Sept. 29, 1986: Blyleven wins, but sets home run record

  • Article by: JOHN GILBERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 19, 2011 - 11:22 AM


Bert Blyleven and Jay Bell can be excused if they don't remember how
the Twins rallied in the eighth inning for two runs to beat the
Cleveland Indians 6-5 Monday night at the Metrodome.

It was a dramatic rally. Kirby Puckett and Gary Gaetti singled
and a sacrifice fly by Tom Brunansky scored Puckett and sent Gaetti
gambling to take second. Randy Bush, the second of three straight
pinch-hitters, then delivered a two-out single to score Gaetti with the
winning run.

But Bell, a 20-year-old infielder in his first major league
game for Cleveland, and Blyleven, the Twins' 35-year-old pitching ace,
had other things on their minds. This was the night Blyleven etched his
name into the major league record book, under the inglorious heading:
"Most home runs allowed by a pitcher, one season."

Blyleven came into the game tied with Robin Roberts, who set
the record at 46 30 years ago. The Indians hit three off him last
night, Nos. 47, 48 and 49.

Brett Butler's eighth-inning homer gave the Indians at 5-4
lead. Joe Carter's two- run homer had given them a 3-2 lead. But it was
Jay Bell, the 1984 first-round draft choice who the Twins traded to
Cleveland last year in a package deal for Blyleven that provided the
record-breaker with a home run in the third.

"Yeah, I thought about the record," Blyleven said. "Every
pitch. I go out there with the best stuff I've got and do the best I
can. If they hit it, they hit it."

Roberts, contacted by telephone at his Florida home, learned
that his record had been broken. "Is he winning the game?" Roberts
asked. Thanks to Mark Portugal's first save, Blyleven did. Roberts
added, "That's marvelous. Congratulate him for me."

Said Blyleven: "I hope I end up where he is." Florida is nice
this time of year, but presumably Blyleven meant the Hall of Fame.

Bell, called up from the Florida instructional league because
of several late-season injuries, was not only playing in his first
major league game, but it was the first major league game he had ever
seen. And he homered on the first pitch thrown to him.

It was the first time since Sept. 20, 1981, that any player
had homered on his first pitch in the majors. On that date, Gaetti
homered for the Twins. Bell's homer in his first at-bat was the 55th
such homer in major league history, the 27th in the American League.

"I was looking for a fast ball all the way," Bell said. "But I
think I was going to swing at the first pitch, whatever it was.

"I thought it was ironic I was playing the Twins in my first
game, and I was aware Blyleven was the reason I got traded to
Cleveland. But I didn't think of the significance of the home run.

"I was in Sarasota this morning," added Bell, who went to the
Instructional league after playing shortstop for Waterbury in the
Eastern League this season, where he hit .277 with seven homers. "I
heard I was coming up last night. Got in about 11:30 this morning, and
I found out I was playing about two hours before the game."

Bell played second base, and batted ninth in the lineup.
Blyleven buzzed through the first eight hitters, bringing up Bell with
two out in the third. At that point, the perfect game turned imperfect.

"It wasn't that bad a pitch," Blyleven said. "I got it up a
little, but when he hit it, I didn't think it was going out.

"No, there was no relief when the record got broken. I've
still got one more outing. I might shatter this record where nobody can
reach it."

He joked that the pitch to Bell was a "high knuckleball," but
really it was a fast ball. "Many hitters around the league have told me
that they sit on my fast ball," Blyleven said. "Out of 49 home runs off
me, probably four or five have been on breaking balls. The rest were
fast balls, or half-fast balls."

With such a dazzling curve ball, Blyleven knows he's got to
throw fast balls to set up the curves. "I'm basically a fly-ball
pitcher," he said. "In this park, the balls seem to fly farther."

Did he mean balls carry farther at the Metrodome?

"It seems like every park I pitch in the ball travels, this
year."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
NJIT 78
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close