09 May 2014

bert, be home blyleven for some final tributes.

bert blyleven - excuse me, hall of famer bert blyleven - attempted to extend his career with the minnesota twins in 1993, but did not make the team out of spring training.  that means that his 1993 cards are true final tributes, and there are a fair number of them.  these are the ones in my collection.

1993 fleer
you can see the deron johnson memorial (post coming soon) on blyleven's right sleeve.  here's the back of the card
which has 10 years of stats, including a portion of his 1992 minor league stats - the first time he had been in the minors since 1970.

1993 pinnacle
the tongue is out!  before michael jordan, there was bert blyleven.

the backs of the pinnacle cards just give the single season stats
so we'll move on to 1993 score
a photo almost certainly from the same game as the pinnacle card's image which makes sense because these cards were both made by score.  here's the back
those are bert's complete big league career stats.  score kind of missed with the text, however, by suggesting that the 42-year old had a 'good shot' at 13 more wins.

here's his 1993 score select card with another very similar photo
and again with the single year stat line, but some interesting text
he 'held' opponents to a .285 batting average?  'amazing durability' yet missed all of 1991 due to injury?  granted, he hadn't missed a full season prior to that rotator cuff injury, although he had missed some time with a broken foot during his cleveland days.  i just found it odd that score used that phrase right before noting that he came back from injury.

no surprise, here's my favorite of bert's final tributes - 1993 topps
good photo for a tribute.  and, of course, topps has the entire career stats on the back
although it gets tough to read with the inset photo.  

one other blyleven card i have in my collection is a 1990 topps card that he signed for a friend of mine back during his time with the angels.
i have come to be quite a fan of bert's since moving to minnesota.  he's reduced his workload on twins broadcasts since being voted to the hall of fame, but that's ok - he's earned the break.  i always thought blyleven should have been voted into the hall sooner than he was.  sure, he fell short of 300 wins, but he pitched for some bad teams and had ridiculously low run support at times.  his 3701 strikeouts were the third highest total of all-time when he retired (now 5th best in big league history) and even though they were a result of his durability (right, score?), they still amounted to a hall of fame worthy total.

here's to you, bert - circle yourself for a change!

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