It has become tradition during Minnesota Twins telecasts; fans try to out do themselves in crazy outfits, or large signs, just something to get the attention of color commentator Bert Blyleven. After all if he does point you out, and circles you with his telestrator, you become part of the MN Lottery’s “winner’s circle”. Here’s the thing, in the eyes of many Minnesota fans, Bert Blyleven is a winner. He should most definitely circle himself.
I was hoping all day yesterday that my reason 95 to visit Target Field would be, “Target Field, Home of Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven”. Yesterday, MLB announced the Hall of Fame class of 2010. After being on the ballot for 11 years, Bert in 2009 received his highest vote total 338, or 62.7%. It is necessary to receive a 75% vote to be in, many believe 2010 would be his year.
With a total vote of 400, Bert made it so, so close. He missed the mark by 5 votes, 74.2%. It was the fifth narrowest margin in Hall of Fame history. The only person voted in yesterday was Cub’s perennial All-star, Andre “The Hawk” Dawson. He also was close with a 77% vote.
I believe that the Twins organization may someday (hopefully this year) retire Bert’s number 28. This surely would help his cause for Hall of Fame entry. Columnist, Greg Nordquist, writes, “Retiring a uniform number is the highest honor that a team can bestow upon its former players, and it may be just the accolade Blyleven could use to help punch his ticket to Cooperstown; that is, if the Twins ever decide to help out one of the most colorful and recognizable personalities in franchise history.
Bert’s career stats do show he is worthy. He is a seven-time 17-plus game winner. Amazingly, he completed 242 games with 60 of those being shutouts. He currently rests at number 5 in MLB history for career strikeouts with 3,701 whiffs. However, he did fall short of 300 wins, never finished higher than third in Cy Young voting, and was voted an all-star only twice in 22 seasons.
On a personal level Bert Blyleven is known as a prankster and a goofball but with a huge knowledge of the game. He is well loved in Minnesota no matter how much he screws up on television When asked about who he circles, he gave the advice, “"The bigger, the bolder, the more unique the better," he added. "And the key is -- hold your sign up, don't put it down early.”
He might as well have been describing himself. Well Bert, you too keep holding you sign up for Hall of Fame. Minnesota knows that the baseball writers will circle you ballot soon enough!