Bert Blyleven: Hall of Famer or not?
THE CASE FOR BLYLEVEN
He won 287 games -- only one other non-eligible pitcher (Tommy John) won that many and is not in Cooperstown. He threw 60 shutouts (ninth all-time and just one fewer than Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez combined) and 242 complete games (twice as many as Clemens). He struck out 3,701 batters, fifth all-time. He threw a curveball that is still used as the standard for comparison. He finished in the top five in ERA six times. He threw a no-hitter and helped two teams to world championships.
THE CASE AGAINST BLYLEVEN
He received Cy Young votes in only four years and never finished higher than third. He made the All-Star team only twice. He only once won 20 games despite pitching in an era when that was still the benchmark. He lost 250 games.
For a number of years I didn't vote for Blyleven. He isn't a slam dunk candidate but the Hall of Fame isn't reserved only for 300-win, multiple Cy Young slam dunks. There is room for pitchers other than Tom Seaver. Blyleven was a very good pitcher for a very long time and I always second-guessed myself for not voting for him. I now vote for him and feel very confident with that vote. He belongs in the Hall.
In That's Debatable!, we give you the topic, and then we'll have one of our writers stopping by to debate the issue with you. To suggest a topic for "That's Debatable," go here. Or check out the full archive.
Jim Caple (1:05 PM)
Hey, everyone, welcome to the chat. Is there any way to get a more spirited discussion going than to ask who belngs in the Hall of Fame? Today's debate: Does Bert Blylven belong in the Hall?
AJ ( Stillwater, MN
Look at how many crappy teams he played on, Voters have to stop looking @ wins as the only criteria to get in the hall, or we're not going to have any more pitchers in there thanks to set-up men and closers
Jim Caple (1:11 PM)
AJ--What's the temp in Stillwter today? I should begin by saying that I think Bert belongs in the Hall and I vote for him. That said, I've never bought this argument. 1, While he pitched for some poor teams, he also pitched for two world champs and a division champ, plus several other pretty decent teams. His teams were all across the board, sort of like everyone else not named Derek Jeter.More importantly, because pitching is such an important part of the game, unless the team simply can't score runs or field the ball, if a true Hall of Famer takes the mound, doesn't his team automatically becomea very good team that day?
Mike (Neptune, NJ)
Blyleven is such a hard case. In a lot of ways, he was Nolan Ryan. In a lot of ways, he was Tommy John, Jim Kaat, and several other great-but-not-elite starters whose skill was exceeded by their longevity. He hung around and compiled some impressive totals. But isn't that how a lot of guys got in the Hall? In my opinion, Blyleven belongs in any discussion with Ryan, and is better than other compilers like Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, and Early Wynn (I won't even go into how much better he was than the Jesse Haineses of the world). That said, I think the Hall loses prestige with each of these borderline guys that gets in. Therefore, I can't reward Blyleven for the mistakes made by previous votes. He's someone I changed my mind about a few years ago and I don't see a chance I'll ever change it back.
Jim Caple (1:17 PM)
You make a good argument here, Mike, and I think it goes to the heart of Bert's case. Namely, what is a Hall of Famer? What are the standards? Unfortunately, those are not objective standards and they also change over time. In recet years I've come to believe that the Hall is not mrely for Willie Mays and Tom Seaver, that there is another level of excellent players worthy of inclusion. But others don't believe the same. A friend and fellow voter has an incredibly high standard. He thinks the Hall should be reserved for Wille Mays/Seaver worthy guys and he does not vote for Blyleven. I can't say that he's wrong or that I'm right. I just know that based on the numbers, I think enough voters will agree evetually. vote Bert in, maybe this year.
