Two former Indians are being inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame today, although neither player is being inducted as an Indian. Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar each left their mark on the Tribe and are both very deserving of this honor. They will be the 28th annd 29th players to have played for the Indians and make it into the Hall of Fame.
Before he was “Circle Me Bert” Blyleven pitched five seasons for the Cleveland Indians as well as doing time with the Twins (whose hat he will be wearing on his plaque), the Rangers, the Pirates and the Angels. During his time on the Tribe (1981-1985) Bert was the Indians ace, winning 48 games, more than any other Indians pitcher through those years. Blyleven’s 760 innings pitched place him at 52nd in Indians history. This may not seem very high, but the Indians have a long history of fantastic pitchers, many of whom played on the team for a decade or longer. His 7.3 innings per game is in the top ten all time for the Indians and his 3.23 ERA and 2.32 BAA place him in the middle of some of the best Indians pitchers ever. His 1.19 WHIP is 16th all time for an Indian and his winning percentage of .565 is very impressive. Bert was the best pitcher on the Indians in 1981, 1984 and 1985 earning him 3rd place in the Cy Young voting in his last two years with the Tribe. His best season with the Tribe came in 1984 when he won 19 game in 32 starts, with an ERA of 2.87 and 170 strikeouts in 245 innings pitched. Now, Bert Blyleven is best known as the Minnesota Twins silly color commentator who uses a telestrator to circle Twins fans holding signs with his name on them during Twins broadcasts.
Indians fans should have a more recent recollection of Alomar since he played for the Tribe just a decade ago. While he only played three years in an Indians uniform, they were just about the best three years for any player in Indians history. Robby joined the Indians as a free agent in 1999 and immediately got to work. During his three year tenure on the Tribe, Roberto won three gold gloves, was an All-Star three times and won two silver sluggers at second base. His defense was probably his most impressive talent and it was shown off in all its glory with Omar Vizquel playing short stop and Travis Fryman at third base. In 2000 all three won gold gloves and Omar won one every year that Robby did. Robby’s brother Sandy (current Indians first base coach) played for the Indians from 1990 to 2000, making them another of the many family members to play for the Tribe including the Bell’s, the Bagby’s, the Sewells and currently the Duncan’s.
In his three years with the Tribe Alomar never had less than 30 steals, 19 home runs, 89 RBI, 34 doubles, 182 hits ans 111 runs scored. While he didn’t play long enough to acrue the counting stats to be included among the greats as far as entire careers go, his rate numbers are among the best. Robby is among the top ten all time Indians in on-base percentage (.405), batting average (.323) and OPS (.920). His 106 steals compared to only 16 times caught give him the best stolen base percentage (86.9%) of all time for the Indians of players with more than 50 attempts. Another bonus to the Tribe given to them by Roberto Alomar was the introduction of Matt Lawton and Billy Traber to Indians lore as both players were gained from the Mets in the trade that also brought Jerrod Riggan, Alex Escobar, and Earl Snyder to the team. This trade basically marked the end of the All-Star portion of Alomar’s career.
Included at the bottom are the ability ratings for Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven. These are a representation of a players average season compared to every other player in Indians history. The ratings are based on a scale of 0-99. Alomar has the highest average score of all time with a 73 average and is tied with Tris Speaker and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Bert Blyleven is the 11th best starting pitcher by with a single season average of 70. One reason both of these players are among the best Indians of all time is because they both came to the Tribe in their prime and did not go through the first couple rough seasons with the Indians. Congratulations to both Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven as both have done far more than is necessary to be enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame.