Tag: Bert Blyleven

Minnesota Twins Twitter War: Bert Blyleven vs. Patrick Reusse

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It’s the only way you’re reading this right now.

The Internet has provided the masses so much information that it’s almost unthinkable. Everyday something new appears on the World Wide Web, and currently most of that happens to be coming from the social media site Twitter.

Twitter’s micro-blogging format is supposed to give us an inside look at the lives of our favorite people. Actors, singers, politicians, athletes, news reporters and friends alike all can be found on the site. A lot can be said in 140 characters, just ask the Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune and 1500 ESPN.

During Friday night’s Minnesota Vikings preseason game, the long-time columnist and radio host sent out the following tweet:

Those announcers were rival radio station KFAN’s Paul Allen and Pete Bercich, whom, if you listen to any of their broadcasts, one would gather that they are a very biased duo. Allen has a tendency to refer to the Vikings in the first person: “We have to do this. We have a tough schedule.”

I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but it is definitely within the realm of being a “homer,” as Reusse stated in his tweet.

By the same token, the FSN duties Reusse is referring to are the Minnesota Twins announcers Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven.

On their telecasts the homerism isn’t as blatant, but it’s still there. The two most always shine a positive light on the Twins—a team that hasn’t had much light to shine on to them the past two seasons.

Twitter exploded when Bert Blyleven made strong negative statements about struggling second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka. This kind of thing is unheard of from the FSN North booth.

That being said, Blyleven seemed to take offense to Reusse’s tweet last night. So much that Blyleven couldn’t fit it all in 140 characters. It took three tweets mentioning Reusse:

“@1500ESPN_Reusse Very interesting that a guy like you can consistently criticize others when you played what sport? You are Mr. Negative!”

“@1500ESPN_Reusse For years you have been a writer that always looks for the negative. Keep up the good work because you are good at it!”

“@1500ESPN_Reusse I believe weather baseball, football or whatever sport, fans want to hear positive. The ones that don’t, listen to YOU!”

It was a highly unexpected exchange—Blyleven is usually very soft spoken. Here’s the Reusse rebuttal:

“Missed Bert’s blasts until just now. Was it Twitter-only? P.S.: If I had to do it over, I’d still vote for him for Hall of Fame every year.”

Later he responded to a fan’s tweet directed at him about the Blyleven situation:

“One-sided battle. I’m not mad at anybody. RT @chazily: does this mean I have to choose sides in great battle with @BertBlyleven28 ?”

So by the looks of it, Reusse isn’t mad at anybody, but Blyleven does not seem too happy with Reusse. Blyleven had additional tweets mentioning other Twitter users saying that Reusse is a know- it-all and that Reusse should run for president for that reason.

Well, Bert get over it. You’re making a fool of yourself. You made my point in your second tweet blasting Reusse. Patrick Reusse is a writer; in fact, he is a sports columnist for a well-respected newspaper in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is paid for his opinion on sports, in two different mediums.

Yes, Reusse is a negative guy, but that’s how you get readers or listeners. You have to go against the grain, and then people listen to you. Reusse is a self-proclaimed curmudgeon and he won’t back down.

Whenever you are in the public eye, you are putting yourself out there to be criticized, even when what you’re saying isn’t that much of a criticism.

I’m not much of a soldier, but I’m behind Patrick Reusse on this one. To steal a segment from ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike In the Morning…Bert Blyleven, just shut up.

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MLB Hall of Fame: Bert Blyleven One of 15 Hall of Famers Who Had a Long Wait

Before gaining entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame, a player must wait five years after his retirement to become eligible and then be named on 75 percent or more of the total ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Former pitcher Bert Blyleven did not achieve entry until his 14th try, and he is not alone in the annals of Cooperstown when it comes to having a long time to wait.

Because so few players were getting elected and inducted to the Hall in its early years, other mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that the Hall properly honors baseball’s true heroes. Still, the most prestige, and the greatest joy, is conferred upon those who are able to reach the promised land the old-fashioned way.

Setting aside (for now) those men who got into the Hall via either the Veterans or Old-Timers Committees, some 15 Hall of Famers went in on their 10th ballot or later.

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Bert Blyleven Enters Baseball Hall of Fame After 14-Year Wait

Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were voted in as the only two players in the 2011 National Baseball Hall of Fame class. Alomar made it in just his second year on the ballot, garnering 90 percent of the vote.

