Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cards from the Old Man: Part 6

This is the sixth in a series of posts about cards I received from the old collector in our town who had library catalogs full of cards from the 1950's-1970's. You can see those original posts here and here if you missed them.

Parts 1-5 were all the 1973 Topps cards I got from the "old man". Now we move on to the 1972 cards. This card is one of the early cards of a man many say should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He fell just 5 votes short in 2010 with 74.2% of the vote.

I actually didn't pick this card to trade for, the old man picked it for me. I asked if he had any Twins cards because "I was born in Minnesota". He picked out this card and said Bert was pretty good. I sort of heard of Bert Blyleven because of the 1979 Pirates and that World Series being the first real baseball I ever saw on television.

Blyleven went on to have a very solid career. Over 22 seasons, he pitched 4970 innings in 692 games, completing 242 games with 60 shutouts. His record was 287-250 with an ERA of 3.31. His 3,701 strikeouts rank fifth on the alltime list. He had 11 seasons with 14 or more wins, winning 20 games only once, in 1973. He also had 15 years of double digit losses, including 5 years with 15 or more losses. Bert pitched the better part of his career in an era when pitchers went deep into games, taking more losses than they would in today's game.

Blyleven was the 1970 Rookie Pitcher of the Year. As noted on the back of this card, Bert gave up a homerun to the first batter he faced in his first big league start, yet won the game 2-1. He pitched in two World Series, 1979 with the Pirates and 1987 with the Twins. He went 2-1 in those WS starts.

Blyleven missed induction with the 2010 Hall of Fame class by only 5 votes, ending up with 74.2%. This was quite an improvement over 2009 when he received 62.7% of the votes (67 short) and 2008 when he received 61.9% (72 short).

It looks like it will be Blyleven in '11. Best of luck Bert!


  1. Oh, dear, that last line was bordering on Chris Berman territory.