Refayel (Queens, NY)
I've never watched Blylevin pitch because i' only 24 years old. But if baseball wants to keep any respectability, & this is no knock against Mr. Blylevin, they need to keep their benchmarks stern. 300 wins used to be a Hall of Fame career. If all of a sudden we lower that bar, what's next, 250 wins? 200 wins? Obviously with the game changing the way it is, it is much tougher to achieve 300+ wins, but Maddux did it. Clemens did it (who knows how cleanly but he did nonetheless). Johnson is about to do it. If these pitchers of this era can do it, Blylevin had just as equal a chance. So based on wins he doesn't make it. But based on 3,000+ strikeouts, another benchmark, i do believe he is worthy. Fifth in all time strikeouts gets him in.
Jim Caple (1:22 PM)
Refayel, 300 wins has never been a benchmark. It HAS been pretty much a level that gets you in automatically (though Don Sutton could tell you about the autimatci part of that) but there are plenty of pitchers with fewer than 300 win in the Hall. And thank God there are. Otherwise, Juan Marichal (243 wins), Bob Gibson (251) , Carl Hubbell (253), Jim Palmer (268) and Bob Feller (266) among many, many others would not be in. We need to get away from looking only at victories or seeing 300 as the cutoff level.
Keith (Philadelphia, PA)
Blyleven pitched 240 complete games out of 685 starts, and compiled a 3.31 ERA doing so. He also tossed 60 shutouts. So basically, every 3 games you could count on him going the distance and with a 3.31 ERA, you could count on a W or at least being in the game come the 9th. And every 11 or so games, you could bank on 9 innings of goose-eggs. He had 1 20-win season, 5 17-win seasons, and 1 19-win season while pitching for so-so teams. Sure, he didn't win a cy young, but many of the guys to whom he lost are in the hall of fame (see Jim Palmer, who won the CYA the year Blyleven won 20). If we're talking about Mike Mussina as a borderline hall of famer, then Blyleven has to be considered a sure thing.
Jim Caple (1:25 PM)
Well put, Keith. Bert IS a borderline guy but the shutout, complete game and strikeout numbers are pretty commanding, especially when you add in all those wins. He had one fewer shutouts than Clemens and Pedro combined. BTW: I think Mussina will get my vote but I dont thnk for a second that he will stay retired this year.
The Hall of Fame is defined by the greatness of the players that are not inducted. There are a dozen or so of these players (Trammell, Rice, Blyleven, Dawson) and there will hopefully be more tough calls, but that's the beauty of it. Frankly, when a player requires so much debate, it's an easy call - "no".
Jim Caple (1:28 PM)
I used to think that way as well, Ryan. But I agree with Jayson Stark yesterday when he said there are clear-cut cases and those that do require debate. Just because you're not absolutely sure of a vote doesn't mean you shouldn't do a little research and find out if you missed something, especially when the player was in another league and played in an era where every game wasn't televised or on SportsCenter. I do like your line about the Hall being defined by the greatness of players who aren't there, though.
Blake, (Minneapolis, MN)
The Hall of Fame benchmarks for pitchers will need to change. Especially given the setup man and closer to todays game. Bert pitched 60 shutouts which is awesome and is fifth all-time with strike outs. These two factors should be enough to get in.
Jim Caple (1:31 PM)
Oh, boy, Blake, don't get me started. The save is the most overrated stat in baseball, the closer is the most overrated position in sports and right now I dont see myself voting for another closer. Meanwhile, there isn't a starter whose career began in the past 40 years who is in the Hall of Fame (not counting Eck). That's zero, none, nada. How is that possible other than ridiculously high standards that are out of whack?
Dave (Welch, MN)
The hardest part about determining who is "Hall of Fame" worthy is that there are no strict statistical benchmarks which a player must attain in order to be voted into the HOF. Instead, we arbitrarily compare players to one another, across different eras of baseball, and the way the game may have been played. For example, look at the number of strikeouts Bert has: 5th all time! 287 wins? Can't get much closer to 300, and in our lifetimes we are unlikely to witness another 300 game winner. Should that be the benchmark for wins that solely get a pitcher into the hall? Also, his desire to pitch complete games and success in doing so is also noteworthy. Was he one of the ten best pitchers in baseball during the time he pitched? I say yes, and hope he gets his due. Circle me Bert!