Blyleven, on the other hand, had to wait until his 14th year of eligibility, picking up 79.7 percent of the vote.

I believe that both deserved the honor. If not for Alomar’s infamous spitting incident in 1996, he likely would have been a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Blyleven, who threw his final major league pitch in 1992, joins the exclusive club with just one year to spare before his name would have been wiped off the ballot.

So while there was very little debate as to Alomar’s Hall-of-Fame worthiness, Blyleven had to play the waiting game for 14 years without actually doing anything on a Major League diamond to sway the last few writers to put a check mark next to his name. In his first year of eligibility, back in 1998, he only received 17.5 percent of the vote. Somehow, 13 years later, that percentage more than quadrupled.

This isn’t the first time a former player has waited for over a decade for his vote totals to take baby steps toward the needed 75 percent, and it won’t be the last. And I just don’t get it.

The question isn’t whether you think Blyleven deserved to get in or not, but it’s about the unnecessarily long 15-year time frame a player remains on the ballot. Other than some of the new-age sabermetric statistics that can be applied to Blyleven’s career, his body of work can be looked at today in the same way it was looked at after his final game in 1992.

Did it honestly take 14 years for some of the baseball writers to think, “Hey, maybe these really are Hall of Fame numbers after all.”?

In reality, it probably didn’t go that way. Without being one of those writers or knowing any of them, I can only speculate, but it’s likely that two things pushed Blyleven into the Hall:

1) Other than Alomar, the 2011 ballot was littered with a bunch of known or suspected steroid users, so Blyleven seemed more appealing in comparison and

2) writers talk to each other, and perhaps peer pressure and politicking by pro-Blyleven writers eventually pushed some of the anti-Blyleven camp to the other side.

I would argue that a lot of writers are ignoring one of the vital aspects of voting. Taken right from the Hall of Fame’s website:

Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

If the voters didn’t think Blyleven had Hall-of-Fame credentials in these areas when they voted in ’98, why do they think he had them during the 2011 vote?

If it sounds like I’m in favor of only allowing one year of eligibility, I’m not. In fact, now more than ever, voters need more time. There are simply too many questions about many steroid-era players (Jeff Bagwell was hurt by this in this year’s vote), and the last thing a voter needs to do is make a split-second decision to vote for a player only to find that the player was on the juice for most of his career.

The problem is that you often hear from baseball writers and baseball people in general that the Hall of Fame is reserved for the true greats of the game, yet for someone like Bert Blyleven, it apparently takes 14 years for some voters to realize his greatness. If it takes that long to decide, how great could the guy have been anyway?

Again, I’m glad Blyleven’s in. Although I didn’t watch him pitch during his prime, seeing his statistics and knowing the era he played in, I have always thought of him as a Hall-of-Famer. If someone can give me one good reason it took nearly a decade and a half for this to become a reality, I would love to hear it.

Bert Blyleven wasn’t Tom Seaver. I understand that. I admit that a vote for Blyleven isn’t a no-brainer. But it’s as if the voters are creating a tier system. First-year induction has typically been reserved for the best of the best. Perhaps I’m being too simplistic, but I say that a Hall of Famer is a Hall of Famer.

I’m pretty sure Rickey Henderson will be served the same dinner as Ryne Sandberg the night before the induction ceremony, even though Sandberg had to wait longer to get in. Despite the writers’ insistence on trying to divide the group into “legendary,” “great,” and “good enough,” every Hall of Famer has the same sized plaque and the same time allotted for his speech (as far as I know).

I heard baseball writers/Hall of Fame voters Jon Heyman and Tom Verducci on MLB Network yesterday talking about how Barry Larkin getting 62 percent of this year’s vote means he’s gaining momentum and he should get in within a year or two.

Gaining momentum? Is this is a political campaign? Is Larkin doing more marketing for his Hall candidacy on Facebook these days? Baseball writers, you are allowed to vote in 10 players each year; if you think Larkin should be in, vote for him! Don’t worry about too many players making it in one year. Don’t categorize him as a player not good enough to get in on the first or second ballot. If you think he’s a Hall of Famer, give him a vote! If you truly don’t believe his career warrants his induction, don’t vote for him. But either way, stick to your guns!

