December 04, 2005

BertBelongs. : A site deveoted entirely to the case for Bert Blyleven, Hall of Fame pitcher.

posted by panoptican to baseball at 10:52 PM - 38 comments

No doubt about it, based on others who are in, Bert "Be Home Blyeleven" Blyleven deserves to be in the hall. But a better case can and should be made for former Pirate and Ranger AL OLIVER. Take a look at his stats!

posted by CountDracula58 at 11:45 PM on December 04, 2005

You wont get any arguement from me!

posted by daddisamm at 01:59 AM on December 05, 2005

Me either. And put Jack Morris in there with him!

posted by TheQatarian at 07:39 AM on December 05, 2005

I would have trouble voting for a starter who won 20 games once in his 22 year career. Granted he was on some lame teams. I would vote for Bruce Sutter before Bert. Sutter helped revolutionize the position with Fingers, Eckersley, etc. He was more than a one inning relief man but thoroughly dominated for 10 years. Also pioneered the use of the split fingered fastball which became a significant influence on the game. Bert's curveball revolutionized the development of geometric measurement software used to measure home run distance.

posted by sandman at 08:01 AM on December 05, 2005

He played long enough to win 300 games, he didn't. End of argument!

posted by INOALOSER at 08:03 AM on December 05, 2005

Wins aren't a good measure of pitching ability. End of argument! Hey, that's a fun way to argue. Not a great way to actually interact with anyone, but what a debate technique.

posted by yerfatma at 08:17 AM on December 05, 2005

Hey, I'm sorry. I was being inflexible and cold hearted. Maybe we can get Bert into the software development wing of the Hall of Fame, or how about the I just threw a curve ball and it landed 367 feet away wing!

posted by INOALOSER at 08:27 AM on December 05, 2005

I love phrases like "End of discussion!" and "Case closed!" Because it never, ever, ever, ever, ever is. Anyway. You wanna talk stats? Let's talk stats. 287 wins is no walk in the meadow, and 3701 k's is 5th highest total for all time. He was consistently among the top ten in K's, K's-per-9-innings, K/Walk ratio and innings pitched for the better part of two decades. And 60 shutouts? Look at the company he keeps on that list. And (and we always throw this into the argument with everyone, and it does count in baseball) he's a good guy who did a lot of community work. And he's Dutch! How often do you get a Dutch guy into a Hall of Fame? Huh? I thought so. Does he belong in the Hall? Frankly, he is conspicuous by his absence.

posted by chicobangs at 08:39 AM on December 05, 2005

Good argument, let's put him in the Dutch wing of the Hall of Fame!

posted by INOALOSER at 08:50 AM on December 05, 2005

There is a lot of shit-talking going on about his curveball like it sucked or something. I sat in the section behind home plate for a game he pitched and believe me you couldn't touch it if you were swinging a fucking boat paddle. It looked insane. I think he belongs in. I'm biased of course, because he was a Twin, but I think he belongs in.

posted by chris2sy at 09:02 AM on December 05, 2005

Somebody must have been able to hit his curveball, he did loose 250 times. Maybe you weren't at those games.

posted by INOALOSER at 09:07 AM on December 05, 2005

Somebody must have been able to hit his curveball, he did loose 250 times. Maybe you weren't at those games. The interesting thing about wins and losses is that a pitcher can give up zero earned runs and still lose because his team can't score any runs. In the same vein, a pitcher can give up 8 earned runs in 5 innings and still get a win because he pitches for a team full of sluggers. That's why wins and losses are a terrible way to judge a pitcher's career. They make for nice benchmark numbers (100, 200, 300 wins), but they are rarely the best indicator of a pitcher's talent. Blyleven should be in the Hall of Fame.

posted by grum@work at 09:43 AM on December 05, 2005

Let's quite playing the World Series because wins and losses are a terrible to judge who is the champion. This isn't T-ball, get off it!

posted by INOALOSER at 09:51 AM on December 05, 2005

posted by yerfatma at 10:00 AM on December 05, 2005

In. End of story!

posted by sfts2 at 10:15 AM on December 05, 2005

I'm just typing this because I want to break up INOALOSER's string of every-other-post. That and the troll made me laugh.

posted by chicobangs at 10:16 AM on December 05, 2005

Anybody who thinks Bert doesnt bleong in the hall is not even worth talkin too-- Thats the bottom line!

posted by daddisamm at 11:41 AM on December 05, 2005

chicobang, I like that link. Ed Porray, pitcher, place of birth: "A Ship on Atlantic Ocean." (I didn't know Bert was born in Netherlands.)

posted by Philfromhavelock at 12:01 PM on December 05, 2005

What's up with inaloser's hatred of Bert? Did he stiff him on a tip or take a dump on his lawn? His stats seem pretty hall worthy to me.

posted by Fade222 at 12:48 PM on December 05, 2005

Yes, from this site and from the evidence presented it seems like a travesty that Blyleven isn't inducted. But I do agree somewhat. He is the poster child for pretty good for a looooooong time. If it's so cut and dried - why isn't he in? My moneys on the anti-Dutch conspiracy. It's been running things for too long.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:06 PM on December 05, 2005

"There's only two things I hate in this world: people who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch!"

posted by chicobangs at 02:00 PM on December 05, 2005

Anybody who can get 287 wins while pitching in those friggin' wooden shoes has got to be one tough sumbitch.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:11 PM on December 05, 2005

Blyleven isn't in because he played on poor teams in pitchers parks. No pitcher from his era (pitchers who pitched in the early seventies) had a career that was clearly better than his except Tom Seaver. The numbers - adjusted ERA, for how well he pitched, and innings pitched, for how much he pitched - the two things that matter. Minimum 2500 IP, 100 Adjusted ERA Seaver 127 4782 Gibson 127 3884 Palmer 125 3948 Marichal 122 3507 Blyleven 118 4970 Perry 117 5350 Rogers 116 2837 Niekro 115 5404 Carlton 115 5217 Jenkins 115 4500 Bunning 114 3760 Reuschel 114 3548 Tiant 114 3485 Wood 113 2684 Ryan 112 5386 John 110 4710 Koosman 110 3839 Cuellar 110 2808 Sutton 108 5282 Blue 108 3343 Kaat 107 4530 McNally 106 2730 Holtzman 105 2867 Lolich 104 3638 Osteen 104 3460 Hunter 104 3449 Reuss 100 3734

posted by spira at 03:28 PM on December 05, 2005

Wow, so Bert's better than Catfish Hunter, and Steve Calton! Can we revoke their Hall of Fame credentials to make room for Bert? One statistic was invented long before adjusted ERA, wins and losses. Next season when your favorite team goes 70 and 92, check their adjusted ERA and get back to me. If you like statistics, 287 wins and 250 loses over 22 seasons is 13.045454 wins and 11.363636 loses per season. Is that Hall of Fame?

posted by INOALOSER at 04:06 PM on December 05, 2005

Thanks for the info, spira. Seems obvious when you look at it that way, huh?

posted by yerfatma at 04:56 PM on December 05, 2005

Teams win and lose games - pitchers and players don't. Blyleven's "won-loss" record is no more relevant than Tony Gwynn's, Ralph Kiner's or Robin Yount's. (And If pitchers w-l records weren't just a misleading scoring artifice, then the answer to your question would be yes, that would be Hall of Fame. It's a heck of a lot better than Nolan Ryan's 12.9 wins and 11.6 losses per year. But the real answer is that no one has a Hall of Fame w-l record, because those records don't say much more about the quality of a pitcher than his hat size) I'm not arguing, by the way, that Blyleven was better than Carlton, just that they're pretty equivalent. Carlton is overrated because he was far more inconsistent than Blyleven, having more truly great years but also more mediocre years than Blyleven. On the hand, Blyleven was a much better pitcher than Catfish Hunter. Hunter's like Jack Morris - he pitched a lot of innings for great teams, but he was nothing but a slightly above average pitcher for his career. Blyleven had 11 years that qualify as "very good," while Hunter had 3. Rick Reuschel would be a much more deserving Hall of Famer than Catfish Hunter. No one belongs in the Hall just because they pitched for great teams. The bottom line is how many wins pitchers/players added to their teams total, not how many wins their team had. Blyleven's efforts resulted in 34 more wins for his teams over his career than an average pitcher would've gotten him; Hunter's efforts resulted in about 9 more wins for his teams over his career than an average pitcher would've gotten them (The best pitcher ever, Walter Johnson, accounted for 70. Only 11 pitchers added more than 40. Blyleven is 18th). Those wins actually go into the standings, unlike the "w-l record," a measurement that primarily records the quality of a pitcher's teammates' play, a measurement so arbitrary that it can assign wins to pitchers who come into a game and allow six runs without getting anyone out at the plate if they happen to enter the game in the right situation. Pitchers should be recognized by what they contribute to the team, not by what the team contributes to their statistical line.

posted by spira at 05:16 PM on December 05, 2005

Seriously, INOALOSER. Did Blyleven shoot your dog or something? You watched him give up a homer once and so you've decided that he doesn't deserve-- waitwaitwaitwaitwait. Spira: Rick Rueschel? Did I read that right? I'd laugh that off, except everything else you said makes a world of sense.

posted by chicobangs at 05:30 PM on December 05, 2005

One statistic was invented long before adjusted ERA, wins and losses. Next season when your favorite team goes 70 and 92, check their adjusted ERA and get back to me. Did you notice you said "when your favorite team", not "when your favorite pitcher" in the discussion of wins and losses? That's pretty much explains why most of the other people in this discussion understand why wins/losses are not a good indication of pitching prowess.

