Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven autograph
Birthdate 4/6/1951
Death Date
Debut Year 1970
Year of Induction 2011
Teams Angels, Indians, Pirates, Rangers, Twins
Position Pitcher

A prolific prankster, Bert Blyleven was a master at the “hot foot”. He could pitch a little too as evidenced by his 287 wins and 3,701 career K’s. 

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In the collection:

Dutch-born Bert Blyleven is fourth on the all-time strikeout list

Dutch-born Bert Blyleven is fourth on the all-time strikeout list

The only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame born in Holland, Bret Blyleven played on five teams during his 22-year big league career. Armed with one of the best curveballs the game has ever known, he was a workhorse. Blyleven made 685 starts and had 242 complete games. Blyleven was a prolific strik
Topps Chewing Gum produced baseball cards for decades

Topps Chewing Gum produced baseball cards for decades

The reverse of the contract provides some interest. Here Blyleven’s signature appears next to Topps executive Sy Berger. Blyleven has also penned his parents’ name and address near where his father Joe Blyleven signed to give parental consent. Berger is credited with designing the 1952 T
The Twins put Blyleven into their team Hall of Fame and retired his number

The Twins put Blyleven into their team Hall of Fame and retired his number

An 18-year old Bert Blyleven must have been thrilled to sign a contract to appear on baseball cards. In the collection is his first contract extension with Topps. Signed eight months before his Major League debut, this represents a very early Blyleven autograph. Born in
The call to Cooperstown came in Bert's 14th year on the Hall ballot

The call to Cooperstown came in Bert's 14th year on the Hall ballot

When Blyleven first agreed to appear on baseball cards he received this check for a whopping $5. He would not debut in the big leagues for nearly a year. Though he finished with 287 wins and 3,701 strikeouts, Blyleven did not reach the Hall of Fame until his 14th year of eligibility. At the time of
The prankster played 22 years in the big leagues

The prankster played 22 years in the big leagues

Though he endorsed this check before the start of his MLB career, Blyleven would go on to play 22 seasons in the big leagues. After retiring from the game in 1992, Bert took a broadcasting job with this Twins in 1996, providing color commentary. Known as a prankster during his career, Blyleven most
Despite his success, Blyleven rarely had off-field endorsements

Despite his success, Blyleven rarely had off-field endorsements

The Major League Baseball Players Association sent out questionnaires like this one to its players to determine what endorsements each man had. Today’s players compliment their baseball salary with off field endorsement but that wasn’t always the case. This document filled out by Bert Blyleven on June 18,

A Story about Bert Blyleven

HoFer Bert Blyleven gave Don Mattingly an earful in ’84!

August 5th, 2015 Leave a comment

By Jim Smiley After fourteen years on the ballot, Bert Blyleven got elected in 2011, his final year on the Writers’ ballot. The first Dutch-born inductee, Blyleven was a practical joker off the field, and a competitor on it. Renowned for having one of the game’s best curveballs, Blyleven could also bring the heat. Just ask former Yankee Don Mattingly. The first time the two squared off was in August of 1984 at Cleveland’s Lakefront Stadium. Blyleven was in the midst of one of his finest seasons. The Dutchman went 19-7 with a 2.87 ERA that year and finished fourth in the American League in strikeouts. Mattingly was near the apex of his career, finishing the year as the A.L. batting champ, leading the league with 207 hits, and 44 doubles. “The first at bat, I hit a seed, a one-hopper right at the first basemen,” Mattingly said. Feeling confident Mattingly came up for his second at bat ready to do some damage. “I was like all right, I’m going to hit him hard again,” Mattingly recalled. Did the confidence pay off? “The first was right at my chin and knocked me down on my ass,” said a smiling Mattingly. After dusting himself off, the […]

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"Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball…"

~Jacques Barzun, 1954