Bert Blyleven Once Again Snubbed by Hall of Fame Voters

Jordan Schwartz@jordanharrisonSenior Writer IJanuary 6, 2010

1989:  Bert Blyleven of the Minnesota Twins stands in the dugout during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

For the 13th straight year, Bert Blyleven failed to gain induction into the Hall of Fame, this time by the slimmest of margins as he received 74.2 percent of the vote (75 percent is necessary for induction). 

Often considered the best pitcher without a plaque in Cooperstown, the right-hander will remain just that for at least another 12 months, and it's not right.

In my recent slideshow ranking the 50 best baseball players of all time, Blyleven came in tied at 32nd (T-18th best pitcher).

He ranks ninth on the all-time shutout list with 60, which is rather impressive considering the fact that the hurler was putting up four or five a year in the 1980s, when relievers were becoming a bigger part of the game.  Blyleven is the only pitcher in the top 20 of that statistic who is not in the Hall of Fame.

The longtime Minnesota Twin racked up 3,701 strikeouts, fifth on the all-time list.  Among eligible players in the top 17, Blyleven is the only one not enshrined.

In the end, it may be 13 wins that separate the pitcher from induction.  His career total of 287 victories ranks him 27th all-time, but 300 is the magic number for the Hall.

Blyleven didn't dominate an era like Warren Spahn or Tom Seaver.  The native Dutchman was only selected to two All-Star Games and never won a Cy Young, although he did finish in the top four of the voting three times.

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Instead, the 22-year veteran pitched with a consistent excellence for his entire career, finishing with a 3.31 ERA and 1.198 WHIP.

Ten times, Blyleven had one of the top 10 ERAs in the league.  He was among the leaders in WHIP on 11 occasions, winning the crown with a 1.065 mark in 1977 with Texas .

The 1969 third-round Draft pick pitched for five different teams from 1970-92, but he may have enjoyed his most success in those two seasons with the Rangers.  Blyleven's 2.74 ERA with the club is a franchise record, and he threw a no-hitter against the California Angels on Sept. 22, 1977.

But the righty really stepped up his game in the postseason, where he amassed a 5-1 record and 2.47 ERA, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates to the 1979 World Series title and the Twins to a championship in '87.

Blyleven only has two years of eligibility remaining before his fate will be left up to the Veterans Committee, but hopefully it won't come to that and the writers will vote in this very deserving candidate.

Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report's New York Yankees Community Leader. His book  Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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