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Bert Blyleven versus the Hall of Fame

Posted by Andy on November 29, 2007

I heard a great interview with Bert Blyleven today, and it made me think more about his Hall of Fame candidacy, what with the vote coming up again (see the end of the post for a special announcement on this.) He'll be on the ballot for the 12th time, meaning there are just 4 more chances for the writers to finally get it right and put him in. He is significantly more qualified than quite a number of pitchers already in the HOF, and there are many sites out there with more info on it (including my previous post on this blog about him.) We're not talking about someone like Jim Rice or Tony Perez here, whose numbers are fringe for the HOF.

Anyway, since this whole thing is starting to feel like Blyleven against the HOF, I thought I'd post his lifetime pitching lines against HOF batters:

                    **PA**  AB  H  2B 3B HR RBI  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS   SH  SF IBB HBP GDP G_miss YR_miss
+-----------------+-------+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+---+---+---+---+---+------+-------+
 Reggie Jackson      140   131  28  6  0  6  12   8  49  .214  .264  .397  .661   0   0   2   1   1
 George Brett        128   117  27  5  1  2  10   6  15  .231  .281  .342  .623   0   2   0   3   6
 Robin Yount         114   110  20  8  1  1   7   4   4  .182  .211  .300  .511   0   0   0   0   2
 Paul Molitor         80    74  19  8  0  0   4   5  14  .257  .304  .365  .669   1   0   0   0   0
 Cal Ripken           78    67  19  0  0  3  10  10   9  .284  .372  .418  .790   0   1   0   0   0
 Carlton Fisk         70    63  17  1  0  4  10   3   9  .270  .343  .476  .819   0   0   0   4   0
 Eddie Murray         67    62  26  3  0  7  13   5  10  .419  .463  .806 1.269   0   0   0   0   1
 Carl Yastrzemski     65    58  19  4  0  1   7   5   6  .328  .385  .448  .833   0   1   0   1   0
 Rod Carew            53    50  13  1  0  0   2   3   4  .260  .302  .280  .582   0   0   0   0   1
 Dave Winfield        53    48  12  2  0  4   8   3  11  .250  .302  .542  .844   0   1   0   1   1
 Brooks Robinson      51    48  12  0  0  1   3   1   1  .250  .294  .313  .607   0   0   0   2   0
 Wade Boggs           46    43  11  4  0  1   3   3   2  .256  .304  .419  .723   0   0   1   0   1
 Gary Carter          45    42  11  5  0  1   7   2   7  .262  .295  .452  .747   1   0   0   0   2
 Kirby Puckett        41    41  17  2  1  1   6   0   4  .415  .415  .585 1.000   0   0   0   0   2
 Joe Morgan           36    32   6  0  0  1   3   2   3  .188  .222  .281  .503   0   2   0   0   0
 Mike Schmidt         33    23   8  1  0  2   7   7   5  .348  .485  .652 1.137   0   2   0   1   0
 Tony Perez           25    23   7  1  0  1   1   1   3  .304  .360  .478  .838   0   0   0   1   0
 Frank Robinson       21    20   7  1  0  2   3   1   5  .350  .381  .700 1.081   0   0   0   0   0
 Ozzie Smith          21    20   4  1  0  0   0   1   8  .200  .238  .250  .488   0   0   0   0   0
 Johnny Bench         19    17   4  1  0  2   3   1   2  .235  .263  .647  .910   0   1   0   0   0
+-----------------+-------+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+---+---+---+---+---+------+-------+
                    **PA**  AB  H  2B 3B HR RBI  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS   SH  SF IBB HBP GDP G_miss YR_miss
+-----------------+-------+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+---+---+---+---+---+------+-------+
 Willie McCovey       19    16   6  2  0  0   3   3   2  .375  .474  .500  .974   0   0   2   0   0
 Steve Carlton        18    15   2  0  0  0   3   0   2  .133  .167  .133  .300   0   2   0   1   0
 Luis Aparicio        17    16   3  1  0  0   1   0   2  .188  .176  .250  .426   0   1   0   0   1
 Billy Williams       17    15   1  0  0  0   0   2   3  .067  .176  .067  .243   0   0   1   0   0
 Al Kaline            11    10   1  0  0  0   1   1   1  .100  .182  .100  .282   0   0   0   0   2
 Phil Niekro          11    11   0  0  0  0   0   0   3  .000  .000  .000  .000   0   0   0   0   0
 Lou Brock            10    10   5  0  0  0   0   0   1  .500  .500  .500 1.000   0   0   0   0   0
 Orlando Cepeda        9     8   1  0  0  0   0   1   1  .125  .222  .125  .347   0   0   0   0   0
 Jim Palmer            8     8   2  1  0  0   1   0   4  .250  .250  .375  .625   0   0   0   0   0
 Gaylord Perry         8     5   1  0  0  1   2   1   3  .200  .333  .800 1.133   2   0   0   0   0
 Hank Aaron            7     7   0  0  0  0   0   0   1  .000  .000  .000  .000   0   0   0   0   0
 Don Sutton            7     5   1  0  0  0   0   1   1  .200  .333  .200  .533   1   0   0   0   0
 Tom Seaver            3     2   1  0  0  0   0   0   0  .500  .500  .500 1.000   1   0   0   0   0
 Rollie Fingers        1     1   0  0  0  0   0   0   0  .000  .000  .000  .000   0   0   0   0   0