Jim Caple (1:35 PM)
I agree with you on just about everything there, Dave, except the part about not seeing another 300 game winner. People said that when Nolan Ryan reached 300 wins but we've three since then and we will see a fourth -- Randy Johnson -- join the club this summer. Trust me, there is another future 300-game winner out there even as we chat.
Adam (Gurnee, IL)
One thing that has always bothered me about HOF resume's is when people note their "voted credentials" to use a lousy term. What I mean is that the players are judged by how many times they were voted for by the fans or the media for All Star games or awards. Every year we complain about voting issues with these awards or nominations for a variety of reasons. At the top of the heap is Palmiero's Gold Glove award for 39 games in the field. So if we have such a lack of confidence in the selections for these honors, why is such importance placed on them when HOF selection comes around? I'm of the opinion that the HOF should celebrate the best players of each era and I'd be more inclined to open the doors to more. So let Bert in. Tim Raines needs to get in. I wish Alan Trammel would get more respect too. I wouldn't have a problem with Dawson getting in either.
Jim Caple (1:38 PM)
That's a deent point, Adam. No, the fans don't always vote for the right player in the All-Star Game, the managers/coaches don't always vote for the best fielder (the Palmeiro case being the prime example) and the writers don't always vote for the best MVP or Cy Young candidate. But we need to use as much criteria as we can, and overall, i think those honors have pretty good meaning. Not infallible,but pretty good.
Joe (Seattle, but formerly Minneapolis)
The Hall's standards are flexible, where longevity counts for something and quality starts for something. Sandy Koufax had what, 200 Ws? But he was without question the best pitcher in the game for what, five years? On the other hand, Bert was never the best pitcher in the game, but he was great for what, 23 years? That's the great thing about the Hall, being the best at your profession can come in various ways being the #1 guy for 5 years or the #10 guy for 23 years should get you in. And perhaps being the #7 guy for 15 years, a la Mussina. It's a sliding scale, IMHO, and Blyleven has years and counting statistics so locked up that his failure to register at the top of any particular list should not matter.
Jim Caple (1:45 PM)
You bring up Koufax, Joe, and I ask everyone to look at Sandy's numbers. He pitched 12 seasons, half of which were completely mediocre. The other six were very good and four of those were out of this world. He still only won 165 games. Which just goes to show you, there are several ways to get into the Hall. One is to blaze across the sky for a short period of time and another is to be a somewhat less bright but still reliable beacon in the baseball sky for a long, long time. And that's how I think Bert fits in. A very good, and very reliable pitcher for more than two decades.
Andrew, Hartford CT, but formerly MN
Just out of curiosity, of the pitchers with more career wins than Blyleven that are retired, how many are in the hall? I suspect the answer would be most.
Jim Caple (1:47 PM)
Of eliglbe pitchers, the answer is all but two -- Tommy John (one more win than Bert) and Bobby Mathews who pitched the 1880s when the rules were so different it's hard to evaluate.
True or false: If Blyleven had pitched in Boston, New York, LA, or Chicago (with the same stats) for the majority of his career, he would have been in years ago.
Jim Caple (1:50 PM)
I disagree. Playing the major markets helps but not as much as people think. Luis Tiant has great numbers but pitching in Boston didn't get him in. Don Mattingly was a king in New York but he hasn't come close to getting in. What is helping Bert far more than if he had played in NY is the rising influence of the stats people and bloggers. I know they've helped his case with me -- and I covered Bert. Hell, he even hit me with a pitch. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=caple_jim&id=3232393
Jeff (Minneapolis, but formerly New York)
A Hall of Fame playing career - maybe, maybe not. But Bert has added to his resume by broadcasting Twins games for many years, thus keeping his name in the game. I think some sort of clause should be added to this effect. Phil Rizzuto was not a Hall of Fame player, but his broadcasting career definitely was - yet he's in as a player and not as a broadcaster. Bert might not be either, but the sum is greater than its parts. Maybe a new wing - you can start out with Bert, Joe Torre, Ron Santo and so on. I say put Bert in somehow. I say put Bert in.