posted by grum@work at 06:05 PM on December 05, 2005

chicobangs - I wouldn't put Reuschel in the Hall; I'd just pick him ahead of Hunter if I had to pick one of the two or be killed. I will say that Reuschel had a career very similar to Jim Bunning's, and Bunning is another guy in the Hall I wouldn't have voted for (though I believe he's only in the Hall because he was elected to Congress). But, anyway, there a lot of pitchers who you can put in place of Reuschel i what I wrote; the real point is that Hunter wasn't close to great, despite his repuatation. He had the fortune of pitching for two powerhouse dynasties in pitchers' parks in a pitcher's' era, and as a result his stat line looks very good at first glance and he got the nation's attention by pitching in the postseason. But once you take into account the context he pitched in, the reality is that his career ERA was only about 4% better than average, and that is not anywhere close to Hall of Fame quality. The only pitcher in the Hall with fewer qualifications is probably Rube Marquard, (For anyone who doesn't know exactly what adjusted ERA is, it's actually fairly simple. Take ERA, adjust for the park effect (whether the park inhibits or boosts run scoring), compare to the league average ERA, and put it on a scale where the average ERA is 100 and higher is better)

posted by spira at 06:46 PM on December 05, 2005

I don't dislike Bert, just don't think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and so far neither does the Hall of Fame.

posted by INOALOSER at 08:39 PM on December 05, 2005

Yeah, but why? You can't seriously think pitcher's w-l record means anything, so what reason do you have? Has any pitcher in the history of baseball accomplished what Blyleven has and not been elected? And I don't think the Hall of Fame thinks that Blyleven doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. Not that it think he does, either. It's a building, an institution, and those don't think, period. BBWAA members - voters - individually decide on whether someone deserves in the Hall, and the collective vote determines whether a player is elected to the Hall. Over the years, the BBWAA voters have done a fair job, like most groups of voters do. (As opposed to the Veterans Committee, which has probably made more bad selections than good ones) By the way, Rich Lederer has done several articles demolishing all arguments against Blyleven being in the Hall; he does a season-by season analysis of Blyleven's peak here and an overview of Blyleven's career over here.

posted by spira at 09:12 PM on December 05, 2005

Hey, thanks for the grammar lesson. Bert's still not in the Hall of Fame.

posted by INOALOSER at 09:53 PM on December 05, 2005

Good god after reading spira's links I'm dumbfounded. Was Bert a complete ass? Did he take a leak on the side wall of the HOF ala Ozzy Osborn? If not, GOOD GOD people give the man his just due and put him in the Hall. Not his fault he played for crap nasty teams. Geez. (Shakes head isn disbelief)

posted by Fade222 at 10:24 PM on December 05, 2005

Ino - Um, that wasn't a grammar lesson, and there was nothing wrong with your grammar. I haven't a clue as to what you are talking about. The point I was trying to get across is that Hall of Fame election is the result of an ordinary vote; it's not some magical, unique process, which some people seem to regard it as. You were talking as if the Hall was a God who came out of the sky and magically divides candidates between "Hall of Famers" and unworthies, and that's not the way it works.. I guess you're still not going to answer the question "why," though. Fade222 - Bert wasn't beloved, but given that he's now the Twins' regular announcer, it seems unlikely that there are any personality issues that are holding his election up. That's why it's so unfathomable; this shouldn't even be a close call, given the established standards of the Hall.

posted by spira at 09:54 AM on December 06, 2005

No, he's not in because of his record. Rightly or wrongly, he didn't make it because he didn't win enough, and in his era there were simply greater pitchers. He got squeezed. Still a lot of old tyme BBWAA voters out there who can't abide giving a guy with a 287-250 record a HoF plaque. I'd put him up there with Jim Rice as a couple guys who probably should be in the Hall, but won't because the line has to be drawn somewhere and unfortunately it goes right over these guys (yes there are players like Hunter and Bunning, who are in the Hall for more sentimental than statistical reasons, but since you can't veto people out of the Hall, you just have to move on). Hey, as a small bonus, it no longer appears that 300 wins is attainable for most pitchers, so the emphasis on wins is becoming less and less the case. Maybe the Veterans Committee will have something to say about the matter in a few decades time.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:08 PM on December 06, 2005

Weedy, are you saying the criteria that that Bert seems to be judged by is wins and loses?

posted by INOALOSER at 08:03 PM on December 06, 2005

Still a lot of old tyme BBWAA voters out there who can't abide giving a guy with a 287-250 record a HoF plaque. Then someone please explain to me why they had no problem voting in Robin Roberts. He's pretty much an exact copy of Blyleven, except 20 years earlier. ERA, wins, ERA+, winning's almost a carbon copy. The number of wins is just a lame argument since there are more starting pitchers in the HOF with LESS wins than Blyleven (28) than there are starting pitchers in the HOF with MORE wins than Blyleven (20). So if it is "just wins" that's keeping him out, they are stupid AND wrong in this case.

posted by grum@work at 10:49 PM on December 06, 2005

Hey, I looked up Bert's stats. I forgot he played with the Pirates. You can let him in!

posted by INOALOSER at 07:54 AM on December 07, 2005

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