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The 100 Greatest Angels - #79, Bert Blyleven

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#79 Bert Blyleven, - RHP

Career Stats

One of the greatest single pitching seasons in franchise history was accomplished by Bert Blyleven in 1989. His .783 Winning % is a franchise single-season high. His BB/9ip was tops too, until Paul Byrd beat it in 2005 with just 1.23 walks per 9 innings. Bert's 2.76 Strikeouts-Walks ratio is the second highest in franchise history for an Angel pitcher with more than 500 innings pitched. If there had been a wild card in 1989, the Angels and their 91 wins led by a 38-year-old ace from Holland would have taken it in the American League.

One of the Baseball Analysts, Rich Lederer takes it from here...

Although not really much of an Angel (33-24, 3.92 ERA), Bert Blyleven finished his 22-year major league career with the team he grew up watching in nearby Garden Grove. Blyleven was more famous for pitching for the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, and even the Texas Rangers (where he threw the only no-hitter of his career, against none other than the California Angels). Nonetheless, Rik Aalbert Blyleven had one really big year for the Halos.

In his first year in Anaheim, the Dutchman fashioned a 17-5 W-L record with a 2.73 ERA. He placed 4th in the Cy Young balloting that year and 13th in the MVP voting. Blyleven led the AL in shutouts (5); was second in W-L % (.773); 3rd in WHIP (1.12); fourth in ERA, ERA+ (140), and complete games (8); 5th in K/BB (2.98); 6th in wins; and 7th in innings pitched (241). On the heels of the worst year of his career (10-17, 5.43 in Minnesota), it is no surprise that the 38-year-old Blyleven was named Comeback Player of the Year that season.

Since 1900, Blyleven ranks 5th in career strikeouts (3701), 8th in shutouts (60), and 17th in wins (287). Other than Tommy John (who has 288 wins but with inferior peripheral stats), every pitcher who has more K, SHO, and W is either in the Hall of Fame or will be a first-ballot selection five years after their retirement. If, and when, Blyleven gets enshrined into Cooperstown, don't look for him to be wearing a Big A on his hat. But it will be a Big A deal for fans from Minnesota to Anaheim to witness his rightful induction.