Editorial: Blyleven finally gets what he deserves

Published 10:13 am Thursday, January 6, 2011

Congratulations to Bert Blyleven.

Some people know him because he is the commentator during TV broadcasts of the Minnesota Twins, with Dick Bremer doing the play-by-play announcing.

“Circle me, Bert” is seen on signs pretty much at every Twins game. He circles fans with the Telestrator.

Email newsletter signup

But most Twins fans know Blyleven pitched for the Minnesota Twins. He was with the team from 1970 to 1976 and again from 1985 to 1988.

His two All-Star selections came when he was with the Twins. He was on the 1987 Twins squad the brought home to Minnesota a World Series title. He already had won a World Series ring in 1979 as a pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Blyleven was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, in his 14th year on the ballot. He narrowly missed election last year. On July 24, he will be inducted along with Roberto Alomar.

In his first stint with the Twins, Blyleven and the fans didn’t exactly get along. But in the second stint, the fans welcomed him and he helped bring home the crown.

The sports writers who vote ignored him for 13 years on the ballot. Getting Blyleven into Cooperstown became a cause for many bloggers, fans and journalists. The voters could not ignore his 60 shutouts and 3,701 strikeouts, both high on MLB career records. He never won a Cy Young Award, and his record was 287-250. His career was overshadowed by contemporaries of Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan.

Blyleven on Wednesday did not chide the Baseball Writers Association of America. Instead, he praised the organization and rightly criticized the steroids era. Many of the other former players on the ballot (who lost) were the likes of Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell.

“Guys cheated,” Blyleven said. “They cheated themselves and their teammates. The game of baseball is to be played clean. I think we went through a Steroid Era and I think it’s up to the writers to decide when and who should go in through that era.”

Kudos, Bert. You get the circle this time.