Tuesday, March 5, 2013

1989 Topps Bert Blyleven

Running a little late today guys, sorry!
The other day I mentioned I would lean towards the underdog when it came to League Leaders. I will broaden that slightly to say "unexpected" League Leaders.
Now you might be thinking, how does Bert Blyleven fit into that category? He's a Hall of Famer for Pete's sake! Well not all of the categories on the back of cards are necessarily ones you'd like to be proud to lead the league in.
Despite leading the league in previous seasons in categories such as Complete Games, Shutouts, Games Started, Innings Pitched and Strikeouts, Blyleven followed up the Twins 1987 World Series Championship with a bit of a stinker season in 1988. He not only led the American League in Losses with 17, but also gave up a league leading 125 Earned Runs.
So as a Hall of Famer you might have expected him to lead the league a few times, but anyone can have a bad season. You can't tell from the back of this card, but Blyleven did bounce back in 1989 for the California Angels by winning 17 games and leading the league with 5 shutouts.   
And for those that like pictures, here is a beard that stood the test of time. Aside from maybe the warmup coat, you wouldn't think that this photo scream 80's like so many others from that era do.

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