If it weren’t for the steroid era, I’d be in favor of five years of eligibility. With the steroid era, I still don’t see why 10 years wouldn’t be long enough. That might help eliminate some of these issues I’ve mentioned.

I am well aware that some people will read this and think I’m being too harsh on the Hall-of-Fame voters. If that is the case for you, I ask that you please bookmark this article and read it once every year. Maybe by the 14th year, you’ll come around.

Get my thoughts on sports and life in general at my blog, What’s Wrong with What’s Right

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MLB Hall of Fame Voting 2011: Top Five Surprises

It is easy to second-guess or to cry “foul” at the Hall of Fame voting done by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

At least this year they did pick the correct winners. Everybody knew it was only a matter of time before Roberto Alomar punched his ticket. He would probably have been a first-ballot man had it not been for the spitting incident.

He actually was the high scorer on the list with over 90 percent of the sports writers writing his name.

Had Bert Blyleven missed again this year, he would have had only one more shot. He cleared the hurdle this year with a surprisingly small amount of clearance. The “Dutchman” garnered 79.7 percent of the votes.

That was all well and good. My problem comes with a few players I thought would do much better.

Jeff Bagwell received only 41.7 percent of the votes and lagged behind nominee war-horses Jack Morris and Lee Smith.

“Bags” surely has the numbers to be included among the hallowed men of Cooperstown. He was a Rookie of the Year, an MVP, a four time All-Star, won three Silver Slugger Awards and one Gold Glove Award.

He hit 30 homers or more nine times and drove in 100 or more eight times. He finished with .297/449/1529. He had a most impressive OBP of .408, so what was there not to like?

The man was never mentioned in a steroid article or appeared on any list of “questionable” suspects. 

Why so little love?

Tim Raines should already be enshrined, but I will go there anyway. Why is he constantly overlooked? He was not just one of the most prolific base thieves in history. He was on every NL All-Star team from 1981 until 1986 inclusive.

He led the NL in batting in 1986 with a .334 clip and also led in OBP with .413. He batted over .300 seven times and won one Silver slugger Award.

37.5 percent of the vote is disgraceful for a player on the ballot for his fourth time, with his credentials.

I was mystified that Larry Walker tallied only 20 percent of votes in his initial campaign. The man is legend.  He won an MVP, three batting titles, one HR title and finished his career with an OBP of .400.

Walker was a five time All-Star, won seven Gold Glove awards along with three Silver Slugger awards.

He batted over .300 nine times, hit 30 HR or more four times and once belted 49 and I don’t care that most came at Coors Field. His final numbers are .313/383/1311.

I was shocked that Alan Trammell received just over 24 percent in his 10th year of eligibility. He was my top pick for eligible SS not in the Hall of Fame in April of 2009. It is clear to me that he will not make the HOF and will be snubbed and written off as was Tommy John just a few years ago.

I think the biggest surprise to me was the total lack of respect for Rafael Palmeiro. I understand many have written him off as a “user.” Whatever he was late in his career, he was also on the very short list of players who hit 500 HR and collected over 3000 hits.

That list includes only Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray, Willie Mays and of course Palmeiro. Impressive wouldn’t you say?

It was also alarming to see that two time MVP winner Juan Gonzalez barely made the cut for next year. With a .295/434/1404 line you would think that he would have been more than just a one time appearance which is what he nearly was with only 5.2 percent.

That is my two cents, what’s yours?

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Bert Blyleven, Roberto Alomar and Rage Over ‘Roids In MLB Hall Of Fame Voting

So, the baseball Hall of Fame voting for this year is in, and there will be three new inductees. 

Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick are all set to be enshrined later this year. 

I can’t quibble with any of these choices. Alomar really should have been in last year but I presume the infamous spitting incident led some voters to withhold support to keep the honor of first ballot induction from the best second baseman in recent history.  

It’s a travesty that it took Blyleven until his next-to-last year of eligibility to finally get the honor, but at least they got it right for a change. 

And Gillick was an excellent GM who built a two-time champion and consistent contender in Toronto, and another consistent contender later in Baltimore. His induction by the Veteran’s Committee is well-deserved.

Now, with that out of the way, it’s on to my gripes and there are a few. 