Jim Caple (1:55 PM)
I fid it very interesting -- and oh, so Minnesotan -- that I'm getting so many messages from people who live somewhere else now but also point out they are from Minnesota originally. Love that. I try not to mix broadcasting with what they did on the field but when it comes to people like Torre and the veterans vote, I think it is fair to combine playing stats with managerial stats. Joe is borderline as a player -- people forget how good he was -- but his managerial stats put him way over the top. Remember, the broadcasters "wing" is merely a plaque of names on a wall back well beyond the "Hall of Famers." Same with the writers "wing." Oh, and I am so with you on Santo, Jeff. A disgrace the veterans ignore him every year.
Ryan (Crofton, MD)
Jim, do you think voters will take a second look at some of the other guys still not in the HOF that are barely under 200 wins? I know Johnson is going to get 300 this year and Mussina would have been closer is he came back. I just don't know how many guys in the league know will go on to win 280+ games. I feel that it might take longer for voters to appreciate what these guys did until we go a decade or so without any guys getting close to 300. What do you think?
Jim Caple (1:59 PM)
I hope so, Ryan -- and I'm sure you meant 300 wins, not 200. As I mentioned earlier, we have yet to vote in any starter who began his career after 1967. While several starters will get in in the next decade (Maddux, Glavine, Clemens -- I hope -- Randy), that there will have been such a gap is clear evidence that the standards were skewed. The staring pitcher is the most important position in baseball and you're telling me that not a single one in a generational stretch wasn't good ebough to be in the Hall? That just defies all logic. Let's examine those number again. Let's vote for Bert. Let's vote for Jack Morris.
Jeff, Houston TX
By the way, we would all agree on the fact that Johan Santana is on a HOF path. Well, this past year we saw what bad relief pitching can do to your numbers, so the team you play for matters (even when you are one of the very best)
Jim Caple (2:01 PM)
Going back to the Koufax thing, if Santana has another great season this year and then retired due to a sore arm, would he belong in? Based on Koufax, the answer is yes.
Don S (Chicago, IL)
We debate over whether someone who has great crednetials like Bert Blyleven or Lee Smith should make the Hall of Fame because of their lack of dominance versus consistency (Smith) or lack of Cy Young votes and losses while Bill Mazeroski is in the HOF. The two previous mentioned pictures actually had stats to back up being in the HOF while Bill was a career .260 hitter with no power, no speed and had a .299 OBP. This just shows there is no exact science to the voting and completely subjective.
Jim Caple (2:04 PM)
The bigger question, Don, is whether defense means anything at all to voters. In Bill's case, it eventually did with the veterans committee. But overall, sadly, it doesn't. The only time it seems to matter is when we're ready to vote the guy in for his offense anyway. Ozzie Smith is a possible exception to that rule, though he wound up fairly productive for a shortstop. But defense only seems to matter for middle infielders. BTW: Omar will get my vote.
This is not a specific point about Blyleven, just a general observation on HOF voting and perceived worthiness. It seems like the great players from pre-1950 or so have been placed on such a pedestal in people's minds/memories that it is tough to compare them to today's players. Whether it is the difference in the way sports were covered in the first half of the century, the smaller number of teams (which made it easier for a franchise like the Yankees or the Dodgers to become "legendary"), or the tendency to only remember the warm and fuzzy memories after so many decades, it seems like the emotional attachment to the players of old is much greater than today's players. So voters (both old-timers and those who only know of older players through the rose-tinted stories of those old-timers) see a name like Alan Trammel on the ballot and think "good player but he was no Rizzuto" even though Trammel may have been a better player (not saying he is, those guys were just the first example that popped into my head). Any thoughts?
