Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Bert Blyleven

Hall-of-Famers as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records: Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven was elected to the Hall of Fame in his fourteenth year of eligibility, 2011, with 79.7% of the vote.

The first table below presents Bert Blyleven's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Bert Blyleven
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1970MIN19
27
10.510.20.5080.4
1.4
10.610.10.5130.51.5
1971MIN20
38
18.215.40.5411.8
3.3
18.015.60.5351.63.1
1972MIN21
39
18.017.00.5151.1
2.6
17.917.10.5110.92.5
1973MIN22
40
18.813.60.5812.6
4.1
19.413.00.5993.24.7
1974MIN23
37
15.912.80.5551.6
2.8
16.312.30.5702.03.2
1975MIN24
35
15.111.80.5611.6
2.9
14.912.00.5531.42.7
25
36
17.614.40.5501.6
3.0
17.714.30.5541.73.1
1977TEX26
30
13.410.70.5561.4
2.6
13.910.20.5761.83.1
1978PIT27
37
15.413.40.5361.5
2.7
15.513.30.5391.62.8
1979PIT28
38
12.912.40.5100.6
1.6
11.913.40.470-0.40.6
1980PIT29
37
11.512.80.474-0.4
0.6
11.712.60.481-0.20.8
1981CLE30
20
8.16.80.5440.7
1.4
8.26.70.5510.81.5
1982CLE31
4
1.31.60.454-0.1
0.0
1.41.40.5060.00.1
1983CLE32
24
8.98.50.5130.2
1.0
9.48.00.5390.71.5
1984CLE33
33
14.39.20.6072.5
3.5
13.89.70.5872.13.1
34
37
17.515.10.5381.2
3.0
18.514.10.5672.23.9
1986MIN35
36
17.616.80.5110.4
2.0
17.417.00.5070.21.9
1987MIN36
37
16.815.80.5150.5
2.1
15.317.30.469-1.00.6
1988MIN37
33
11.514.40.443-1.5
-0.3
12.313.50.477-0.60.6
1989CAL38
33
13.99.40.5972.3
3.4
12.810.50.5491.12.2
1990CAL39
23
6.98.30.454-0.7
0.0
7.37.80.483-0.30.5
1992CAL41
25
7.19.80.423-1.3
-0.4
7.79.20.457-0.70.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
699
291.2260.00.52818.0
43.5
292.0259.20.53018.844.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
8
3.42.10.619 0.92.92.60.527 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
707
294.6262.00.528
44.4
294.9261.70.530 44.7


Bert Blyleven: One of the Best Pitchers of the 1970s
Bert Blyleven took a long time to be elected to the Hall of Fame and was a cause celebre among sabermetric baseball fans for much of that time. One of the main weaknesses in Bert Blyleven's Hall-of-Fame case, I think, was that his peak coincided with the peak of a lot of Hall-of-Fame pitchers. Bert Blyleven's best years were probably in the 1970's. The 1970s were something of a golden age for Hall-of-Fame pitchers.

Eight pitchers who are now in the Hall of Fame won thirteen Cy Young awards during the 1970s. Bert Blyleven was not among them.

Six pitchers who pitched during the 1970's won at least 300 games in their careers. All of these pitchers are in the Hall of Fame. Bert Blyleven "only" won 287 career games.
Bert Blyleven's Hall-of-Fame worthiness was, perhaps, more subtle than that of some of his contemporaries. But Bert Blyleven was, in fact, one of the best pitchers of the 1970's. The top 10 pitchers of the 1970's, as measured by pWins over replacement level for the decade, are shown in the table below.

pWins over Replacement Level
Top Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Jim Palmer171.1122.326.2
39.4
2Tom Seaver177.3138.624.8
37.9
3Steve Carlton183.1160.017.4
31.7
4Fergie Jenkins171.1143.316.5
30.4
5Gaylord Perry176.3150.815.6
30.1
6Don Sutton162.9143.614.6
27.4
7Bert Blyleven155.8131.514.3
27.1
8Nolan Ryan170.6152.910.0
24.8
9Catfish Hunter143.8122.412.5
24.4
10Luis Tiant130.7105.613.1
24.0


As measured by pWORL, Blyleven was the 6th-best pitcher of the 1970's. To reinforce the earlier notion that the 1970's were a golden age for pitchers, 9 of the 10 pitchers in the above table have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bert Blyleven: One of the Best Pitchers of the 1980s
Bert Blyleven started 20 or more games 21 times in his career. While the plurality of these seasons, 10, were in the 1970's, a significant number of these seasons, 8, took place in the 1980's (with the last two taking place in 1990 and 1991).

The next table repeats the previous table, but for the 1980's instead of the 1970's.

pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Dave Stieb138.6117.210.7
22.9
2Bob Welch132.1116.810.9
21.8
3Dwight Gooden89.765.715.0
21.7
4Fernando Valenzuela138.6128.110.0
21.4
5Jack Morris147.3131.77.8
21.0
6Dan Quisenberry68.841.213.8
20.7
7Nolan Ryan136.8127.88.3
19.7
8Roger Clemens81.456.612.4
19.1
9Dave Righetti81.259.510.8
18.8
10Orel Hershiser92.176.810.8
18.2


Blyleven was one of the top 10 pitchers in major-league baseball for two consecutive decades, which is quite impressive. He is one of only three pitchers to appear in each of the two preceding tables.

The 1980's were a somewhat less impressive time for Hall-of-Fame pitchers, as evidenced by the fact that, whereas in the 1970's, all 10 pitchers are now in the Hall of Fame, in the 1980's, only 3 of the 10 pitchers have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Bert Blyleven: One of the Best Pitchers of the Past 70+ Years
The next logical step is to extend our look to all of major-league history. The next table shows the top 25 pitchers in career pWORL for all seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records (all games since 1937; the majority of games since 1921).

pWins over Replacement Level
Top 25 Pitchers
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Roger Clemens318.1228.146.3
74.6
2Warren Spahn353.9293.440.8
68.5
3Greg Maddux328.5271.339.9
68.5
4Lefty Grove254.8176.544.7
63.9
5Randy 'Big Unit' Johnson281.2220.934.2
59.9
6Tom Seaver308.9256.734.4
58.5
7Steve Carlton337.9303.927.6
54.5
8Bob Gibson263.9217.631.7
52.5
9Nolan Ryan356.8328.019.7
50.7
10Jim Palmer242.8186.031.2
50.7
11Tom Glavine279.4249.524.8
50.1
12John Smoltz239.7201.126.6
48.5
13Pedro J. Martinez193.6137.431.1
48.5
14Juan Marichal232.1187.129.7
47.8
15Gaylord Perry317.7289.220.3
47.6
16Mike Mussina224.2173.125.9
47.5
17Fergie Jenkins286.7250.823.6
47.3
18Don Sutton320.8295.320.5
47.2
19Early Wynn309.2284.121.9
47.2
20Bob Feller257.0217.626.1
47.2
21Robin Roberts296.9269.722.1
46.6
22Mariano Rivera126.660.832.9
45.6
23Whitey Ford210.3164.329.0
45.3
24Tommy John277.6247.720.1
43.6
25Bert Blyleven291.2260.018.0
43.5


Being one of the top 25 pitchers of the past 80 years seems like a strong argument in support of a player's Hall-of-Fame candidacy.



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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