Sunday, March 11, 2012

no. 26 - bert blyleven

Who is the man: Bert Blyleven appears on his first baseball card after pitching in 27 games in 1970.

Can ya dig it: Judging by where Blyleven is looking, he just air-mailed a pitch into reserved seating.

Right on: Rookie card, baby! Rookie card!

You see this cat Blyleven is a bad mother: Ol' Bert, a color commentator for the Twins, famously said the "f" word on the air twice during a broadcast in 2006. Blyleven said he didn't know they were live when he cursed, but he was suspended anyway.

Shut your mouth: Two years before Blyleven was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was especially discouraged by the results. When the Associated Press asked for a response to a 12th straight year of not getting elected, he texted: "I really have nothing to say. I am actually tired of defending my career numbers whether I should be in or not! Have a great day." Personally, I think that's a lot of words for texting. I never have the patience to text more than 10 words.

No one understands him but his woman: Blyleven, who was born in the Netherlands and moved to North America at the age of 2, always had trouble with his first name. For years he thought his first name was Rikaalbert. But it also appeared as Ricalbert and Ribalbert. When he got married to his wife, Patricia, in 1971, he noticed on his birth certificate that it was actually Rik Aalbert.

(A word about the back): You can see by the write-up that Blyleven didn't waste any time in the minors. He pitched 13 games in rookie ball in 1969, then eight games in Triple A in 1970 before being called up for good. He pitched through 1992, but did appear in the minors again, after missing all of 1991 with an injury. He got back into shape by pitching in the minors in '92 before going 8-7 in 25 games for the Angels in his final season.


  1. Bert is one of the few players from childhood that I distinctly remember his MLB debut. I was watching on television in Duluth Mn. He pitched against the Senators at RFK stadium. He gave up a leadoff home run to Lee Maye. My 10 year old brain went "Oh No" and I went to do something else, but to Bert's credit he settled down and won the game.

  2. This is the first of your '71s that I actually have. I guess that's a good one to start with too.