Let’s start with John Franco. It’s arguable to some whether or not Franco, the long-time closer for the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets, is deserving of the Hall, but what shouldn’t be is that he deserved more than the piddling 4.6% of the votes he received.  This performance in his first year of eligibility was so bad that he’ll be taken off of the ballot entirely. One-and-done for one of the best relief pitchers of this era?

Meanwhile, Lee Smith, who had a very similar career, keeps chugging along with right around 50% of the vote year after year.

Franco had a career winning record with almost 20 more wins than Smith, who was 21 games under .500 for his career. Franco had a career ERA under 3.00 at 2.89, while Smith checked in at 3.03. Smith pitched in the post-season twice in his career and notched an 0-2 record with an astronomical 8.44 ERA, while his teams lost both series he played in.  Franco also pitched in the postseason twice, but his teams won three of the five series he took part in. 

Franco’s playoff career? He was 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three times the number of innings Smith hurled. That’s not to say Franco was a better overall player than Smith, just that the two are reasonably close; certainly close enough that Franco should have gotten more than 1/10th of the support Smith consistently garners.

Speaking of inconsistent voting, take the case of the shortstops Barry Larkin and Alan Trammell. These guys were essentially the same player. Their careers are eerily similar, right down to their stats being very, very comparable. Both guys won a World Series, Larkin won an MVP award and Trammell was robbed of an MVP by George Bell in 1987.  Trammell won four gold gloves, Larkin won three. 

Both guys had career postseason averages over .330, but while Larkin never hit a playoff home run and drove in only three runs in 17 games; Trammell had three homers and 11 RBI in 13 games. Plus, they are both in the increasingly small club of players to spend their entire careers in the same city.

So, can someone explain to me how that translates into Larkin receiving almost three times the number of votes as Trammell? At this rate, Trammell will have to hope for the Veterans Committee to give him his just due, while Larkin could be inducted as early as next year. 

There is quite simply nowhere near the kind of gap between these two careers that the Hall voters are showing.

It’s sad to see guys like Dave Parker and Harold Baines fall off the ballot after this year.  Neither guy really had the obvious the overall career to merit enshrinement, although I think a stronger case can be made for Parker and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a Veteran’s Committee selection somewhere down the road.

I also don’t believe that Parker was considerably different overall than Jim Rice, who was inducted a few years ago, other than the fact that he played his prime years in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati where Rice played for the much-higher profile Boston Red Sox.

Baines is a guy that, to me, is a stronger case for the DH than Edgar Martinez. For some reason, Martinez garners quite a bit of Hall support even though his career totals aren’t even close for Hall enshrinement, in my opinion. Baines’ numbers are a little short, I believe, and were boosted by a much longer career, but why does Edgar get the benefit of the DH doubt but Baines doesn’t? At least Baines played the first third of his career as a pretty good outfielder for the White Sox before ailing knees forced him into the DH role, where he thrived from 1987 up until his retirement after the 2001 season.

Martinez only played over 100 games in the field in a season three times in his career, totaling less than four full seasons of defensive play. Certainly, he was an exceptional hitter in his prime, much better than Baines, but in my opinion, if you’re going to use the DH to extend your career, you’d better have Hall caliber totals when all is said and done to get that bronze bust and Martinez simply doesn’t, especially for a guy who didn’t even play the field.

And, finally, can we please move past the steroid garbage? At this point, the media and voters are making more of a sham of the Hall than anything the players may or may not have done. 

Even Jeff Bagwell was quoted saying something to the affect of he would rather not even be voted in because of the all the suspicion and demonizing. It’s sad when a player who has never even been linked to PEDs would rather skip his sport’s Hall of Fame entirely than deal with this; Bagwell, by the way, only received 44% of the votes with some suggestion that steroid suspicions may have led to the lower count.

Rafael Palmiero belongs in the Hall of Fame; there is simply no debating the point to me. His career was far too outstanding to keep him out, whatever the reasons. He wasn’t simply a big power hitter, although he did hit his share of homers. He was a great contact hitter, fantastic in the clutch, an excellent defensive first baseman and one of the best team leaders going in his prime. 

So he failed a drug test and may or may not have lied to Congress. He served his suspension, and was never charged with lying which, to me, indicates they didn’t have any real proof he lied anyway. Remember, his failed test was after his statements under oath. 

Who really cares? He’s a baseball player, not a world leader. And every other word that comes out of our congressmen and women’s mouths are a lie, so what’s the big deal? The entire exercise of the hearing in the first place was a photo-op sham designed to provide good press and distract from their failures as legislators.

I haven’t had as much of a problem with Mark McGwire being left out because I don’t think he has the total package to be in the Hall anyway, but I wouldn’t argue if he did make it. Let’s be honest, there are already two of the best players in the history of the game blocked from the Hall in Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose.

If guys like McGwire, Palmiero, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Andy Pettite, etc are also stone-walled, exactly how credible is the Hall going to continue to be? And it’s not like baseball doesn’t have a long and celebrated history of cheating to get an edge, anyway, including some players like Gaylord Perry, who willfully flaunted the rules during their playing days. 

The difference being most of the things guys like Perry did were clearly outlawed by baseball; PEDs weren’t.

Palmiero received a miniscule 11% of the vote. Even McGwire got almost 20%. That, in and of itself, is inconsistent. The only players in baseball history with careers similar to Palmiero are Eddie Murray, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. All McGwire’s got are the home runs and he only had 14 more that Raffy for his career. Palmiero is a much more deserving candidate than McGwire under any criteria you want to look at. 

Even if you’re penalizing for steroids, how does a less deserving candidate get twice the votes?

Enough with the rage over ‘roids. Some people got caught, most didn’t and we’ll never know exactly who was using what and when. Are we going to go back and throw out all of the players from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s who were amped up on speed? Reports are that just about everyone was using those; they were illegal. 

That was cheating and it enhanced performance. Why aren’t we demonizing that era’s best? To me, it all comes down to play on the field. Let the guys in who’s performance dictated such an honor. To do any less demeans not only the Hall, but the game itself. 

We’ve reached the point where those who seek to punish the PED users are inflicting more damage to the game’s legacy than the drugs ever did.

If you’re not going to vote for the game’s best, whatever your reasons, then do everyone a favor and give up your vote.

Just stop with the hypocrisy already.

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Baseball Hall Of Fame: If You Have To Think, They’re Not Hall of Famers

If you need to think about whether or not a player is a hall of famer, then he’s not.

It really is that simple.

The players elected to the Hall of Fame should be the guys who give you goosebumps. The hitters who, when they stepped into the batter’s box, you stopped to watch. The pitchers who, when they took the mound, gave you a chance to see a no hitter or perfect game.

Lou Gherig. Hank Aaron. Willie Mays. Sandy Koufax. Satchel Paige. Those guys.

Today, Bert Blyleven was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. His name was included on 79 percent of the ballots (75 percent is required for election).

Wait, 79 percent? So that means 21 percent said “No.” If there are voters who don’t think you are a hall of famer—not just fans, but voters—then you aren’t a hall of famer.

Blyleven won 20 games once. It happened in his fourth year in the majors (1973) and he never did it again in his 22-year career. He didn’t win 300 games (287). From 1976 to 1992, Blyleven tallied 200 strikeouts just twice (1985, 1986).

Is that a hall of famer? Obviously the answer is yes, but did he have the kind of stats to have his name next to the all-time greats?

I’m not saying that everyone in the Hall of Fame deserves to be there. That’s obviously not true.

But that’s my point.

Is Ken Griffey, Jr. a hall of famer? Of course he is. You can answer that question without thinking or looking up any stats.

Is Greg Maddux a hall of famer? Yes. No need to look up stats. Yes, he is.

Pedro Martinez? Yes.

But there are guys that will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in the next few and people are going to be debating whether or not they’re hall of famers. There shouldn’t be any debate. What would be the harm in NOT voting anyone into the HOF one year? Why does someone have to go in every year?

Jeff Bagwell didn’t get in this year. There are guys who are going nuts that he’s not in. Then there are guys who are so sure he’s not a hall of famer. There should be no debate.

On top of that, you don’t get in on the first ballot…you don’t get in. What is this second chance stuff? Roberto Alomar was elected to the Hall of Fame this year, after falling short in 2010. He spit on an umpire and could be a bit curt with the media, so that same media kept him out as punishment.

Now, a year later, he gets 90 percent of the votes. Come on. So he wasn’t last year, but he is this year?

Don’t get me wrong. I think Alomar is a hall of famer. But the idea that he was this year but not last year as some sort of punishment is ridiculous.

When voting for the Hall of Fame, the players who get inducted cannot possibly be questioned. Will there always be debate? Sure. But there are guys who are not debatable, not in any way, and those are the hall of famers.

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MLB Hall of Fame Voting 2011: Did Voters Make The Right Decision?

The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame is getting three new members.

It was announced Wednesday that Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar each received votes from the required 75 percent of the ballots from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to be elected into the Hall of Fame, joining long-time general manager Pat Gillick, who was elected by the Veterans Committee last month.

For Blyleven, who amassed 287 wins, 3,701 strikeouts and a 3.31 ERA over his 23-year career as a major league starter with six different franchises, it was a long time coming.

Unsuccessful in his first 13 years of eligibility, Blyleven missed out by five votes last year, but received votes on 79.7 percent of ballots this time around. He is the first starting pitcher to be elected since Nolan Ryan in 1999.

Blyleven is fifth all-time on baseball’s strikeout list, and his 60 shutouts are ninth.

“It’s been 14 years of praying and waiting,” Blyleven told news services in a conference call. “I’d like to thank the Baseball Writers of America for, I’d like to say, finally getting it right.”

The wait was a bit less excruciating for Alomar, who gets in after being eligible for two years.

Alomar, a 12-time All-Star, received 90 percent of the vote after failing to be elected a year ago, perceivably because of his infamous incident with John Hirschbeck in 1996, when Alomar spat in the face of the former major league umpire.

A .309 career hitter, Alomar totaled 2,724 hits and 474 stolen bases in his 17 seasons, and his 10 Gold Gloves are the most of any second baseman in history. He also won two World Series rings in 1992 and ’93 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

“Robbie deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” said Gillick, who won two of his three world titles as Alomar’s general manager in Toronto. “He’s the best second baseman I have ever seen. Robbie could do it all.”

The 73-year-old Gillick served as the general manager of the Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and, most recently, Philadelphia Phillies, where he won the last of his world championships in 2008.

Gillick is the 32nd executive to be elected, but only the fourth credited with being a team architect, according to the Hall of Fame.

The three, who will be inducted on July 24, are all well deserving, and voters absolutely made the right call, if only a decade or so late on sending Blyleven through.

But the writers didn’t smile upon everybody.

Of the 27 names involved in the voting, only four were on 50 percent or more of the writers’ ballots, including several famous—or infamous—players.

Rafael Palmeiro, who along with Eddie Murray and Hank Aaron is the only player with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits in a career, received just 11 percent of the votes. He is joined by fellow slugger Mark McGwire, who received 19.8 percent of the votes, the lowest mark of his five times on the ballot.

Palmeiro and McGwire, who are 12th and 10th, respectively, on baseball’s all-time home run list, are presumed to be suffering in Hall balloting because of their link to steroid use.

And the same may be said of former Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell, who has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but received only 41.7 percent of votes in his first year of eligibility.

“I’m so sick and tired of all the steroids crap, it’s messed up my whole thinking on the subject…” Bagwell admitted to ESPN.com. “So much has gone on in the last eight or nine years, it’s kind of taken some of the valor off it for me.

“If I ever do get to the Hall of Fame and there are 40 guys sitting behind me thinking, ‘He took steroids,’ then it’s not even worth it to me. I don’t know if that sounds stupid. But it’s how I feel in a nutshell.”

Other big names on the ballot included Barry Larkin, who finished closest to Blyleven with 62 percent of votes, Jack Morris (53.5), Lee Smith (45.3), Tim Raines (37.5), Edgar Martinez (32.9), Alan Trammell (24.3), Larry Walker (20.3) and Fred McGriff (17.9).

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Baseball Hall Of Fame: Bert Blyleven In, Who’s Long Wait Will End Next?

On Wednesday afternoon, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the induction of Bert Blyleven (among others) after a 14-year wait.  Blyleven’s election comes on the heels of the elections of Jim Rice (class of ’09) and Andre “Hawk” Dawson (’10) after comparably long waits.  With these three men all in, we can now turn our sights to other players who have spent many years (five or more for the sake of this article) on the ballot and are still waiting for the all-important call from Cooperstown.  I took each player who will be on their fifth ballot or late in 2012.  Players are ordered not by merit, but by time on the ballot to avoid any claims of favoritism.