Jim Caple (2:08 PM)
That's true of most everything in life, isn't it Wes? Don't we all say, "Ah, it was better in the old days"? One of my favorite lines is from "Atlantic City" when an old Burt Lanaster and a young Susan Sarandon are standing on the boradwalk gazing out at the Atlantic Ocean and Lancaster says, "You should have seen it in the old days." Like the ocean changed! Personally, I discount (though do not disregard) all stats piled up before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.
When you were younger did you ever open a pack of baseball cards, pull a Blyleven, and say "Yes he's awesome". I sure didn't.
Jim Caple (2:09 PM)
That's not a bad criteria, the baseball card-opening experience. But while I didn't pull out a Blyleven card and say "Awesome!" (did anyone even say "awesome" back then?) I was still pretty happy to get one, because he was a damn good pitcher.
Tim (Michigan City, IN)
Going on with what Don S. said, I think the reason that guys like Santo, Blyleven, and any other borderline candidate don't get in, is because Maz did get in. Maz getting in was very controversial and now the writers and the veterans committee are very careful, almost to the point of inclusion on who they select to avoid any more controversy.
Jim Caple (2:13 PM)
I disagree. I think a lot of people were very happy to see Maz get in, and happy to see defense recognized. The issue with the veterans committee is getting consensus among people who represent so many years of play and have just as much of a challenge measuring talet across the eras as the writers do. But how they can ignore Santo is beyond me. But let's get back to Bert.
Will (tampa Fl)
you just put the nail in the coffin to me. you just said he was a "damn good Pitcher." The hall isnt about being Damn good its about being great. So i vote no.
Jim Caple (2:17 PM)
Well, I said that becase when I was collecting baseball cards and opening up packs, Bert was still pretty early in his career. Further, it gets back to the crucial issue -- what is your standard for greatness. If you think that a pitcher needs to be Tom Seaver (and that's a legit view), then nothing I say will convince you Bert belongs in. But if your standard is slightly below Seaver, then I thnk 287 wins, 60 shutouts, 242 CG, fifth all-time in strikeouts, a no-hitter,e tc., is something you should really consider.
Keith (Philly, PA)
Ryne Sandberg = .285 BA, 284 HR's...I don't call that great. Ryne was a "damn good player" though, and he's in the hall of fame. Perhpas Bert, as a damn good pitcher, deserves to be in?
Jim Caple (2:18 PM)
For a large part of his career, Ryne was considered the best 2B in baseball and among the greatest ever at the position. We were probably a little on the high side with that assessment but he definitely was considered great when he played, not just very good.
Lonnie, Austin, TX
So the question is...if Blyleven won 13 more games to get to 300, does that give him automatic entrance? If so, then it is ridiculous not to vote him in with only 13 wins shy of that.
Jim Caple (2:21 PM)
Thanks for saying that, Lonnie. It's the same thing as saying a guy with 3,000 hits gets in but a guy with 2,900 does not. We need to look beyond extraordinarily high "benchmarks" that blinded some voters for too many years, especially in regards to starters such as Bert.
Mike (Calgary, AB)
Jim, I don't agree with your commment that the HOF pitcher gap between the Steve Carlton/Tom Seaver generation and the Roger Clemens/Greg Maddux generation constitutes clear evidence that the standards were skewed. The pitchers who started their careers in the 70's competed with the pitchers who started in the 60's and the ones who started in the 80's and didn't match the achievements of either group at their peak or over the course of their careers. The yearly pitching leaders in the 1970's and early 80's are dominated by the Carlton/Seaver/Palmer era and the mid 80's are dominated by the Gooden/Clemens/Saberhagen era with the odd Ron Guidry here and J.R. Richard there. This doesn't mean the standards were skewed - it means there was a lull in great pitchers coming into the game.
