Blog Entry

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Posted on: January 5, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 5:33 am
Bert Blyleven This year's Hall of Fame vote signals the end of the great Bert Blyleven debate, as the right-hander finally got in to the Hall of Fame.

It was long a debate that had grown old and, thankfully for Blyleven, ended in what is his rightful place in Cooperstown.

Blyleven's case shows the power of the internet and its influence on what is a membership slow to movement, the BBWAA electorate. Blyleven started with 17 percent of the vote in his first year of the vote and 15 percent in the second, all the way to more than the required 75 percent this season, his 14th year on the ballot.

Maybe that's a bit of hope for the likes of Barry Larkin, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell, but the "was he good enough" debate has officially become passé.

With the exclusion of Jeff Bagwell and Rafael Palmeiro, the BBWAA voters are now voting on morality over baseball.

I'm as big of a supporter of the BBWAA and its election as anyone you'll find without a vote. In its defense, I offer only the Gold Gloves (voted on by coaches and managers), All-Star starters (fans) and the Veteran's Committee for the Hall of Fame which has kept Marvin Miller out. But on this latest test, the BBWAA voters have failed.

Jeff Bagwell has no-doubt Hall of Fame numbers, he also has the aura so many ask for in their voting. When he was at the plate, he didn't look out of place in Cooperstown. Instead, he's on the outside because of suspicions, not facts. As journalists, we are supposed to write what we can prove. Nobody has been able to prove anything about Bagwell other than what he produced on the field.

Jeff Bagwell For too many writers, the voting is based too much on their own insecurities for how they did their job. They wish they'd been able to break the big story -- or even look good in retrospect by throwing out a suspicion -- and are using that to now stand a ground, despite having no ground on which to stand.

Things will get even more interesting next year, as those focused on the Blyleven case will shift their focus to the suspected steroid users. There's no real compelling first-year eligible players next season (Bernie Williams, who will not be elected, is the biggest new name on the ballot), so it seems like the year that Larkin will be enshrined and we could even see great gains by the likes of Trammell and Raines. But that won't be the story.

Instead, we'll be looking at Palmeiro and Bagwell as test cases for the 2013 first-year nominees in Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa. If this year's voting is a guide, the Hall of Fame will be without some of its greatest players in the next 20 years. Bonds and Clemens, in the discussion for the greatest of all time, could be left in the cold with Pete Rose signing autographs outside the Hall of Fame instead of having their picture hanging in it.

As Rose has found, a simple admission of guilt won't do. The voters want to serve as judge and jury, sentencing some of the best players of all time to a future without the Hall of Fame. Mark McGwire was judged for the first time since he admitted his steroid use last January. He went from 128 votes (23.5 percent) of the votes in his first year of eligibility in 2007 to 128 votes (23.7 percent) last season. This year his vote total went down, to 19.8 percent. Palmeiro -- one of just four players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs -- garnered just 11 percent of the vote, while "whispers" kept Bagwell to 41.7 percent.

As tiresome as the Blyleven/Jack Morris debate had become it's about to get more contentious.

Here's the final voting
Name Votes Pct.
Roberto Alomar 523 90.0%
Bert Blyleven 463 79.7%
Barry Larkin 361 62.1%
Jack Morris 311 53.5%
Lee Smith 263 45.3%
Jeff Bagwell 242 41.7%
Tim Raines 218 37.5%
Edgar Martinez 191 32.9%
Alan Trammell 141 24.3%
Larry Walker 118 20.3%
Mark McGwire 115 19.8%
Fred McGriff 104 17.9%
Dave Parker 89 15.3%
Don Mattingly 79 13.6%
Dale Murphy 73 12.6%
Rafael Palmeiro 64 11.0%
Juan Gonzalez 30 5.2%
Harold Baines 28 4.8%
John Franco 27 4.6%
Kevin Brown 12 2.1%
Tino Martinez 6 1.0%
Marquis Grissom 4 0.7%
Al Leiter 4 0.7%
John Olerud 4 0.7%
B.J. Surhoff 2 0.3%
Bret Boone 1 0.2%
Benito Santiago 1 0.2%
Carlos Baerga 0 0.0%
Lenny Harris 0 0.0%
Bobby Higginson 0 0.0%
Charles Johnson 0 0.0%
Raul Mondesi 0 0.0%
Kirk Rueter 0 0.0%

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Since: Jul 13, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2011 12:11 am

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Good Answer!  I can't get by his 60 Shutouts either.  We won't see that again for a long time...

