It's time for former Minnesota Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven to be voted into the Hall of Fame. In fact, it's been "time" every year since he was first eligible. With each passing year, however, the case becomes clearer. I need not go into a detailed analysis of the numbers. Baseball is a numbers game, and, suffice it to say, Bert's numbers are right up there in the major pitching categories: wins, strikeouts, etc. It's not the numbers alone, though, that make Bert an easy sell. So do the statistics of those players immediately above and below him on the stat sheets. For instance, not surprisingly, all but two of the eligible players with more wins than Bert are in the hall, and Bert is the only member of the 3,000 strikeout club not in the hall. As a final pitch for Bert, many opposed to his induction cite his high number of losses, 250, suffered over the course of his career. To be sure, Bert ended up at 287-250 (.534) for his career, and many Hall of Fame pitchers compile a better win/loss percentage. But here's one who didn't: Nolan Ryan, a leviathan of pitching, who ended up at 324-292 (a winning percentage of .525). Simply stated, Bert had a stellar career, holds steady with his Hall of Fame counterparts, and deserves to be voted into the hall. Voters, do the right thing, and "circle" Bert this year.
ANDREW WALTER, SIMSBURY, CONN.