Jim Caple (2:24 PM)
I think the problem there is that pitchers in the 60s and early 70s benefitted from an era of low batting average and low scoring, plus for-man rotations, that beefed up their stats. I also think voters have had a hard time properly placing the stats into context within the era in which these guys compiled them, particularly when it comes to starting pitchers.
chris: (sioux falls, SD):
bert should be in when the only arguments against him are he's 13 wins shy of 300 and only super stars like mantle and ruth are truly great and deserving of being in the hall of fame..his numbers are comparable to other pitchers of his generation that are in the hall of fame, and like previously stated his announcing twins games and truly being an ambassador to the game of baseball(you can tell when he talks baseball he loves the game)
Jim Caple (2:26 PM)
I agree with the first part wholeheartedly, Chris, and I guess the second part (game ambassador) helps him as well. I did a story on the Twins fantasy camp last year and no former player is more enthusiastic and works as hard at spreading the joy of baseball than Bert.
Bert was in the top ten in wins 6 times in his career, and the top ten in losses 9 times in his career. Say what you want about his Ks and SOs, but the man's barely a +.500 pitcher. That, to me, is a big warning label on his resume.
Jim Caple (2:28 PM)
It's something to consider but it doesn't override the positive stats for me. The ame sort of case can be made against Nolan Ryan. He lost 292 games and when you get right down to it, was just better than .500.
Travis: San Diego, CA
The arguments against Bert seem to be based on the old "sportswriters didn't vote for him for awards", "fans didn't vote him to enough all-star games", and "he didn't have enough wins". So the arguments against him were that sportswriters (who have been shown in the last 5 years to be incompetent at best, disingenuous at worst) didn't like him enough. And that he didn't play for good enough teams. Great arguments. ESPN is becoming the Fox news of the sports world. Thank goodness for BP/ Hardballtimes/ FanGraphs.
Jim Caple (2:32 PM)
Hey, thanks Travis, for lumping me in with Fox even though my arguments in this debate aren't any of the ones you cite. Oh, and I know you ALREADY know this, but fans don't have much say in starting pitchers on the All-Star team.
Sven (Hibbing, MN)
This is clearly a case of bias against Bert's Dutch roots. Never has anti-Dutchism been so obvious.
Jim Caple (2:33 PM)
So true. Remember when they called Bert, The Dutch Master? Loved that nickname. Which reminds me of his curveball, which reminds me of Mike Witt's superb curve, which was compared to Bert's and called the Mercedes Bends.
This shouldn't even be a discussion. He should have been voted in a long time ago. How many players are still suffering from knee injuries after standing up against that curveball! Look at todays pitchers. How many of them have ERA's near 5.00 and teams are falling all over themselves trying to sign them. Just how big of a contract do you suppose Blyleven would get in todays market? I can't even imagine how much the Yankees would pay for him.
Jim Caple (2:40 PM)
Here's a question I posed a couple years ago. Say you're a general manager and say there is no free agency. Whichever pitcher you draft is going to be in your control for as long as you want. Do you draft Sandy Koufax, who will be age 25 before he's a good pitcher and will be done by age 30 but also give you six franchise-changing seasons? Or do you pick Bert, who will be a good pitcher at 19 and consistently win games until he's in his 40s and have some great years but never any that are truly dominant? I dotnt know who I would pick and I think that the fact that it isnt an easy question is a reason is one indication that Bert deserves at least consideration for the Hall.
Alex (Chaska, MN)
There have been a lot of good arguments about some of the other stats. One has been overlooked in this discussion. Pitchers have been striking out batters since the beginning of the game. Bert is 5th all time in stike outs. 5th! To me that stat says a lot about how dominating he was, and how he adapted to pitching later in his career. How many pitchers are in the HOF that are much farther down in that statistical category?