Dale Murphy: 1977-1993 (14th Ballot in 2012): .265 BA, 398 HR, 1,266 RBIs, 1982 and ’83 NL MVP, 7-time All-Star, 5 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers (12.6 percent in 2011)

With the exception of his batting average, Dale Murphy’s numbers compare quite favorably to Hall of Famer Jim Rice.  Even if they don’t put him in the Hall, they certainly should garner better than 12.6 percent over the ballots cast.  Two MVPs for Murphy against one for Rice, seven All-Stars vs eight, four Silver Sluggers vs two, five Gold Gloves vs none.  Murphy hit 16 more home runs and drove in 200 less RBIs in two more seasons.  When comparing Murphy to Jim Rice, one must ask, are too few people voting for Murphy, or did too many vote for Rice?

Murphy dominated from 1982 through ’87, hitting .289 and averaging 36 HR and 105 RBIs.  He made the All-Star game each year and won both of his MVPs along with all of his Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers in that period.  After 1987, Murphy was unable to match that type of success again.  He hit over .250 only once (1991 with the Phillies) and never again drove in over 90 runners.

The .265 career BA and short window of dominance are the biggest marks against Murphy. 


Jack Morris: 1977-1994 (13th Ballot in 2012): 254 W, 3.90 ERA, 2,478 K, 5-time All-Star (53.5 percent in 2011)

Morris was the winningest pitcher of the 1980s with 162 victories.  The pitchers that led every previous decade in wins have all reached the hallowed hall of Cooperstown.  The 1990s’ leader Greg Maddux is a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer as well.  Morris won four World Series rings with the Tigers (1984), Twins (’91) and Blue Jays (’92 and ’93).  His gutty ten-inning performance in game seven of the ’91 World Series is the accomplishment that is most closely associated with Morris.  Now that Bert Byleven (a player with significantly better stats across the board) has been inducted, the debate can begin in earnest over Morris.

The two biggest marks against Morris are his 3.90 career ERA and lack of a Cy Young Award.  Will that be enough to hold him out?  Only time will tell.  It is worth noting that of the players on this list, Morris was the only one to receive better than 50-percent of the vote in 2011.


Don Mattingly: 1982-1995 (12th Ballot in 2012): .307 BA, 222 HR, 1,099 RBI, 1985 MVP, 6-time All-Star, 9 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers (13.6 percent in 2011)

“Donnie Baseball” had one of the most dominant six-year periods of any player in that era.  From 1982-1989, Mattingly hit .327 and averaged 27 HR and 114 RBIs per season.  In that period, Mattingly won his MVP, made all six of his all-star appearances, and collected five Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.

Unfortunately for Mattingly and his supporters, back problems severely shortened the prime of his career.  After the ’89 season, Mattingly would never again reach 20 HR or 90 RBIs in a season.  Only once (’94) did he manage to hit over .300.  I fear that his lack of longevity will be enough to keep him out of Cooperstown.


Allen Trammell: 1977-1996 (11th Ballot in 2012): .285 BA, 185 HR, 1,003 RBIs, 1,231 R, 236 SB, 6-time All-Star, 4 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers (24.3 percent in 2011)

Allen Trammell was one of the key contributors to the Tigers during their run in the 1980s.  Playing shortstop in an era dominated by Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and future Hall of Famer (in my book at least) Barry Larkin led many to overlook the accomplishments of Trammell in Detroit.  Trammell was a sure-handed defender playing the toughest position on the field.

However, Trammell was a streaky hitter.  There were a handful of seasons when he would hit well over .300 before suddenly slipping back to an average in the .270s or worse the next year.  For his career, Trammell struck out more than he walked.  Though a solid fielder, he lacked the flashy defensive abilities that defined the careers of Smith and (potential HOFer) Omar Vizquel.


Lee Smith: 1980-1997 (10th Ballot in 2012): 71 W, 3.03 ERA, 478 S, 1,251 K, 7-time All-Star (45.3% in 2011)

For many years, relievers had a difficult time getting votes for the Hall.  Recently, this trend has begun to shift.  Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter were both elected after long waits and current closers Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera are looking like first-ballot HOFers.  At the time of his retirement, Lee Smith had the career lead in saves by over 100 on Dennis Eckersley.  Smith was the first pitcher to collect saves in such a large quantity.

