Wednesday, January 09, 2008

We Gotta Do This F***in' Thing Over Again, 'Cause They Just F***ed It Up

Another year, another Hall of Fame snub for Bert Blyleven. The Baseball Writers' Association of America had their votes tallied yesterday, and only Goose Gossage had his name on the necessary percentage of ballots (85.3 percent) to surpass the 75 percent threshold and achieve entry to the Hall of Fame. Blyleven failed to get elected for an eleventh straight year, although he did find his name on 61.9 percent of ballots, which is a considerable increase from last year's 47 percent.

Joe Christensen called the boost in percentage for Blyleven "a big jump," adding that the increase is a good sign that Blyleven will reach the Hall eventually, a notion which was very much in doubt after he saw his support drop six percentage points last year from the year before. Perhaps this year's results should be viewed as an encouraging sign, but it still frustrates me each time I see the voters fail to give Blyleven his proper due.

Obviously, I'm a major believer that Blyleven belongs in the Hall of Fame. I won't go into a lengthy tirade about all the reasons I feel this way (you can already find material like that in numerous other places, including here, here and here); suffice to say that nearly every anti-Blyleven argument centers in some way around his win-loss record, which was heavily influenced by the unfortunately mediocre teams he tended to play for. This is the same type of flawed thinking that prevented Johan Santana from winning the Cy Young in 2005, and it's a systematic issue in the BBWAA that drives me batty.

Other former Twins to receive votes were Jack Morris (42.9 percent) and first-timer Chuck Knoblauch (>1 percent). I'm not by any means a believer that Morris belongs in the Hall, and the fact that Knoblauch received even one vote is somewhat laughable. Still, another snub for Blyleven has me peeved. Here's hoping that his luck changes within the next couple years.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

That title never gets old! :)

SBG

TT said...

"anti-Blyleven argument centers in some way around his win-loss record, which was heavily influenced by the unfortunately mediocre teams he tended to play for."

Blyleven's teams had a better than .500 record and scored more runs than average. The argument that his numbers were hurt by the teams he played for is specious.

The arguments against him are mostly that his career rankings in counting stats - shut outs, K's, wins etc. - are more driven by career length than quality.

Which does not mean he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. But his problem is that he didn't do much to make himself famous while he was playing. There were not a lot of moments or seasons where fans (or sports writers) were paying close attention to him.

Nick N. said...

There were not a lot of moments or seasons where fans (or sports writers) were paying close attention to him.

That's exactly the problem. It's a direct result of market bias. If Blyleven had played the majority of his career in New York or Boston, I have little doubt he would have been inducted long ago. Instead, he spent the meat of his career playing for Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. And regardless of your assertion to the contrary, those teams did not score a lot of runs.

A good example of what I'm talking about comes over a four-year stretch when Bert was in his mid-20s; 1975-1978. 1975 - 3.00 ERA, 15-10 record. 1976 - 2.87 ERA, 13-16 record. 1977 - 2.72 ERA, 14-12 record. 1978 - 3.03 ERA, 14-10 record. You'd have a very difficult time convincing me that he was really at fault for his suspect win/loss records during these seasons. His ERA and strikeout numbers during that four-year span always ranked among the league leaders, but he never ranked near the top in Wins, which is precisely the reason he never garnered any Cy Young votes during that span. And this is what gets held against him.

To say that his career numbers are driven more by career length than quality is tantamount to Jon Heyman's idiotic description of Blyleven as a "compiler" of statistics. It's not like he just sat around and watched these numbers accumulate -- he had to play the games, dominate the hitters, and earn them. Sure, Blyleven had a long and healthy career (just like MANY of the pitchers already enshrined in Cooperstown).

Blyleven ranked in the top 5 in the league in strikeouts nine times. Complete games five times. Shutouts nine times. ERA seven times. It can be argued that he was never truly the greatest pitcher in the league during his career, but anyone who argues that he wasn't an elite pitcher for much of his career is ignoring the facts. I'm a believer that elite pitchers of Blyleven's caliber belong in the Hall.

TT said...

regardless of your assertion to the contrary, those teams did not score a lot of runs.

Over the course of his career, the teams Blyleven played on scored more runs than the average team over that same time span. That is simply a fact.

It can be argued that he was never truly the greatest pitcher in the league during his career

I think it would be hard to argue he the contrary, that he was the greatest pitcher, and that is the problem.

it's a direct result of market bias.

I don't know. Blyleven was only named to the allstar staff 2 times in his career. He apparently was overlooked even by the managers who saw him pitch.

I think Bert should make the Hall, but I don't think his advocates are doing him any favors by suggesting that those who don't agree are idiotic. Nor by making arguments that don't stand up - like he played on bad teams.

Nick N. said...

I think it would be hard to argue he the contrary, that he was the greatest pitcher, and that is the problem.

So in order to make the Hall of Fame you have to be the single greatest pitcher in the league for a period of time? I think I can find quite a few current members of the Hall who contradict that notion.

