All-Time Indians: Bert Blyleven

Name: Rik Aalbert Blyleven       Position: Starting Pitcher    
Nick Name: Circle Me Bert         Number: 28        
Tribe Time: 1981-1985           DOB: 04/06/1951      
Accolades: 1985 All-Star, 3rd Place Cy Young (1984-1985)        
Stats W L W% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1984) 19 7 0.731 2.87 33 32 12 4 245.0 204 86 78 19 74 170 1.13 6.2 .217
Career 48 37 0.565 3.23 104 103 41 9 760.2 688 302 273 52 218 548 1.19 6.5 .232

Long before he was circling fans at Target Field (and the HHH Metrodome before that), Bert Blyleven pitched for the Indians during the prime of his career. Blyleven started his career with his beloved Twins in 1970 (he was drafted by Minnesota in 1969) and stayed in Minnesota for his first seven seasons. He was then tossed around a bit as he was traded from the Twins to the Rangers, then to the Pirates and finally to the Cleveland Indians. The deal was a great one for the Tribe as they picked up Rich Yett as well in exchange for Jay Bell, Curt Wardle (never played in the Majors again) and Jim Weaver (5-31 in the rest of his career).

Blyleven had been impressive through his first eleven seasons, winning 156 games and posting an ERA of 2.96. He also struck out 2,250 batters and pitched 41 shut outs, a throw back pitcher if there ever was one. Surprisingly, however, he didn't get major recognition until he came to the Tribe. In 1984 and 1985 he ranked in the Cy Young voting for just the second and third times in his career (despite four previous seasons of at least 16 wins and an ERA under 3.00). The 1985 season was his final with the Indians and his most accredited, but not his greatest (which was 1973 with the Twins). That year he made just his second All-Star game and came third in the Cy Young Award voting. At the end of the season he lead the AL in starts, shut outs, innings and strike outs, but was beaten out by Royals starter Bret Saberhagen.

While he pitched less than 1,000 total innings for the Indians, he has better numbers than many pitchers who threw more innings for the Tribe and has to be considered among the top 50 home runs. He is also the greatest player ever to be born in the Netherlands and arguably the best player from all of Europe. Blyleven retired in 1992 after 22 seasons of baseball and 287 wins. Through his whole career he held an ERA of just 3.31 through almost 5,000 innings. He ranks 11th all time in career WAR of all pitchers and fifth in strike outs all time. Despite these amazing numbers, Blyleven spent 14 years on the Hall of Fame ballot before finally being voted in with Roberto Alomar in 2011. When he was finally selected into the baseball Hall of Fame, the Indians also placed them into their team Hall of Fame.

After his time with the Tribe, Blyeven was traded back to the Twins for another player who would make a mark in Indians history, Paul Sorrento. He then played three more years with the Twins before leaving in free agency to play with the Angels. After three years in California and another 33 wins, he resigned with Minnesota to end his career with the team he started with. While he didn't play another game for the Twins, he did join their announcing booth and is now the color commentator for Twins game on Fox Sports North.

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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