Pedro Martinez- 46

(3) He threw 60 SHUTOUTS (9th All-Time), compared to:

Clemens - 44
RJ - 37
Maddux - 35
Morris - 28
Glavine - 25
Schilling - 20
Pedro - 17

(4) He had 12 seasons where he pitched 240+ innings. Compare that to:

Morris - 10
Clemens - 8
Maddux -7
RJ - 7
Schill - 4
Glavine - 3
Pedro - 1

(5) He ranks 5TH ALL-TIME in strikeouts. Out of all of the pitchers who have ever pitched in the Major Leagues, Bert is FIFTH in what is arguably the most glamorous pitching stat next to Wins. This stat makes up part of the pitcher's Triple Crown, and might be the equivalent of say, RBIs for hitters. Why we don't treat this stat with remotely the same reverence as we do HRs, Wins, and Hits with regard to "magic" numbers beats the hell out of me.

Consider this - there are 24 players in the 500 HR club, 23 players with 300 wins, and 27 players with 3000 hits. Guess what? There are only 16 players in the 3000 K Club, and every one of them that is Hall-eligible, with the exception of Bert, is in the Hall of Fame. Of the non-Hall-eligible guys, Clemens, Johnson, Maddux, Schilling, Martinez, and now, Smoltz, are all eventual Hall of Famers (although it will certainly be fun to debate Schills).

(6) He pitched well in the postseason, racking up a 4-1 record with a 2.47 ERA.

(7) Lastly, consider his career Adjusted ERA of 118 (Adjusted ERA being arguably the best stat to judge a pitcher). His is better than Jack Morris' (105), the same as Warren Spahn's, and better than the following Hall of Famers:

Gaylord Perry - 117
Steve Carlton(!!!!) - 115
Fergie Jenkins - 115
Nolan Ryan - 111 (who, in his prime, was easily the most wicked pitcher these eyes have ever seen)
Don Sutton - 108
Catfish Hunter - 104

Yeah, I think Bert should be in the Hall of Fame.