The two outfielders Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice are on their way to Cooperstown, New York. The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced the results of the 2008 ballot on Monday. Henderson, the all-time leader with 1,406 steals and 2,295 runs scored, was on 94.8 percent of the ballots to get voted in. Rice garnered 76.4 percent to make the trip in his 15th and last year of eligibility. He played his whole career for the Boston Red Sox.
One of the players, whom induction was denied, is Bert Blyleven. The pitching coach for the Netherlands National Team at the upcoming World Baseball Classic received 338 votes (62.7 %) and fell short by 67. It was his twelfth year on the Hall of Fame ballot. But his inching closer, as his numbers increased from 61.9 percent last year. Besides Rice, who had to wait 15 years, another stat should give Blyleven hopes, as only four players have received over 60 percent since 1980 and didn’t eventually reached Cooperstown.
Blyleven wrote in an email to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Of course I was frustrated by the results because of my small increase. I am very happy for Henderson and Rice. Isn’t it strange that Rice had to wait 15 years? Don’t think his career numbers changed! I really think it’s weird when my career numbers are surrounded by current HOF pitchers and it has taken so long to get to where my percentages are now. Guess almost two-thirds of the writers think I belong and the others don’t. It would be nice, if I ever make the HOF that I am on this side of the grass.”
If you take the compare stats tool on Baseball-Reference.com Blyleven is accompanied by Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton among others, who are nearly all in the Hall of Fame. Blyleven, who was born in Zeist, Netherlands, finished his 22-year Major League career with a 287-250 record and an ERA of 3.31. He won World Series titles with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1979) and the Minnesota Twins (1987). He is ranked fifth all-time with 3,701 strikeouts and ninth with 60 shutouts. Critics point out that he only has one 20-win season, never won a Cy Young Award and he only led the league once in a key category, when he was the American League strikeout leader in 1985.