Working against Smith is his 3.03 ERA (high for a Hall of Fame-caliber reliever) and low strikeout totals compared to his competition.  Many have made the argument that Smith was nothing more than a “compiler” of statistics over his 18-year career.


Mark McGwire: 1986-2001 (6th Ballot in 2012): .263 BA, 583 HR, 1,414 RBIs, 1987 AL ROY, 12-time All-Star, 1 Gold Glove, 3 Silver Sluggers (19.8 percent in 2011)

Mark McGwire was one of the most prolific homerun hitters in the history of the game.  “Big Mac” averaged 36 HR per season (that number jumps to 39 if you don’t include the 18 games he played in 1986) including injury-riddled 1993 and ’94 when he combined for 18 HR.

Given recent revelations, much of McGwire’s power numbers have come in to question.  Without his HRs, McGwire doesn’t have much to stand on.  He was a below-average defender at the position widely considered to be the easiest position on the field.  He hit .263 for his career and his RBI totals are quite low when you consider how many homeruns he hit (for the sake of comparison, Dave Winfield drove in 400 more runs while hitting 100 less homers).


Tim Raines: 1979-2002 (5th Ballot): .294 BA, 170 HR, 980 RBIs, 2,605 H, 808 SB, 7-time All-Star, 1 Silver Slugger (37.5% in 2011)

The supporters of Tim Raines often refer to him as the Rickey Henderson of the National League.  On the surface, that makes a lot of sense.  Both were leadoff men who hit for a similar average, stole a bunch of bases, and played LF instead of CF.

However, there is only one stat in which Henderson doesn’t blow Raines away.  Raines hit 15 points better than Henderson.  Other than that, Henderson has over 500 more steals, over 400 more hits, over 100 more homers, and 135 more RBIs.


Now that you have some information on the seven player who will be on the ballot for the fifth time or more in 2012, which ones do you think deserve to be elected?  Which ones will be elected?  I look forward to reading and responding to your comments on this subject.

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Bert Blyleven Elected To Baseball Hall of Fame: 10 Reasons He Belongs

The baseball writers made him wait far too long, but Bert Blyleven has finally gotten what he long deserved: He and Roberto Alomar became the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

This was Blyleven’s 14th time on the ballot, and though he came exceptionally close to being elected last season, he had surely begun to wonder if he would ever reach the promised land. Some rather cynical writers held his longevity against him; others insisted he lacked some intangible quality that a true Hall of Fame hurler ought to possess. It was all patently foolish, but it kept him out of Cooperstown for a decade and a half. No more. Read on for 10 reasons Blyleven deserves this honor.

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Bert Blyleven Makes It Into MLB Hall of Fame, but Should He Have?

The baseball Hall of Fame added two new members to its fraternity today with Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven making it in after narrowly missing last year.

It’s been a long road for Blyleven to the Hall of Fame, as this was his last year of eligibility. 

Bert has often spoken out about how he feels he belongs in Cooperstown, but his repeated campaigning didn’t pay off until this year. Now, Blyleven can be at ease knowing he will be among baseball’s greats, but does he belong?

Yes, yes he does.

When making Blyleven’s case for the Hall of Fame, you have to look no further than his 287 wins, which he compiled through 22 seasons on a number of bad teams. Blyleven wasn’t an electric pitcher and wasn’t the most exciting player to watch on the mound, from what I’m told.

I never did have the pleasure of watching Blyleven pitch, but from what I’ve read and looking at his stats, he had a hell of a case to make the HOF. Blyleven is most known for his “12-to-6” curveball, which was his out pitch.

In his 22 seasons, he pitched for five teams, was on two World Series winners and pitched a no-hitter in 1977. While many critics cite his lack of cultural impact on the game, his overall numbers are too hard to ignore.

Blyleven threw 60 shutouts over his career and finished with an ERA of 3.31. So why wasn’t he a first-ballot Hall of Famer?

Well, he did lose 250 games, which can be attributed to pitching on some poor squads. Blyleven also gave up an inordinate amount of home runs over his career—in 1986 and 1987 he gave up a combined 96 homers.

There are reasons why Blyleven shouldn’t make the HOF, but when you add everything up, there are plenty more why deserves to mentioned with the greats.

After 14 years chasing HOF glory, Blyleven can now sit back and relax knowing that what he did over 22 seasons was finally enough.

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