Results tagged ‘ Bert Blyleven ’

A Schilling For Your Thoughts?!

curt-schilling.jpgWith the recent retirement of Curt Schilling, there inevitably comes the question of whether or not he is Hall of Fame worthy.  To me, Schilling is one of those guys knocking on the door, but not quite good enough to get in.  I was watching Baseball Tonight the other day and they listed some pitchers (Bert Blyleven, for example) that have good stats but aren’t in the Hall.  However, the name that most intrigued me was Jack Morris, whom I feel had a career very similar to Schilling.  Both won three World Championships, both were great pitchers, but neither really dominated their respective eras or put up really gaudy numbers.  The stat lines for both guys read as follows:

Schilling: 216-146, 83 CG, 20 SO, 3,116 K, three times second in Cy Young voting

Morris: 254-186, 175 CG, 28 SO, 2,478 K, twice was third in Cy Young voting

Though I will always have fond memories of Morris (Game Seven, 1991) and was enraptured by Schilling’s incredible pitching performances in 2001 (World Series Co-MVP with Randy Johnson) and 2004 (bloody sock), I don’t think either of those two are Hall worthy.  Actually, I think that Morris probably has a better case, though Schilling may get many votes right off the bat for playing out East.

So, like I said, I truly believe that Curt Schilling was a great pitcher (at times unhittable), but I don’t think he had the sort of career that gets one into Cooperstown.  His Co-MVP trophy and bloody sock should have their own display, though!

(Belated) HOF Thoughts

Rickey939b.jpgI know I’m really late on this, but I do want to share my thoughts on the recent Hall of Fame voting…

Rickey Henderson: Obviously a first-ballot HOFer, and 95% of the votes affirmed that feeling across the nation.  Sure, he seems to be an arrogant jerk, but being a gentleman isn’t necessarily a qualification for the Hall.  Rickey was the greatest leadoff hitter of the modern baseball era (only perhaps Ty Cobb in the history of the game eclipses him) and easily the best base stealer.  If I had to guess, I’d say that right now–pushing 50 years old–Henderson could still swipe at least 15-20 bags in the majors (assuming he could get on base in the first place, of course).

Jim Rice: I did not see Jim Rice play (way before my time), but I do not think he is a Hall of Famer.  He had a lot of hits (2,452), but not an astounding amount.  He had a lot of power (382 HR), but that is far from a tremendous amount.  To me, his most impressive statistic is his .298 career batting average, which is very impressive.  However, taking all his stats into consideration, I just don’t see them measuring up for a plaque in Cooperstown.  I guess the BBWAA felt differently.

-Of course, it was again a crying shame that Bert Blyleven was not inducted this year.  It was bad enough that Circle Me’s Dad passed away before he could hear his son’s induction speech, but now it has become just ridiculous.  The only thing I could think of his that Blyleven really ********** a bunch of writers during his playing days, as his stats are much better than many players already enshrined.

-Finally, Andre Dawson also nearly made the cut this year.  I don’t consider him to be worthy, either.  Much like Rice, I consider him to be a great player, but one that never really pushed himself past that “invisible threshold” of Hall consideration.

More HOF Talk

bert-blyleven-shirt-425mh0108.jpgNow that the traditional (not the Veterans Committee) Hall of Fame ballots are out, I would like to quickly point out two players that I have not yet discussed on this blog:

-First off, Ricky Henderson is obviously a first-ballot shoo-in for the Hall, as he was (and nobody has come close to surpassing him since) the greatest leadoff hitter in the history of the game.  Yeah, he may have been an arrogant jerk with an affinity for speaking in the third person, but he did more than enough on the field to warrant a trip to Cooperstown.

-The other player I wanted to discuss, Bert Blyleven, is currently my biggest pet peeve about the Hall of Fame voters.  I know this gets brought up every year about how Bert should be in the Hall, but let me assure you it isn’t just a Twins fan griping about a favorite player/personality.  The statistics completely speak for themselves:

287 wins, 4,790 innings pitched, 242 complete games, 60 shutouts, 3,701 strikeouts, 3.31 ERA

Now, if those stats aren’t good enough to get a guy into the Hall of Fame, then I don’t know what are.  Sure, Bert could be surly with the media and was a little crude at times (as evidenced by the picture posted above), but once you get to “know him” (I say this from listening to him broadcast Twins games for many years) you find that he just likes a good laugh…he isn’t really trying to be mean.

The other big knock on Bert is his 250 losses to go with all his wins, but you can’t necessarily blame him for the (mostly) terrible teams he played for.  And, think of it this way…the two really good teams that Blyleven played for (’79 Pirates and ’87 Twins) ending up winning their respective World Series titles in LARGE part due to the contributions of Bert’s masterful pitching.

Finally, there are also some people who say that a player must dominate in a certain area of the game to be HOF-worthy, but Bert meets that qualification as well, as he had the greatest curveball of any of his contemporaries.  You don’t top 3,000 K’s (and close in on 4,000) without a tremendous “out” pitch (think Johan Santana’s changeup or Francisco Liriano’s slider), and Bert had the curve.

So, here’s to hoping that Bert finally gets his dream of ascending those Cooperstown steps to receive his bronzed plaque.  Let’s just hope he doesn’t moon the audience in the process!

First Moose, Now Tony O.

RetroOliva.jpgRight on the heels of Mike Mussina announcing his retirement and that subsequent Hall of Fame debate, the Veterans Committee for the HOF announced its 2009 ballot.  First and foremost in the minds of Twins fans was the inclusion of popular Twins star Tony Oliva on that ballot.  Does Oliva have a chance to get a hanging plaque in the great Hall?  Well, let’s start by looking at the stats…

-13 seasons, 1,917 hits, 220 HR, .304 BA, 8 All-Star Appearances, Rookie of the Year Award in 1964, twice finished second in MVP voting.

By looking at those stats, I would consider Tony O. to be the epitome of an “on the fence” candidate for the Hall.  When healthy (and that is key), Tony was perhaps the best pure hitter of the American League during the mid to late 1960s.  However, knee injuries plagued Oliva for much of his career, getting so bad that he could hardly run anymore by the time he retired.  Thus, much like Mickey Mantle, Oliva never really was able to play at his true potential for any extended period of time, as those knees always ailed him.

What bolsters Oliva’s case, though, is the work that he has done away from the game, as he has been a loyal, devoted member to the Twins organization since his retirement and has been a great ambassador to the Latin American community (he was born in Panama).

So, do I think Oliva belongs in the Hall of Fame?  I would have to say no.  It’s tough to deny a guy a spot just because of injuries, but I don’t think Tony O. played at a high enough level for a long enough period to earn that bronze plaque.  I think that other former Twins still on the ballot such as Bert Blyleven and Jim Kaat have much more solid cases for the Hall than does Oliva.

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