I don't think you can call Blyleven inconsistent. If anything the argument against him is that he was TOO consistent and never had a spectacular season, as evidenced by the fact that he never finished higher than third in Cy Young balloting (which happened twice).
As for the argument that he hung around too long and that's the only reason he finished up fifth (third when he retired) in career strikeouts, let's look at that more closely. We'll assume that he should have retired after the 1989 season, when he went 17-5 with a 2.73 ERA because he pitched pretty poorly in his final two seasons, in 1990 and 1992 (although I have no clue why anyone would retire after a season like that). He had a total of 139 strikeouts in those two seasons. If we omit those, then he would have totaled 3562 strikeouts in 20 seasons and would have finished behind Seaver (3640 Ks in 20 seasons) and Sutton (3574 in 23 seasons), speaking of guys who 'hung around too long (and, frankly speaking, who wouldn't play baseball until they simply wouldn't write you into the lineup? Hell, you'd have to drag me out of the sport kicking and screaming.). Even absent the 139 Ks, he still would have finished in front of Perry and Walter Johnson. Furthermore, he finished in the top ten in strikeouts in the league 14 times and in the top five 10 times. I'd hardly say that he only piled up a high number of strikeouts because he hung around too long.
Also, look at Morris' stats and explain to me why he should make the HOF over Blyleven. His ERA was .60 points higher (18 percent), he had fewer wins, fewer strikeouts (and also hung on too long--his ERA in his final two seasons was 6.19 and 5.60). And, although Morris was great in the 1984 and 1991 postseasons, he was horrible in the 1992 postseason (and horrible in the 1987 postseason, but he only pitched one game).
As for Murray, I still think he's a HOFer (and a damn strong one) but he's someone who did it through consistency. Each year, he would put up good to great stats, but he never put together a brilliant season. To me, that is like Blyleven, who put together a string of good to great seasons. And, unlike Murray, in his prime, he did it for mediocre teams whereas Murray did it for teams that were consistently good. I do agree that Murray was better, but I think they are similar.
In talking about Sandberg vs. Carter--I think Sandberg will make it in 'before' Carter. It took Carter six years, and I would hope that Sandberg gets in before six years (it's already been too long as he should have made it on the first ballot). Carter was the best player at his position for about ten years, made 11 All Star teams and was one of the ten greatest catchers ever. I would argue that Carter was better than Hernandez (in 1986 or in any other year, except for 1979 when he caught lightning in a bottle and forgot that he was merely an above average first baseman) simply because Carter was a better catcher than Hernandez was a first basemen. And Strawberry had his true breakout years in 1987-8 and was good but not great in 1986. Also, Gooden was better in 1986, but Carter had already been in the league 13 years (as a catcher) so he should be better at that stage. Overall, I don't see a credible argument for Strawberry or Gooden being better players than Carter. Carter WAS the best player on some pretty good Expo teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
On the MVP thing--Sandberg won the 1984 MVP and finished in the top ten three times, while Carter finished in the top ten four times, with his highest finish being 2nd in 1980 (behind Schmidt) and his other notable finish being 3rd . . . in 1986 behind Schmidt and Glenn Davis (neither of whom were on the 1986 Mets, obviously).
EDIT--For ALL your historic baseball statistical needs and for when you want to kill several hours perusing baseball stats, go to http://www.baseball-reference.com/ which is where I got all the stats used here.
Originally posted by piemanBert Blyleven is getting the biggest hose job. He won 287 games for mediocre teams and is fourth all-time in strikeouts. What's a guy got to do?
Pieman, did you ever watch Bert Blyleven pitch and say to yourself, "Geez, this guy is one of the all-time greats, certainly one of the five greatest pitchers in the game right now!"? Bert Blyleven was a very solid starter for many crappy teams.
Why, yes, I did think that he was one of the best of that era. In looking at your profiles, I am 10-15 years older than most of you posting in this thread, so I did see Blyleven pitch. If you look back on the teams he played on, he was nearly always the #1 guy on his team. He was very consistent. Whoever used the Murray comparison is right. Murray is in the Hall because he was very good for an extended period of time. So was Blyleven. The man deserves to be there. If Sutton, Perry and like are in there, he has to be too.
He's Rolie Polie Olie - and in his world of curves and curls, he's the swellest kid around.
Originally posted by piemanMurray is in the Hall because he was very good for an extended period of time. So was Blyleven. The man deserves to be there. If Sutton, Perry and like are in there, he has to be too.
I too saw him pitch, and whereas I thought him a good pitcher, I didn't think of him as a great player, and certainly not an all-time great. When I watched him, I never pictured him as a HOFer. To be totally honest, I never looked at Murray as an all-time great either, but he was very very good over his entire career.
As for Sutton and Perry, I really think they ought not to let the good players in in the future, and reserve the honor for the great players.
"You know Monsoon, I am impressed, and I don't impress easy" -Jesse "The Body" Ventura
Just confirmed by Buster Olney: it's official. ESPN - Sources: Red Sox on brink of trade for Gagne Gagne comes to Boston for three prospects, in what's a HUGE deal. A Donnelly, Gagne, Okajima, and Papelbon ensemble is absolutely SICK.