Pitching great Bert Blyleven was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Bert was an Angel for part of his career! Let's look back on Bert's career in Anaheim, shall we...
Bert arrived in Anaheim after a lackluster 1988 season with the twins. He came here along with minor league lifer Kevin Trudeau in exchange for Paul Sorrento and Mike Cook (who HH poster yeswecan has a game-used Angels jersey of) and another minor leaguer.
Bert was here for four years and played for three seasons. He was injured all of 1991 and his 1990 and 1992 seasons were nothing to write home about, but his 1989 season was one of the single best years ever by an Angels starting pitcher.
At age 38, Bert threw EIGHT complete games for the 1989 Angels, FIVE of them being shutouts (6th most for a single season in franchise history and the last time that many shutouts have been thrown in one year by an Angel)!
He went 17-5 for a team that would have made the playoffs if there had been wildcard teams back then. As it was the Doug Rader-led '89ers hung tight with the eventual world champion roid-asterisk earthquaking Oakland Athletics. His ERA+ that year was 140. His BB/9 of 1.6 that year is 4th all time in franchise history (Paul Byrd's 1.2 in 2005 leads the team). For you old-timers looking for historical context, Bert faced 2,119 batters as an Angel, more than Bruce Kison and just behind Tommy John for 38th place.
The rap against Bert getting into the Hall of Fame was that he did not have 300 Wins. Funny thing is, his .779 winning percentage in 1989 was 3rd highest when he set it and still ranks 6th in team lore. His .579 overall winning % is just below the .580 mark of Ervin Santana good for 6th place all time as a Halo.
Of Angels pitchers who threw more than 500 innings for the team, Bert's 1.7 BB/9 leads the entire franchise. His 2.7 K/BB ratio is third in franchise history behind only Frank Tanana and Jered Weaver.
Congratulations Bert. He will certainly be wearing a Minnesota Twins baseball cap on his Cooperstwon plaque (as he should) but there will be a little Halo above all those numbers and gratitude from all of us who got to see him puff his cheeks out before every pitch that he threw here.