10 More Reasons Why Bert Blyleven Deserves Enshrinement in the HOF

1.       Blyleven’s 287 wins are 27th all time. Despite pitching for mostly bad teams, he won more games than Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, Robin Roberts and Whitey Ford.

2.       Blyleven’s 60 shutouts are 4th most in all of baseball since 1921. Every other pitcher in the top 22 is in the HOF (His 60 are only 1 behind Ryan and Seaver , 3 behind Warren Spahn, and more than  shoo-in HOFers such as Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Jim Palmer, Ed Walsh, Mordecai Brown).

3.       Blyleven’s 3701 strikeouts are 3rd all-time since 1921. Every other pitcher in the top 17 in career strikeouts is either a Hall of Famer or likely to get in as soon as they eligible.  The only 2 live-ball-era pitchers ahead of him, Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton, walked hundreds of more guys than he did.

4.       Blyleven’s 15  1-0 victories are the most in baseball since 1921.

5.       Somebody crunched the numbers and if Blyleven had even average run support, his career record would have been at least:  313 – 227.  This would explain why he did not win more despite finishing top 10 in the league in ERA+ 12 times (more than these Hall of Famers: Palmer 10 times, Perry 10 times, Roberts 9 times, Carlton 8 times, Ryan 7 times, Sutton 7 times, Niekro 7 times, Jenkins 6 times.

6.       Among the top 60 pitchers with at least 3500 innings, Bert is 5th all time in K/BB.

7.       Blyleven was 5-1, with a 2.47 ERA in the postseason.  Blyleven had the lowest starting pitcher ERA in all 4 of the post-season series that Blyleven pitched in.  In other words, in each series, if you look at all 25 of the starters in that series (6 inning minimum), Blyleven had the lowest ERA in all 4 series — better than Tom Seaver, Jack Morris, Jim Palmer (the latter two Blyleven beat head to head in 1979 and 1987).

8.       Many Hall of Famers struggled against Bert Blyleven:  Reggie Jackson (.214 batting average in 140 Plate Appearances); George Brett (.231 in 128 PAs); Robin Yount (.182 in 114 Pas); Paul Molitor (.257 in 80 Pas); Rod Carew (.260 in 53 Pas); Dave Winfield (.250 53 Pas); Brooks Robinson  (.250); Wade Boggs (.256); Gary Carter (.262); Andre Dawson (.195). Joe Morgan (.188). Ozzie Smith (.200); Johnny Bench (.235); Luis Aparicio (.188);

9.       In order for Jack Morris to approach Bert Blyleven’s career innings and ERA, you’d have to add Mariano Rivera’s entire career.

10.   Of the 38 starting pitchers enshrined in the Hall of Fame since the Deadball era: Only 8 won more than Blyleven. Only 2 struck out more guys than Blyleven.  Only 3 had more shutouts than Blyleven. And only 1 consistently finished more times in the top 10 in ERA+. Hall of Famers are Blyleven’s peers, not superiors.

Reason #287 Why Bert Blyleven Was Better Than Ryan and Sutton and Thus Deserves HOF Enshrinement

Bert Blyleven was a better pitcher than Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton, but they are in the Hall of Fame, and he is not, largely because they got to 300 wins. But that was mostly because they, not he, pitched in pitcher-friendly ballparks (plus Ryan and Sutton spent large portions of their careers in the DH-less NL).

One way to reduce the “home-park advantage” when comparing pitchers is to compare their career Earned Run Averages ON THE ROAD (thus equalizing the playing field).

Bert Blyleven’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.34

Nolan Ryan’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.73

Don Sutton’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.77

Thus, Blyleven outpitched Ryan and Sutton when comparing apples-to-apples, even though they “appeared” to be better since they pitched in more pitcher-favorable leagues/parks.

Plus, Blyleven was one of the greatest post-season pitchers ever.

Blyleven was 5-1 in the post-season (2.47 ERA), and won 2 World Series Championships. (Head to head, Blyleven outpitched both Jack Morris (Morris’ only loss in his first 8 post-season decisions) and Jim Palmer (who up to then was 7-2 lifetime in the postseason).

In the regular season, Blyleven outpitched two of his HOF peers, and in the postseason, Blyleven outpitched two of the top post-season legends of his era.

Blyleven deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.