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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bert Blyleven Photo: 1972 Yearbook


This photo of young  Bert Blyleven was forwarded to me and others by Twins Twitter historian and local educator @MNTwinsZealot. He had found it right here, at Classic Minnesota Twins blog, which I'd forgotten I'd ever scanned and posted in the nether regions of this page. 

This is what he accomplished in his first full season for the fourth place Twins in '71, who finished 26.5 games back of Oakland:


How's that strike you? He had already become the 1971 Twins staff ace by the numbers over Jim Kaat and Jim Perry. The Brainerd (Minn.) Daily Dispatch gives this impression as well, from an April 13, 1971 report of a Blyleven shutout of Kansas City, with thoughts from Bill Rigney. He also had a legitimate chance to win 20 games, as the Twins lost 5 games in which he gave up 3 runs or less (game logs).

That theme would play out several seasons in succession, and would be (in my opinion), a large factor contributing to Bert failing to record 300 lifetime victories (287-250). Of course, lousy teams in Texas and Cleveland (two of Bert's future employers) would contribute to that fact. I recall somebody, a player, media member playing the naysayer regarding Blyleven's eligibility for the Hall Of Fame, some verbal flatulating about his not being "dominant" enough.

Funny - Don Sutton put in 22 workmanlike seasons (a 20-game winner once, like Bert), knocked no one over with electric stuff, but won 324 games with better clubs. No one ever referred to him as "dominant,"  or being among the best starters of his era. But, he had the all-important W's, see?

If it was good enough for Herb Carneal as a send off, it's good enough for me:

"So long everybody!"

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