Holy cow, can you believe Reggie had 140 PAs against him? And he hit terribly, as did George Brett, Robin Yount, and Paul Molitor. Cal Ripken and Carlton Fisk were so-so, but Eddie Murray had some serious PWNAGE going there.

I calculated an approximate average for all this data (should be within 2 or 3 points) and Blyleven's complete line against all HOF batters is .255/.306/.409. Remember that a lot of Bert's pitching came when offense was much less than today (for example in 1973, one of his best years, the AL hit.259/.328/.381) but that his career was through 1990 and that these numbers are against all HOFers. Pretty impressive stuff.

Now, for the special announcement, as per a great reader suggestion:

In the coming weeks, I am going to post another poll here, this time giving you a chance to vote on the Hall of Fame class of 2008. The real voting will be announced on January 8th, so I'll probably post it just before the end of the year. This is announcement is just to get you thinking seriously about who you'd vote in to the HOF, given the chance. So check out the names on this year's ballot, and get ready for my upcoming post!

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2007 at 7:34 am and is filed under Pitcher vs. Batter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Bert Blyleven versus the Hall of Fame”

  1. I just noticed from above that Gaylord Perry homered off Blyleven. I looked it up, and Perry hit 6 career homers: 1 each off of Bert, Nino Espinoza, Bill Hands, Claude Osteen, Dick Ruthven, and Mike Wegener.

  2. David in Toledo Says:

    The following is based on Bill James's Win Shares (Stats, 2002).

    I take the following win shares totals to be Hall of Fame career-total presumption-carriers, by position. After each number, I name someone who is just over the bar, and someone else who is just under it. 1b, 365 (Willie Stargell, 370 or Harmon Killebrew, 371; Tony Perez, 349). 2b, 335 (Ryne Sandberg, 349 or Robby Alomar, 345; Bobby Grich, 329). 3b, 350 (Brooks Robinson, 356; Ron Santo, 324). SS, 320 (Ozzie Smith, 325 or Barry Larkin, 320; Alan Trammell, 318). LF, 380 (Tim Raines, 390; Billy Williams, 374). CF, 350 (Duke Snider, 352 or Max Carey, 351; Richie Ashburn, 329). RF, 365 (Roberto Clemente, 377; Rusty Staub, 358 or Dwight Evans, 347). C, 300 (Bill Dickey, 314 or Ivan Rodriguez, 312; Mickey Cochrane, 275 or Bill Freehan, 267). DH, 400 (Frank Thomas, 401; Edgar Martinez, c. 295). SP, 300 (Bert Blyleven, 339 or Tom Glavine, 314; Tommy John, 289 or John Smoltz, 285). Relief pitchers, consideration postponed.

    Are my cutoffs arbitrary? Yes. Do they comport with common sense? You decide. Note that I defined them as "presumption-carriers." That is, if a player is over the bar, he deserves admission unless a good argument can be made against him. If a player is under the bar, he shouldn't get in unless a good case can be made for him.

    For example, Ron Santo. Brooks Robinson played in 2900 games, including a full season at age 38 (batting .201). Santo played in only 2243 games, did not play after age 34, and the 15 years he played were with early-onset diabetes. Given a few more years, Santo would have easily reached 350 win shares.

    Whatever you think of this starting place for argument, I figure the idea has some pertinence to Hall of Fame voting.

  3. [...] I’ve written tons about Blyleven over at the Stat of the Day blog. Check it out here, here, here, here, and [...]