I think Bert should make the Hall, but I don't think his advocates are doing him any favors by suggesting that those who don't agree are idiotic.

I don't necessarily think that everyone who doesn't believe Blyleven should be in the Hall of Fame is idiotic. There's an argument there, it's just not one I agree with. However, the vast majority of arguments I've read have been idiotic, with Heyman's being the most notable recent one. It especially irks me when people try to argue that Blyleven should not be in the Hall while Jack Morris should. That was Heyman's argument. It is not supportable in any way.

Anyway, I have to go to lunch. I may check in with some more thoughts on the subject later.

John O. said...

The single greatest reason for Blyleven being kept out of the Hall has to do almost entirely with the fact that he had ONLY 2 All-Star seasons and no Cy Young awards. His win total, strikeouts, and ERA are impressive but his career shutouts are probably what are going to put him in the Hall one day, however it doesn't suprise me in the least that it has taken 11 unsuccessful campaigns thus far. Anyway, Jim Rice will get in first so here's to lucky number 13!

MVB said...

I agree with you Nick, especially on the topic of market bias. Twins' players have always and WILL always struggle to fight against the large markets. I understand why Blyleven was not a first time nominee into the HOF but I am surprised and disappointed that it has taken this long.

I truly believe this year was a step in the right direction and I think he will be very, very close in 2009.

Nick N. said...

Over the course of his career, the teams Blyleven played on scored more runs than the average team over that same time span. That is simply a fact.

I realize that, but looking at the numbers in such a broad sense is misleading. In 1971, '72, '73, '74 and '76, Blyleven lost 15, 17, 17, 17 and 16 games. During that span, he never had an ERA higher than 2.87. Are you really trying to say that he wasn't a victim of poor run support during that span? Back him up with some decent offense and turn some of those losses into wins, and Bert easily surpasses 300 wins and makes the Hall without debate.

Blyleven got better run support later in his career, but by then -- like most pitchers -- he wasn't quite the pitcher he once was. The brutal run support he received early in his career doomed him.

The single greatest reason for Blyleven being kept out of the Hall has to do almost entirely with the fact that he had ONLY 2 All-Star seasons and no Cy Young awards.

Right, but this all comes back to market bias and the obsession with W/L record. At the All-Star break in 1977, Blyleven had a 2.61 ERA, and in 19 starts he had delivered 10 complete games and three shutouts. Yet, he wasn't an All-Star. Could have something to do with the 8-9 record at that point. (His fault?) It's also a bit unfair to use All-Star appearances as a barometer for Blyleven because he was notoriously a much better pitcher in the second half (including the postseason, where he was stellar).

Blyleven's Cy Young votes were sparse because of the same flawed reasoning from the BBWAA that has kept him out of the Hall so far -- the sole focus on W/L record. I look at some of the seasons that Blyleven had in his mid-20s and it absolutely blows my mind that he did not receive a SINGLE Cy Young vote between 1973 and 1984.

Anonymous said...

One would think that with Berts strikeout total, shut out total, and a devistating curve ball (that still get comparisions to this date 'Generic Pitcher has a great, Blyleven-esque curveball, but not as good as his) would be a shoe in.

Just looking at the voting, one wonders what the writers who vote think. Travis Fryman got votes. I bet if my name were on the ballot, I would get 10 votes


James

Anonymous said...

If you go to baseball-reference.com and neutralize Blyleven's stats for a consistent offensive environment, you find a pitcher who should have been 325-227 over his career.

Nolan Ryan: 320-259
Phil Niekro: 349-247
Tom Seaver: 330-196
Catfish Hunter: 194-174
Greg Maddux: 350-189
Roger Clemens: 373-181

Bert belongs in this group. And Catfish Hunter is a primo example of how the East-Coast bias works.

SBG

Anonymous said...

people need to stop looking at all-star appearances, cy young votes, mvp votes, etc. stats show you the whole picture, but looking at awards like those, that are voted on by a bunch of idiots, should not have anything to do with the hall of fame.

Nick N. said...

people need to stop looking at all-star appearances, cy young votes, mvp votes, etc. stats show you the whole picture, but looking at awards like those, that are voted on by a bunch of idiots, should not have anything to do with the hall of fame.

Right -- using Cy Young votes and MVP votes to judge a player's Hall credentials is disingenuous because they are voted on by the same group of writers with the same often-flawed style of thinking. I wouldn't suggest that Cy Youngs and MVPs should be completely ignored when it comes to voting -- they are often good indicators of a player's greatness. They simply shouldn't be used as a main gauge when there are so many variables at hand and so much subjectivity involved in the voting.

Anonymous said...

i guess i meant that they shouldn't be used to exclude a player from the hall, but can be used to include a player because it does show how popular he was. i think popularity should count for something, although not much!

Ryan said...

I agree he belongs, but also have a feeling his boost in votes this year was simply because there was no "great" candidate. It was a very weak year imo.

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店經紀,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店工作,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,

,

be said...

酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,