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The Draught

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Congratulations to Andre ďThe HawkĒ Dawson, who this weekend was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA.

A career well deserving of a plaque in Cooperstown.

Snubbed, again, was pitcher Bert Blyleven, who has spent the past 13 ballots waiting to get his name called. With 287 career wins, 3701 strikeouts and an effective 3.31 career ERA, itís hard to believe Blyleven is still waiting.

Let me point out that Iím not a Minnesota Twins fan, the franchise Blyleven spent most of his career. In fact, being from Wisconsin, I usually puke a little in my mouth whenever I think of the Minnesota Twins. Iím not bias. Iím just a baseball fan that thinks Blyleven should be in the Hall of Fame.

The biggest hindrance, in my opinion, is probably Blylevenís 250 loses, or the fact that he won only 37 more games than he lost in his career. On paper, he enjoyed an average career, and should average be celebrated in the hollowed grounds of Cooperstown?

I donít know, ask Jesse Haines, or Ted Lyons, or the handful of other Hall of Famers who have no business being in the Hall of Fame, thanks mostly to the Veterans Committee.

Oddly enough, this has also been the 11th consecutive voting year that the BBWAA has failed to vote in a starting pitcher (sans Dennis Eckersley, who began his career as an average starter, but gained his recognition as a dominate closer).

Blyleven was cursed with the same voodoo that Nolan Ryan was cursed with-being the best pitcher on a poor team. From 1971-77, Blyleven posted seven consecutive seasons with an ERA at or under 3.00, yet lost 104 games during stretch. In 1973 alone, Blyleven lost 7 games when giving up only 3 runs or less.
Consider this: Ryanís stats are, 324-292 record, 3.19 ERA with 5714 strikeouts. Blylevenís stats are, 287-250 record, 3.31 ERA with 3701 strikeouts. Besides the strikeouts, they have very similar stats. In fact, Blyleven has a slightly better win percentage than Ryan.

Yet, Ryan was a 1st ballot Hall of Famer and Blyleven will be on his 14th and still waiting in 2011.

Ryan was blessed with his legendary 100 MPH fastball that was unhittable. He made most of the gameís most feared hitters look like chumps. Throw in 300+ career wins and a strikeout record that is untouchable, and itís easy to understand why Ryan was a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Whatís tough to understand, however, is why Blyleven has been snubbed for so many years. If you look at some of the other BBWAA vote-inís during the past 11 years, one could make a valid point that Blyleven is equally, if not more, deserving of a plaque in Cooperstown than Tony Perez and Bruce Sutter.

Depending on who you ask of course.

Donít get me wrong, starting pitchers have had there day in the sun. From 1990 through 1999, eight starting pitchers have been elected by the BBWAA to the Hall of Fame. Of those eight however, only two, Jim Palmer and Ferguson Jenkins, failed to pitch to 300+ wins. Basically, six of the eight were shoo-ins based on achieving the 300+ win gold standard the Hall of Fame has unofficially issued.

Maybe the 13 wins Blyleven was short from reaching 300 is the turn off for the BBWAA. Or maybe itís the fact that Blyleven was only in two All-Star games, proving he was only considered a premier pitcher for two seasons. Who knows, maybe itís because heís Dutch.

Either way, Blyleven has been snubbed.

If you consider the incoming class for the 2011 ballot, the highlights being Rafael Palmeiro and Jeff Bagwell, who both will safely collapse under the steroid cloud (Palmeiro tested positive, Bagwell is suspect by his size), itís a pretty safe bet Blyleven will join Roberto Alomar in 2011.

And at the end of the day, whether it takes two years or fifteen years, being selected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA is an honor. An honor that Blyleven should receive come next summer.

Updated 07-27-2010 at 05:19 AM by lafabj23

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