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2011 4:26 pm

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Just for debate's sake, the 162 game average (the stat used to figure those 2 more wins a year) of some other hall of fame pitchers are:
Nolan Ryan  14-13, Don Sutton  14-11,  Fergie Jenkins  15-12, Phil Neikro  14-12, Gaylord Perry  15-12, Bert Blyleven  14-12.  Pretty comprible to me.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2011 4:23 pm

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Just for debate's sake, the 162 game average (the stat used to figure those 2 more wins a year) of some other hall of fame pitchers are:
Nolan Ryan  14-13, Don Sutton  14-11,  Fergie Jenkins  15-12, Phil Neikro  14-12, Gaylord Perry  15-12, Bert Blyleven  14-12.  Pretty comprible to me.

Since: Oct 7, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2011 11:46 pm

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Regardless of how you feel about steroid era players.. Blyleven is by far the worst player in the HOF. He only averaged 2 more wins a year than loses. I give him credit for the 3700 k's and that he played on poor teams most of his career. I compare him to Jamie Moyer who will most likely also make the Hall. For a hitter i value longevity, but for a pitcher there has to be a period of dominance. Blylevin was only an all star THREE times. Now he is a hall-of-famer.. ??!!?? I think the integrity of the hall took a bigger hit here than adding outcasts such as joe jackson and pete rose. The level of integrity has now been compromised.

Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2011 5:14 pm

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

C-trent, didn't the writers keep shoeless Joe out because of suspicion? He was never proven to have been involved in throwing the series! I think the writers are to cozy with the players, you could even make a case as steriod enablers for looking the other way all those years. This is a mess the the writers are partially responsible for and maybe should lose their voting rights over! It doesn't make sense for the same people who allowed all this to happen to get to vote those players in, like the Buster Olney's of the world. If Olney had his way they would all be in and I believe they will eventually get in! The writers have a chance to do the right thing and not let these guys in but I doubt it!

Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2011 2:37 pm

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Wasn't Roberto Alomar on the list of those using performance inhancing drugs? Why is Mark McGuire singled out? Shouldn't Alomar be lumped in with him?

I say, that McGuire should be considered for the HOF if Alomar can get in. This is the most predudicial group of people that I can think of. I guess you have to know somebody that knows somebody to get in. Maybe we should put the voting up to the fans? Something has to change with the process, or you might as well close it down because it will be meaningless.

Since: Jan 10, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:04 am

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Blyleven in the Hall?
1 20 win season
2 All-star appearances
0 Cy Youngs
0 times led league in wins or ERA
0 Gold gloves
A great pitcher - Yes
HOF - I don't think so.

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2011 4:18 pm

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

And here in lies the problem with all this, anyone that voted for Olerud, Surhoff, Boone, nad Santiago should loose there right to vote.  There is no way any of those four should be in the HOF.  Why give someone the right to vote if they are going to blow it outright?  Just like the idiot a few years ago that won't for an obvious HOF player simply because he didn't want them to get in with 100% of the vote.  What a joke, if the player deserves a vote then let him in.  I don't believe in this 15 years to try to get in but I guess for the borderline guys you have to do it that way.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2011 2:55 pm

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Blyleven is the second greatest Dutch Major Leaguer after Honus Wagner.  I think Bert deserved to be in the Hall.  But as many have voiced, 'He hasn't struck anyone out in 14 years.'  He hasn't gotten any better.  So evidently it isn't true for all voters that once a player is eligible he is either a HOFer or he isn't--some voters need some convincing?  I realize the voters have other jobs and interests but does it take that many years of deciphering stats and Golden Gloves and All-star appearances?  There is something rotten in Denmark but there must be much joy in their neighboring Holland.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:54 am

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

We have learned to look in deeper and better ways to discover the quality of pitching being produced.  during Bert's career the writers missed it.  so it was up to us today to uncover just how great he truly was.

Since 1921, the advent of the live ball era, there are only 4 pitchers who have 60 career shutouts - Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Bert Blyleven.That total is no fluke.  It is no mistake gained by just hanging around - you have to be pretty darn good to total one shutout after another.  This year, Roy halladay had 4 shutouts.  In 1989 at the age of 38, Bert led the league with 5 shutouts!
he has more than Juan marichal, Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Gaylord perry, Don sutton, Ed Walsh, Mordecai Brown, Rube Waddell, etc.
the career shutout list is one of the most accurate indicators of pitching greatness we have.  It is at least as accurate as Wins or ERA+.

He is 5th all-time in Ks. He is a pitcher who belongs in the HOF.  Is he as good as Tom Seaver - no. but not many are.  among the pitchers now in the HOF, Bert easily ranks in the top half - 20th-25th.  that makes him a HOF pitcher.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or