Jim Caple (2:42 PM)
Well, obviously a lot of pitchers are.And while Bert's K total is clearly one of his positives, remember that players strike out a whole lot more often these days. So we also need to put it into context.
There is no doubt Bert should be in the Hall of Fame. I have always thought so, Jim did you change your mind before or after he hit you with a pitch?
Jim Caple (2:44 PM)
Ha! Good question. I changed my mind before he hit me. Which is why i should have yelled, "Remember, I vote for you" rather than "I have a vote" when i batted against him. Bert "corrected" me for not being specific enough. BTW: When I charged the mound, I fully realized how strong and athletic Bert is, and how even though he is 10 years older than me, he still could have kicked my ass.
Shane (Mankato, Minn., but formerly of Jackson, Minn.)
The thing that always bothers me about the whole Blyleven HoF discussion is that I don't believe he's ever been given enough credit for not "pulling a Sutton" and retiring when his body told him he was done. When he retired, he had to have assumed that the voters would look at his body of work (one of the all-time great strikeout pitchers, remarkably durable, extremely valuable member of two World Championship clubs) and - incorrectly as it appears thus far - assumed that the voters would give credit to all of this rather than get fixated on a number (300) that he didn't achieve. Isn't there a clause in the HoF voting that speaks of integrity? Isn't stepping away at "the proper time" rather than hanging on just to reach an arbitrary number a more honorable thing to do? P.S. Blyleven is quickly approaching Santo-status on Twins broadcasts bemoaning the fact he hasn't made the HoF yet. Please elect him soon so I don't have to endure another winter of him and Dick Bremer complaining about this.
Jim Caple (2:51 PM)
Not that it has anything to do with Bert but my wife went to Mankato State. Anyway, I'm not sure what Bert was thinking back then, though I do believe he really wanted to get to 300 wins. Mostly he just wanted to keep pitching because he loved baseball and thought he still could win games. He didn't retire so much as the Twins released him. I vividly remember the day they did -- I have never seen Tom Kelly so overwraught, it physically pained him to let Bert go. I never fault a player for hanging on. It's what I would do. How can you step away from something you love so much and excelled at for so long and know that you will NEVER play again? I think fans and writers who criticize players for holding on too long are being very unreasonable and would do the same thing in their place.
Jim. The fact that you have to come up with such a stipulated stat to qualify Blyleven should exclude him. If the best argument for a guy is he was good for more years compared to a guy who was great for 6. Then your argument doesnt hold much weight in my eyes.
Jim Caple (2:52 PM)
I was simply bringing it up as interesting question. It is not the basis for my argument.
Jim, in yesterday's chat Jayson brought up some peripheral stats like ERA+, etc. which are meaningful for the purposes of comparison. Where does Bert rank in some of those statistical viewpoints?
Jim Caple (2:55 PM)
Bert's ERA+ is 118, which is better than Sutton and significantly better than Catfish Hunter (104), just to name two.
So now I am looking at the stats. 10W's, 5CG, 164IP, plus ERA at age 19, 20-Game winner and staff ace within 3 years. Every time he is brought on to a new team it is to anchor or improve the rotation. 24CG in 1985 at age 34, led the league. Age 38 wins 17, is staff ace and #4 in Cy-Young. Who else does that?
Jim Caple (2:59 PM)
We've been chatting two hours now, so I think those are good stats to end on, Brian. Again, let me emphasize that while I vote for Bert, I know his isn't an open and shut case. I took several years to see the light but now I feel strongly that he belongs in. We'll see whether he gets in Monday, though I think next year is more likely. Thanks to everyone for joining in. Keep reading.
Pete - Mpls
He had an era 20% better than the league for his career - not even his peak. Shutouts, CG's, wins...all point towards HOFer.
Jim Caple (2:59 PM)
OK, I;ll let that one be the last one, because it sums up the argument for Bert pretty well. Remember: Less than 40 days until pitchers and catchers report.