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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blyleven & The Great 1973 Cy Young Robbery (Gif)

(Dan Johnson at The Expansion Years site created this gif)
Our guy Bert, complete with tongue protrusions (1972 gif photo). You really owe it to yourself to check out  his '73 game-by-game numbers at Baseball Reference. Among the things that stand out for me were his innings pitched, strikeouts, 1-0 games, shutouts, et. al.

In another era of statistical analysis, he WOULD have been awarded the Cy Young.

A 2009 article by Rich Lederer serves up a sparkling analysis of why The Dutchman was robbed of the honor for his '73 showcase season (Lederer background link)! One reason I believe he was bypassed was the fact that the Twins lost so many games in which he pitched "quality" ballgames, 6 innings or more, while giving up 3 or fewer earned runs. To wit, he lost 8 one run games that year. EIGHT, my good lords and ladies. Pardon, but I thinketh the voters erred mightily in overlooking this.

That detracted from a record which may have totaled 26, 27 wins instead of his merely excellent 20. Throw in the fact that he was an emotional guy, not one to hold his tongue in check, thus earning a repution (unfairly) of being immature, or just a "thrower," as opposed to a "mounds craftsman" (see "Greg Maddux, professor). He would give up the go-ahead dinger, lose by a run, and the talking heads would wag "He's just good enough to lose. Hmmnph. Not elite. " The lords of baseball: such a snooty, testy bunch! Whatever.
Never mind that the Twins had scored only one or two runs. It was his character flaw that had caused him to lose the ballgame for the TC guys, went the logic. Nevertheless, Bert coasted into the Hall of Fame this year, with much credit to the above Mr. Lederer. He wrote tirelessly for years, in online pieces such as "It's All Dutch To Some" (2005), that helped to turn the tide in favor of Blyleven's candidacy. Once deferred, justice restored.
Now, if we could just right that goofy
1973 Cy Young voting result... 

As our old friend at the mic, Herb Carneal, quipped:

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