Well Jon Heyman is at it again with his irrational dislike of anything Bert Blyleven and this internet nerd is getting apoplectic (although, now that I know what it means, I think it’s more due to the Mexican food I just ate).
Apparently disappointed that he most likely will never get to write his annual “hey look at me, I’m not voting for Bert Blyleven article” again, Heyman has decided to give his whipping boy one more parting shot, just before he (presumably) joins the ranks in Cooperstown, with this suggested new year’s resolution for Blyleven (among others):
I (Blyleven) will consider myself fortunate when I am voted into the Hall of Fame, and understand that while I had a great career, I am not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton, but rather Don Sutton and Phil Neikro, near-great pitchers who were borderline candidates who gained enshrinement. I will also thank the small coterie of Internet zealots who kept calling attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity, and durability and help me rise from 14 percent of the votes in my second year of eligibility to more than 75 percent and act gracefully upon hearing the expected news.
Well, allow me to retort:
- He says that Blyleven had a great career, yet falls in the category of a near-great pitcher – At least for once he admitted that Blyleven had a great career without saying he was just good for a long time. But if he had a great career, how was he not a great pitcher? By definition, wouldn’t you have to be a great pitcher for an extended period of time to have a great career? Doesn’t add up.
- He says that Blyleven is not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton – I half agree with this statement. I do believe that Seaver was on a different level than Blyleven and if I looked at the world with Ken Burns brand sepia tone glasses, like Heyman, I would have initially believed that Carlton was also a tier above. However, a review of their careers would have me believe that Blyleven was very much on the same level as Carlton, if not a little better. More on that in my next post.
- He claims it was the internet zealots that called everyone’s attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity and durability – I’m sorry, but if you are a baseball writer and don’t know the value of these things, then you should lose your hall of fame vote. It’s funny too, since one of Heyman’s beefs with Blyleven was that his career lacked impact, yet strikeouts, shutouts, and complete games are three of the more impactful things a pitcher can do, and Blyleven excelled at them (5th all time in strikeouts, 9th all time in shutouts, 91st all time in complete games). Then again, Heyman tends to overlook actual results in favor of much more concrete evidence, such as All Star appearances, award voting, and pitching to the score.
- He also claims the zealots are what helped Blyleven go from 14% to near 75% in his hall of fame voting – Speaking of All Star games and award voting, if you read the rest of the resolutions, you will see what Heyman wrote for White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. Ironically enough, it is the exact reason why Blyleven started with such little support and is having to wait so long to be enshrined in the first place:
I (Buehrle) will continue to make great plays, pitch great games and put together great seasons, even if most folks don’t notice.
So there you have it. Jon Heyman yet again going out of his way to discredit Blyleven and again doing it with points that make little sense. Come to think of it, here’s a resolution for him:
I promise to one day look at the career that Bert Blyleven had and judge him based on the pitcher he actually was, not the one that sportswriters thought he was at the time. And, for good measure, I will finally realize that Jack Morris was in no way as good as Blyleven was.
Now on to that comparison of Blyleven and Carlton. . . .