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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Jaw Dropping Blyleven Stat

I got a comment on my Hall of Fame Ballot post that absolutely has to be shared. From A. Nonymous:

An amazing Bert Blyleven statistic that I wouldn’t wish upon any major league pitcher:
From his 1970 rookie season through 1977 I’ve accumulated his quality starts that I’ve defined as: 6innings, 2earned runs or less; 7,8,9innings, 3earned runs or less; and 9innings+ 4 earned runs or less in which he garnered a no decision or a loss only……

The totals are:
82 games
658 innings
583 hits
185 runs
160 earned runs
184 base on balls
540 strikeouts
2.19 ERA
His record: 0 wins and 53 LOSSES. I repeat 0 wins and 53 losses with a 2.19 ERA

1970 0-3 2.09 9 games
1971 0-6 1.90 9 games
1972 0-9 2.35 13 games
1973 0-8 2.55 9 games
1974 0-8 1.80 10 games
1975 0-6 2.00 10 games
1976 0-8 2.29 15 games
1977 0-5 2.45 7 games

I understand that pitchers put up great games and get snakebit on occasion, but this accounted for almost 1 of every 3 starts, 82 of 279 to be exact or 29%. Show me a Hall of Famer that had to go through this year by year. Fortunately once Blyleven ended up in Pittsburgh and later some good Minnesota teams, this trend eased to what I would consider normal levels (I had researched this in the past but don’t have the numbers on hand)

Imagine 1974, your 17-9 in 27 games, and in the other 10, all of which are essentially quality starts, you post a 1.80ERA and go 0-8. You end up 17-17. If you don’t know the facts, and your voting for the Cy Young award, and you see 17-17. Do you cast a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place vote? Probably not. This is what Blyleven faced in yesteryear, and the same writers, who I contend do not know the facts, are what Blyleven faces every year in the HOF vote.

Go ahead, plug in a different year, or harken back to Baseball-reference and neutralize the stats, do it for every one of Blyleven’s contemporaries. The numbers don’t change much, but for Bert Blyleven, they do. The example given above is my attempt to show why. Teams that didn’t score runs and booted the ball around like it was a soccer match.

That's 53 losses and 29 no decisions for Bert, all in games where he pitched well enough to win with any kind of run support, all in only the 8 years before he was traded to Pittsburgh. If his team scored enough runs to win just one quarter of those games he has 307 wins and he would have been elected to the Hall of Fame years ago. Yet genetic defectives like Sean McAdam still can't get past the fact that he didn't get much Cy Young support and his win total didn't pass a round number. Thanks Anonymous, whoever you are (Bob Klapisch, perhaps?) for doing the research and finding out this gem of a stat. It's time to strip the writers of their Hall votes and give them to the Stat Geeks.


Andy said...

I, for one, couldn't agree more. I've made several posts on Baseball-Reference.com Stat of the Day about Blyleven. I just can't understand how he has gotten so little support.

Steve Gierman said...

Wow! I knew he was a tough luck pitcher back then, but I never realized how many bad teams he really was on back then. That's an insane number!

Bay Rat North West said...

He still has better stats that the Big Unit. And he is constantly touted as a 1st Ballot Hall of Famer. Put Bert on the Reds in the 70's and he has 325 wins and a lower ERA w/ that outfield easily.

dayf said...

I was a little rough on Sean McAdam, but when you ignore giant glaring statistics and use a line from Bull Durham to determine your Hall-of-Fame vote, you deserve what you get. Besides, he slighted Knucksie (300 wins with the crappy BRAVES? borderline my ass) and that automatically gets you on my bad list.

Andy said...

More here on Blyleven: